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Your Burning Questions About Domain Authority Answered


SEO can be enough to make your head spin. Between link building and keyword optimization, it can be hard to keep track of the details, and you might feel like you’re getting a vocabulary quiz on every call!

One concept that often leaves our clients confused the first time they hear it mentioned is domain authority, or domain rating. Although it can be a bit nebulous, it’s important that you understand what domain authority is and how it can be used to improve your SEO.

If you have questions about domain authority, what it is, how we measure it, and why it matters, you’re not alone! Here are some of the most common questions clients ask us around the topic: 

What Is Domain Authority?

In short, domain authority is a score that measures the strength of a website in terms of its search engine rankings. It takes into account the quality and quantity of backlinks, since search engines use this as a factor to determine how relevant a site is to Google searches.

Domain authority is a score that a third party tool calculates for you. It’s not something that Google gives us, or something that Google technically considers (although the search engine very strongly factors in the number of links you have, which is what domain authority helps measure).

That doesn’t mean it’s not helpful! The domain authority score is a great tool to help us predict how likely a website will be able to rank for relevant keywords. 

How Is Domain Authority Calculated?

Your exact domain authority will be calculated slightly differently depending on which third party SEO tool you use. Each tool has their own algorithm, though they all in some form or another calculate it using data like referring domains and backlinks.

Keep in mind that domain authority is calculated on a sliding scale, so the stronger your domain authority, the harder it gets to increase the number. 

Why Is Having a High Domain Authority Important?

Having a high domain authority can improve your visibility in organic search results and make it easier for potential customers to find your business online.

The more people who can find you online, the more likely you are to get conversions, which means more money in your business’s bank account. 

How Do I Improve My Website's Domain Authority?

Two words: media placements.

Media placements, or links on third party sites, act as a vote of confidence for your website, telling search engines that other sites trust and recommend it. As a result, the better media placements you have for your website, the higher your domain authority will be.

You could have the best content on the internet, but if you don’t have any other websites linking back to yours, Google won’t recognize what you have as a good page or post that’s worthy of showing to searchers.

There are a few ways to get media placements to improve your website’s domain authority.

The easiest and most efficient? We may be biased, but our SEO services are going to be the best way for you to get enough of a volume of links to make a difference while also not having to do the research, outreach, guest post writing, and editing yourself. 

If you want to take a crack at getting some links yourself, we have a great guide (can I say that if I wrote it?) on how to build niche relevant backlinks here. Whether or not you read it, make sure you’re considering the following:

High Quality Sites

Do not, I repeat, do not, get links from just any old site. If the website you’re looking at isn’t relevant to what you do, or it doesn’t have a high domain authority score itself, any links from it could do you more harm than good. Google is getting quite good at sniffing out websites that prioritize quantity over quality when it comes to their links. Our team has had to step in and help clean up the sort of mess that happens if you take this route before. It ain’t pretty. 

Relevant Anchor Text

If you use the same anchor text (the section of text that contains the hyperlink to your site) over and over, it also looks suspicious to Google. So make sure you’re able to get a nice variety of phrasing, while making sure it’s still relevant to what you do.

If you only have your company name linked, or the words “click here” or “learn more”, it won’t be as impactful in the long run as it would be if you were able to get links to your site through the specific keywords you’d like to rank for. 

Your Competitors

Make sure you know who your competitors are, and check out what their link landscape looks like. You may be able to reach out to some of the same sites linking back to them and politely ask if they’ll link to you as well. If you don’t have access to tools that can help you do this, our team is more than happy to help.

You should also take a look at your competitors’ websites manually. What are your competitors doing that you aren’t? Are they incorporating things like video and infographics? Are they covering topics you haven’t mentioned? Answer questions like these will help you discover what materials they have that are helping them attract high quality links. 

Your Own Content

Don’t just look at what your competitors are doing. You should also review your own content with a critical eye. If you want to get backlinks to help you improve your domain authority, you’re going to need content that’s worth linking to.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who would want to link to your page. Is this content something you’d want to share? Why or why not? If not, you may need to consider writing something more detailed and unique before you can get any links that will be beneficial for your domain authority score. 

How Can I Track My Site's Domain Authority Over Time?

The best way to track your site’s domain authority over time is to use a third party software like Ahrefs, Semrush, or Moz. Since domain authority is a third-party generated score, each platform will give you a slightly different score. It doesn’t necessarily matter which tool you use, so long as you are consistent with the approach you’ve chosen.

If you’ve partnered with us for services, we track your domain rating for you. 

Tell It To Me Straight: Does Getting Media Placements Actually Improve My Domain Authority and Traffic?

Absolutely, and if you don’t want to listen to me, our clients’ results can speak for themselves!

This client, an inventory management company, came to us to get more visitors to their site.

Here’s what their domain authority (DR) looked like over the last year as we worked with them. 

A chart tracking an inventory company’s growth in domain authority.

And in this chart, the orange line represents organic traffic, and the blue line represents the number of referring domains (other websites).

A chart tracking an inventory company’s growth in organic traffic.

Here’s a client that’s been with us for years. They really wanted to prioritize building their domain authority through link placements.

A chart tracking an SEO client’s growth in domain authority.

Another good example is this local construction company who wanted to get more business. After starting link building work, their domain authority and organic visitors increased dramatically. 

A chart tracking a construction company’s growth in domain authority.
A chart tracking a construction company’s growth in organic traffic.

We recommend media placements and link building for a reason: it’s one of the most effective ways to grow the number of organic traffic your site receives, leading to more conversions and a higher level of profitability.

So if we’re talking to you again about the importance of link building, or even increasing your link building budget, please hear us out. We’re not doing it just because Karen loves to build links, we’re doing it because it’s one of the most effective strategies we have in our digital marketing arsenal. 

Sara Bodner

Sara Bodner

Sara Bodner is Conklin Media’s Digital Content Manager and caretaker of the many, many office plants. You can most often find her neck deep in keyword research, putting together SEO strategies to help businesses become more profitable, and fixing technical SEO issues on websites. More about Sara Bodner


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