What is domain authority and how does it impact SEO?

Written By: Jason Parks

One of the first questions I receive from prospective clients who are interested in search engine optimization services is, “How long will it take for my business to populate on the first page of Google?”

There are many factors that go into an SEO strategy, but it isn’t rocket science. If anyone tells you that your site will rank on the first page of Google in one month or guarantees page one positioning in X amount of days, I would be skeptical.

When speaking with an SEO specialist, you should be able to understand the process and the strategy involved.

Make Sure The Foundation is Great

There is the on-site component, where you want to make sure your foundation is properly set-up. Think of the SEO process like building a house. With a poor foundation, you are going to have a lot of issues, regardless of how nice the furniture is.

On the SEO page of our site, we go into more detail of the SEO pyramid and all of the steps involved in creating a robust strategy. A good SEO foundation consists of the following:

  • Accessibility
  • Quality Content
  • Unique Text Content
  • Internal Link Architecture
  • Sitemaps
  • URL Structure
  • Server Response Codes
  • Mobile Responsiveness
  • Site Load Speed Time

What is Domain Authority?

Once I check the site foundation (on-site), the next component that I look into is a metric called Domain Authority. Domain Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. We like to use Domain Authority when comparing one site to another or tracking the “strength” of your website over time.

How to Utilize Domain Authority for Competitive Analysis

We are in the process of building an e-commerce site for a dermatological skincare site, DermWarehouse. In order for this beauty product website to generate revenue, positioning on the first page of Google for valuable keywords such as “Dermatological Products for Sale” is crucial. Their competitors who rank on the first page of Google all have a domain authority above a 40, since they are more established.

DermWarehouse currently has a domain authority of 24. We know that it will be an uphill battle for this e-commerce dermatology product site to have a domain authority in the 40’s, it will likely take more than a year. By utilizing domain authority, we have a realistic benchmark for how long it will take to surpass competitors on the first page of Google and what steps we need to take to accomplish this.

How Do I Increase Domain Authority?

Earlier, we talked about the correlation between a great foundation in building a home and building a website and the importance of each. Now, it is time to make the interior of your home look beautiful.

Just like a new home would need carpet, paint, interior decorating and furniture to make it livable for a family and guests, a website needs more than just a great foundation to make it credible to Google.

It is crucial to develop an off-site SEO strategy so other sites are talking about your brand. Reverting back to the dermatological product e-commerce site, in order to prove its validity, we are having the dermatologist who is a partner contribute content onto well known sites such as MySkin.com and FitFluential and he has been quoted on the Today Show website along with Glamour Magazine.

Don’t Just Record a Song, Distribute It

Remember, the core foundation of Google’s algorithm is predicated off of backlinks. This algorithm is called pagerank. According to Wikipedia, PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.

You can have a developer build you the best site in the world, but if nobody visits or makes reference to your site, it will be the equivalent of Paul McCartney recording “Hey Jude” but not releasing it to the public for them to enjoy.