High Authority Equals High Ranking
…but how do you build authority?
Website authority, also referred to as domain authority, is a term used by the search engine optimization (SEO) industry that describes the overall ranking ability and strength of a website. Google and the other search engines look at hundreds of factors and ranking signals in order to determine how to rank individual pages on their search engine results pages (SERPs) in response to a search user’s query, and one of these signals is the overall strength of the website as a whole. The higher your website’s authority, the higher you’ll rank and the better website traffic you’ll receive.
In layman’s terms, domain authority is similar to the overall health of a person. By performing a number of tests and inquiring about your diet and lifestyle, the state of your health can be determined. There is no picture of perfection- your body, like your website, can be performing fairly well, but there is always room for improvement. That being said, if you were to apply to a job that requires optimal physical health and your blood pressure was elevated, you’ll be passed over for someone who is more consistently healthy. Evaluating website authority and making adjustments to improve the website’s “health” helps make your site the perfect candidate to get the job done.
Website Authority: Contributing Factors
There are some factors, like the age of your domain, which increases your authority because it’s proving its value by standing the test of time, that can’t be “improved,” but it’s vitally important to ensure that you are adjusting the things that you have the ability to. Where should you start? Here are three major factors:
You need to let the search engine’s know you exist before you see results. On-site SEO lays the groundwork for your website’s identity and purpose, so search engines will know how you can answer their search user’s questions. Without SEO, your website is just floating around the ether among millions of other nondescript websites. Rohit Palit writing for TechTage sums it up nicely, “On-site factors are the most basic ones that can influence your site’s ranking abilities and DA (Domain Authority).”
The importance of having exceptional website content throughout your site grows on a daily basis. We already know that Google considers content as one of the top three ranking factors, out of hundreds, as they rank individual pages. In fact, Google’s RankBrain, a machine-learning tool, is considered the top ranking factor and also processes and analyzes the meaning behind content- so content comes up twice in the top three ranking signals! You can pay for a SEM Campaign, and spend outrageous amounts of money on advertising, but without superior content, you won’t turn that traffic into conversions and your domain authority will just continue its downward spiral. By having engaging copy on your website, you are proving you are the authority in your industry which bolsters your site’s authority. There’s no way around it- if you want to do well online, your pages need optimized, rich, high quality content.
Endorsements and SEM
Quality backlinks remain important for website authority, but the emphasis is shifting to “earning” authoritative links. Your link building strategy must include soliciting endorsements from other authoritative websites. With every endorsement, your search engine marketing is supported and your own website’s authority grows. It’s important to have an excellent link profile and get linked to pages that have powerful link profiles to demonstrate authority, which builds up your overall website authority.
There are a few different companies that will attempt to predict how your website will perform on the SERPs, including the Domain Authority score by MOZ, which calculates the score by evaluating more than 40 ranking signals with their own machine learning program they’ve developed. It’s a difficult metric to measure, but it’s important to know about your website’s authority so you can work towards making improvements. Your website isn’t something you can build, toss online, and expect to work effectively for you. Just like the human body, you need to continually maintain a good lifestyle and diet as well as monitor and address issues as they happen, in order to remain healthy, to ensure you’re performing optimally. Luckily, unlike the human body, an advanced age is a positive thing- it’s never too late to build your authority.
Your website isn’t as complex as the human body, but it’s getting more so every day. For most websites, the days when the most “computer savvy person” in your company can handle it are long gone. Just like your health, you now need a professional to guide you into optimum performance and help you maintain it through the shifting currents and changes on the Web. If you have not engaged a professional SEO/SEM company and you are not getting the performance from your website that you want, it’s time to get a new doctor.