One of the key indicators of SEO performance is your website’s Domain Authority. What is Domain Authority? Well, according to Moz:
“Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.”
In other words, Domain Authority is one of the key ways to getting your website ranking boosted in search results.
Let’s say your DA is a 32 and another website’s DA is 47. You decide to write a blog post about top 5 tools marketers should use in 2020, and the other website has content that is a very similar topic to yours.
Assuming you both have all the right pieces in place otherwise (keyword optimization, internal/external links, readable content, etc.), the website ranked at 47 is going to end up ranking much higher than yours for the same target keyword. So, if you were to search “best marketing tools 2020”, the other website’s article will come up above yours.
DA is critical for businesses seeking success from their content marketing efforts. But as you can imagine, the path to improving your authority is not as easy as simply pumping out a lot of content.
SEO trends, like the algorithms they help you rank for, are always changing. But here are the top five activities that have worked the best for our clients in 2020.
1. Write For Humans, Not Bots
If you have any experience with SEO at all, you know that in the past, keyword stuffing (or simply repeating the same target keyword over and over in a piece of content) was the name of the game to make sure Google and other search engines knew exactly what your blog post was about.
Now that we’re in the age of machine learning and self-improving search algorithms, you can’t get away with simply repeating the same words over and over. In fact, that's now one way to squash any hope and dream of showing up on the coveted first page.
While it may sound like the life hack to SEO is gone, this actually makes it easier to write great content and ensure it shows up. Think of Google’s bots as your audience — they want to a) understand what you’re telling them, b) take away a key point from your content, c) use your content to help them look smarter. Not much different than humans, really.
So, how do you do that? This isn’t the place for a full-on high-quality content lecture, but here’s a couple of key tips to help:
- Tell a story — No one likes reading boring content; not even bots (probably). Format your content in a way that tells a captivating story. You can read more about this here and here.
- Don’t bury the lede — If you weren’t lucky enough to study journalism in college, this essentially means to make sure the key takeaway from your content is right at the beginning of it (ideally the first sentence or paragraph).
- Break down long-form content into skimmable sections — Not only does this help your reader jump to which parts of your content they’re the most interested in, but this also helps bots understand how to properly break down your content with subheadings.
2. Disavow Low Quality Backlinks
Depending on how old your website is and how many referral partners, clients, etc. you work with, you may have hundreds or thousands of backlinks to your site.
Upon first glance, having a ton of backlinks sounds awesome — after all, that’s a key component to boosting Domain Authority! (More on that later.)
However, what you may not know is that low-quality, or toxic, backlinks can actually damage your results in the long run. Using an SEO tool like SEMRush, you can gain a better understanding of the number and quality of backlinks you have. Beyond that, you can actually manage your backlinks — searching for the high-quality ones to whitelist and selecting which links & domains to disavow.
Disavowing links essentially tells Google to ignore those backlinks so that it’s not counted in your DA and, ultimately, how you rank. If you have thousands of backlinks and your DA isn’t where you think it should be, disavowing the bad ones can be a quick key to boosting your authority.
Depending on what SEO tool you use, you should have the ability to work through them to get the data you need to disavow the links. Here’s a quick video on how to do so using SEMRush:
3. Request Links from High-Quality Websites
You probably already know that no matter how much technical SEO you do on your website and blog, your rankings won’t go too far up without gathering high-quality backlinks to your site and your content.
Backlinks from external, highly trusted websites essentially tell Google that your website is worth checking out because, hell, if Forbes is linking to you, you’ve got to be good. In other words, it lets Google know that you are probably a trustworthy and valuable source if others are citing/linking to your content.
We won’t spend too much time on this because there are plenty of valuable resources on performing outreach to gather backlinks. Here’s one of our favorites by Ahrefs.
However, we do want to make sure you understand the importance of gathering backlinks and a few tips that we’ve picked up in our own efforts:
- Reach out to websites whose DA is higher than yours — This will help ensure that you get more bang for your buck in your outreach. With that said, if you’re a 32 DA website, maybe don’t start with an 87 DA. Instead, work your way up with those who are slightly higher, as these may be more low-hanging fruit.
- Make it personal — There aren’t many things as annoying as logging into your already-full inbox one day to find 10-20 of those emails are all copy-paste messages asking for the same thing; half of them aren’t even relevant to the content you post and don’t even have your name right. Before you reach out, research their site to see if your content even fits in anywhere. Then, personalize your message to them as much as possible.
- Make it easy — If a stranger reached out to you and asked you to do you a favor that would take 30 minutes out of your already-busy day, that’s most likely an easy “no”. Make it easy for the blogger/publisher to say yes by providing them with everything they need to add your link (even mention which page & where you would recommend adding it).
There are plenty of other tips out there, so do some research and craft an easily customizable template for you and your team to use. Then, just be consistent about reaching out — and don’t be afraid of getting “no.”
4. Keep Your Website Active Long-Term
This is probably one of the easiest and yet most time-consuming tips here. Easy because you don’t have to do much more than you are probably (hopefully) already doing. Time consuming because this literally takes years to happen.
The first part of this is keeping your website active. Part of this means publishing new content on a regular (and consistent) basis. Keep a steady schedule of when and how you’re going to publish new content based on how much you are producing.
Can you only write 1 blog post per week? That’s fine, publish every Wednesday! Two? Every Tuesday and Thursday! Or mix it up to whichever dates best fits your audience and your schedule — but just keep it consistent and high-quality.
But keeping your website active isn’t just limited to publishing new content, it also includes updating existing content. This is one of the most underrated SEO tips and, fortunately, also one of the easiest.
It’s as simple as, on a regular basis, going back to old content that used to be high performing and updating it to include the latest trends, stats, and any other information that could increase its value. A living, active blog post isn’t a one-and-done; it’s a one-and-revisit-often.
Keep doing this for a while and over time, along with the other tips, you’ll start to see the results you’re looking for. Also remember that this isn’t an overnight gimmick — it may take up to 6-12 months before you actually start seeing the glimmer of results. Start now, if you haven’t already, and you’ll be there before you know it.
5. Be Consistent
We’ve mentioned it a few times, but it’s important enough to make its own point here. Publishing content consistently doesn’t only show that your website is active (and, let’s be honest, that you have your sh*t together), but it also gives your readers and subscribers something to look forward to on a regular basis.
Think about your favorite TV show: when it’s airing, you expect a new episode every Tuesday (for example). Every week, you know that on Tuesday night at 6pm, the next episode will be on for you to watch.
Imagine, instead, if episode 1 came out on Sunday at 5pm the first week. Then, the next week, without any warning, episode 2 came out on Tuesday at 2pm. Then, the week after, it came out on Friday at 6pm. You would probably get restless and impatient, confused about what to expect and when.
Consider your content as if it was your audience’s favorite TV show. Come up with a schedule and stick to it.
The same is true for your auditing. You should be auditing your SEO performance on a regular basis, with different levels of auditing and optimizations happening every month, quarter, and on an annual basis. Create a schedule and ensure you stay on track. Overtime, you’ll start to see your Domain Authority soar.
SEO is a key component to inbound marketing. And inbound marketing is a key component to generating high-quality leads for your business. Download our free eBook to learn how to generate the right leads.