Whether you’re attempting to manage your own SEO or working with an expert, it helps to know what the most commonly used SEO jargon means and how it pertains to your website and online marketing strategy. Understanding the basics, such as your website’s domain authority, and how to earn it, will arm you with the information you need to forge ahead and communicate your business’s online marketing goals with your SEO professional.
Domain Authority and Page Authority
Domain authority and page authority refer to actual scores that the Google search engine automatically assigns to all domain names and websites. Search engine optimization divides itself into four quadrants:
- On-Site Authority
- On-Site Relevance
- Off-Site Authority
- Off-Site Relevance
Website Domain Authority and the Real World
Authority is a count of the number of links the website or domain name has connected to it, but it doesn’t stop there.
Some links are better than others:
The search engine weighs the links and counts the links from popular and authoritative sites most. In theory, the site that has many one-way links with other authoritative and popular websites is viewed by the internet community as being useful and authoritative, thereby growing a website’s domain authority.
And relevance is important, too:
Relevance is a rating of how well any given webpage or blog post matches a particular search query—does your webpage or blog post’s subject material accurately match a large number of searches?
In other words, the search engine formula gives the best search engine ranks to easy-to-find websites that are most relevant and useful to the internet community. These are given search engine preference and search engine priority.
High priority on the search engines is important:
In every search engine page, searchers will often stop reading after the first or second page. Websites compete for one of the first five or 10 ranks.
The common-sense marketing meaning of the word “authority” is the concept Google is trying to operationalize:
In the real-world marketplace, many businesses work to establish themselves as trusted authorities in their given fields or industries. In their efforts to become the “go-to” resource for their target customers, they:
- Hone their product and service offerings to be more client-centric, earning customer preference.
- Hire subject experts to create useful content that educates their target customers on the solutions they provide and the benefits they deliver.
- Use their online presence to reach more potential customers with helpful content, support and customer case studies that help earn the trust and confidence of new customers.
- Use their online presence to showcase how they are staying ahead of the curve and at the top of their field.
- Use various inbound marketing tactics to stay in touch and nurture their relationships with customers.
While some businesses wrongly believe it’s enough to simply let it be known that they have authority in their field, whether or not a business earns authority (from domain authority to real-life authority) is up to how well they manage to demonstrate their reliability, trustworthiness and expertise while following through on customer expectations.
Some of the best ways to demonstrate authority:
- Publishing articles and content that is helpful to your customers.
- Appearing on media.
- Cross-referrals from other businesses.
- Offering useful advice even when the advice is not part of a purchase.
- Publishing customer success stories and case studies.
- Providing facts, guarantees and warranties that prove the confidence you have in your product or service.
- Developing a consistent online and offline presence that reflects how established and organized your business is.
- Earning social-proof from customers who “like” and “share” your business with others in their own online and offline social circles.
Thus, the concept of internet authority is at the very core of inbound marketing. A business perceived as having authority will, over time, naturally receive more visitors coming to them for help as well as more referral sources (external websites linking to them from their own content).
How to Improve Your Website’s Domain Authority
The precise factors that Google uses in its formula for determining website rank and authority score are kept a trade secret. A number of suggestions can be made to help improve rankings based on general experience with the search engine.
The best way to improve domain authority is through “organic” factors:
- Form actual relationships with other companies and organizations: you often have to give to get.
- Use keywords wisely: Don’t be tempted to force popular keywords into your website. Keywords should be infused into content in a natural and relevant way. The best way to do this is to write content around each keyword you want to rank for.
Obvious keyword stuffing and link building make websites less understandable and useful and can result in penalties from the search engine’s point system.
Earning domain authority through organic inbound marketing takes time before a referral network is developed:
However, the most successful companies build their inbound marketing patiently. Here’s what you can start doing now to earn domain authority organically:
- Write useful and informative blogs, articles, and books to demonstrate your abilities and knowledge: These written pieces should appear regularly on your website.
- Promote your blog and downloadable content in your email marketing, social media posts, online ads and offline as well, directing traffic back to your website.
- Harness consistency and frequency: The greatest effect on SEO is when new content is published to your website weekly. Working from a content calendar can help.
- Writing and public appearances should become a regular part of your marketing effort.
- If you post content as a guest on another blog or website, make sure your website is clearly cited and linked to the pieces you write.
- Develop a clear and unique brand identification so that your company can be easily and uniquely identified (otherwise known as your “brand persona”).
- Reach out to trusted review sites and directories in your industry about featuring your website in their listings and recommendations.
Site visibility and performance:
And finally, an important part of domain authority is the ease with which your site can be found and the handling aspects of your site. You can improve your website’s position by:
- Improving your website’s loading speed and its ease of use.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
- Implement an SSL certificate (security layer) especially if you have an ecommerce site or collect contact information from customers.
Know When to Hire Expert Help
You may feel comfortable forging ahead with some of these suggestions yourself, but it’s wise to know when hiring expert help is warranted (and often economical to do so).
Managing your own SEO, domain authority and inbound marketing requires an ongoing and dedicated effort that can take you away from focusing instead on other important aspects of your business that need your attention and personal expertise. Never mind the time and experience it takes to become an SEO expert.
That’s why we’re here—to help business owners like you:
Our clients often come to us because they’ve either attempted to manage their own marketing in spurts, and from the side of their desk, or they know from the outset that they’d prefer the effectiveness and efficiency of hiring expert help that is willing to work closely with them.
From social media, advertising, email marketing and SEO, to website design, development, and building brands, McAllister Marketing can be your partner in full-service marketing and branding. We have the expertise to help you grow your business, online and offline. We specialize in helping small to mid-sized businesses attract, convert and retain more customers (and we’re a pleasure to work with).
Piecemeal marketing is rarely effective, and marketing that doesn’t work is the most expensive! Working from a customized marketing strategy and online content plan saves you time and trouble while getting you the best ROI on your marketing budget.
Reach out to us today for a no-obligation discussion and to find out more about our tailored marketing strategies and services.