What Is Domain Authority?

What Is Domain Authority? – Domain authority, or as Google calls it, ‘online business authority’, is an important ranking factor in Google. What is domain authority?

Well, nobody knows exactly how Google calculates popularity, reputation, intent or trust, outside of Google, but when I write about domain authority I am generally thinking of sites that are popular, reputable and trusted – all of which can be faked, of course.

Most sites that have domain authority/online business authority have lots of links to them – that’s for sure – hence why link building has traditionally been so popular a tactic – and counting these links is generally how most 3rd party tools calculate it a pseudo domain authority score, too.

Massive domain authority and ranking ‘trust’ was in the past awarded to very successful sites that have gained a lot of links from credible sources, and other online business authorities too.

Amazon has a lot of online business authority…. (Official Google Webmaster Blog)

SEO more usually talk about domain trust and domain authority based on the number, type and quality of incoming links to a site.

Examples of trusted, authority domains include Wikipedia, the W3C and Apple. How do you become a OBA? Through building a killer online or offline brand or service with, usually, a lot of useful content on your site.

How do you take advantage of being an online business authority? Either you turn the site into a SEO Black Hole (only for the very biggest brands) or you pump out information – like all the time. On any subject. Because Google will rank it!

EXCEPT – If what you publish is deemed low quality and not suitable for your domain to have visibility on Google.

I think this ‘quality score’ Google has developed could be Google’s answer to this sort of historical domain authority abuse.

Can you (on a smaller scale in certain niches) mimic a online business authority by recognising what OBA do for Google, and why Google ranks these high in search result?. These provide THE service, THE content, THE experience. This takes a lot of work and a lot of time to create, or even mimic.

In fact, as a SEO, I honestly think the content route is the only sustainable way for a most businesses to try to achieve OBA at least in their niche or locale. I concede a little focused linkbuilding goes a long way to help, and you have certainly got to get out there and tell others about your site…

Have other relevant sites link to yours. Google Webmaster Guidelines

Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.

“Brands are the solution, not the problem,” Mr. Schmidt said. “Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said this. Reading between the lines, I’ve long thought this is good SEO advice.

If you are a ‘brand’ in your space, or well-cited site, Google wants to rank your stuff at the top because it trusts you won’t spam it and fill results pages with crap and make Google look stupid.

That’s money just sitting on the table the way Google currently awards massive domain authority and trust to particular sites they rate highly.

Tip – Keep content within your topic, unless you are producing high-quality content, of course. (e.g. the algorithms detect no unnatural practices)

I am always thinking:

“how do I get links from big KNOWN sites to my site. Where is my next quality link coming from?”

Getting links from ‘Brands’ (or well-cited websites) in niches can mean ‘quality links’.

Easier said than done, for most, of course, but that is the point.

But the aim with your main site should always be to become an online brand.

Does Google Prefer Big Brands In Organic SERPs?

Well, yes. It’s hard to imagine that a system like Google’s was not designed exactly over the last few years to deliver the listings it does today – and it IS filled with a lot of pages that rank high LARGELY because the domain the content is on.

Big Brands have an inherent advantage in Google’s ecosystem, and it’s kind of a suck for small businesses. There’s more small businesses than big brands for Google to get Adwords bucks out of, too.

That being said – small businesses can still succeed if they focus on a strategy based on depth, rather than breadth regarding how content is structured page to page on a website.

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