Chapter 8: Domain Authority & Link Building
We looked at the different ways we can improve user experience (UX) in Chapter 7. In this last chapter of our Ultimate Guide to SEO, we’ll explore the relationship between domain authority and link building.
What is Domain Authority?
Domain authority refers to the credibility of a website. How do we prove that our website is credible? The answer is to create backlinks, which are basically links from other websites that direct traffic to your site. Backlinks are like votes of trust 一 the more a website has, the more credible and valuable the website is.
The History of Domain Authority
Domain authority originated from HITS (Hyperlink-Induced Topic Search), a link analysis algorithm developed by Dr. Jon Kleinberg in 1997. HITS divides web pages on the Internet into hub pages and authority pages. Hubs are web pages that point to many high-quality pages, while authorities are linked by many high-quality pages. Both types of pages usually get higher search rankings because the information they provide is more relevant and trustworthy.
In 2000, Google launched a similar algorithm, PageRank, which scored websites based on the number and quality of backlinks. The higher the score, the higher a website will rank. PageRank scores soon became regarded as the most important ranking factor. As a result, spammy backlinks started to flood the Internet. Buying backlinks, which is a Black Hat SEO technique, also became more common. To tackle this phenomenon, Google officially announced in 2014 that PageRank score of web pages would no longer be publicly visible.
Why Link Building Still Matters
Even though Google has stated that it will no longer disclose PageRank scores publicly, they did confirm in 2007 that PageRank would remain as one of its ranking factors. Google also constantly updates and reiterates the importance of the EAT (Expertise-Professional, Authority-Authority, Trust-Credibility) algorithm, which proves that a website’s credibility has a great deal to do in determining its ranking.
Backlinks are what symbolizes the trust of a third party in your website, and thus, is an imperative component in establishing domain authority.
On top of that, establishing backlinks can also help with brand exposure, allowing potential customers to reach out to your brand through multiple channels. Not only will this increase brand awareness, but also give your website a boost in traffic and sales.
Link Building Strategy
As mentioned in Chapter 2, Google Penguin strictly cracks down on all unnatural backlinks that are considered to manipulate page rankings deliberately. Websites can be potentially penalized if there are any artificial, fake, or tampered links. Let’s look at how we obtain high-quality links that can actually improve our domain authority:
1. Create Quality Content
The key to obtaining backlinks is to create valuable content. If you lack content that’s worth linking to, it will be rather hard to lure others to link to your website. Link-worthy content is something that’s informative, inspiring, educational, or entertaining. Unique content, such as those providing original data and research results, or interviews with authoritative experts, can also appeal more to the audience. You can also try adding images to enrich the article’s appearance and increase the chance of getting backlinks.
2. Backlink Gap Analysis
If you want to take a more proactive approach to link building, a straightforward method is to analyze the backlink gaps between you and your competitors. Find out who has linked to your competitors’ websites but not yet yours. These sites link to your competitors because they are interested in a certain type of content or theme. If you can prove that you can produce this type of content better than your competitors, then your chances of getting links are greatly improved.
3. Convert Unlinked Brand Mentions into Quality Backlinks
In SEO we often hear the term “unlinked brand mentions”, which means that a third-party website mentions your brand, product or service, but doesn’t link back to your website. In these cases, you can try to persuade them to convert the relevant content into links.
When building backlinks, we should also pay attention to its quality, especially in the following three areas:
1. Relevance: The third-party page and your own page should revolve around the same theme. If you get links from unrelated websites, it may affect the user experience and cause search engines to misinterpret your content.
2. Link location: A link appropriately placed in the main content of the article is going to be more eye-catching and bring you more referral traffic than one that is placed in the footer.
3. Domain authority: Links obtained from third-party sites with high domain authority are more influential as their content is considered more credible and representative to search engines.
📖 Continue Reading: SEO Tutorial: The 4 Important Things about Backlinks
Now that we are coming to the end of our Ultimate Guide to SEO, you should now have a deeper understanding of SEO and how you can take advantage of different techniques to increase the number of clicks on web pages, but more importantly, pinpoint your target audience and improve their user experience to produce stable and lasting results. If you want to learn more about SEO services, feel free to contact us!