Updated on April 8th, 2022
Before I went self-hosted, my DA (domain authority) was 26, but then it dropped to 23 after I migrated. However, now my DA is 50, so I wanted to share how to increase your domain authority.
What is Domain Authority?
Before I begin with how I increased my DA (domain authority), I wanted to briefly talk about what DA is and why it matters. DA is a number 1-100, and the higher your DA, the higher your blog is likely to rank in search engines like Google. However, if you have a low DA, you can still rank above higher DA blogs as there are other factors taken into account when determining rank on Google such as the keywords you used. If you do not know your DA, you can check your DA on Moz or on Domain Authority Checker. Moz is the official site to check your DA, but you are limited to 10 searches a month, and on Domain Authority Checker, there are no limits to how often you can check.
Why Does DA Matter?
If you want to start working with brands or if you have already, some brands require a certain DA. On blogger outreach networks like Get Blogged, you need to have a minimum of a DA5, but most opportunities are looking for blogs that have a DA20+. On Twitter, if you search the hashtags #bloggerswanted and #bloggersrequired, you can find tweets for brands looking for bloggers with DA20+, 30+, and even higher. The same goes when looking for blogger opportunities in Facebook groups. Luckily, not all brands have a DA requirement, but it is still good to work on your DA so that you can potentially work with more brands.
Why Did My DA Decrease?
It is common for DA to fluctuate, but after I migrated my blog to be self-hosted, my DA dropped from 26 to 20, but it shortly went back up to 23. When I first started my blog on WordPress.com, I did not have my own domain and I was blogging on karaleecupcake.wordpress.com. Not too long after I started my blog, I bought my domain, but I remained on WordPress.com with the free personal plan then later the premium plan. However, when I went self-hosted, I migrated from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. I ended up losing the backlinks I got from when I commented on other blogs with karaleecupcake.wordpress.com, and my DA dropped. Since then I have been working on getting backlinks which have resulted in my increase to 50.
How to Increase Your Domain Authority
There are other factors that can affect your DA, but backlinks are the main way to increase your DA. Essentially, a backlink is where another blog or website links to your blog. The higher the DA the other blog or website has, the more “link juice” they give to your blog. Therefore, if you are a DA10 and a DA15 and a DA25 links to you, you will receive more “link juice” from the DA25. However, it is still beneficial to get backlinks from lower DA blogs and websites as they are still included in the total number of domains that link to your blog.
I do want to mention that not all backlinks are good. If a website has a DA30, but its spam score is 90%, it could end up harming your DA because you were linked to a website that has a high correlation with other websites that were penalized or banned from Google. A high spam score does not mean the website is more spammy, but if you are only getting backlinks from sites with high spam scores, it can be harmful to your own spam score. You can read more about spam scores on Moz as there are many factors taken into account when determining the spam score of a website or blog. With that said, how do you get backlinks?
Commenting on other blogs
One of the easiest ways to get backlinks from other blogs is to comment on other blogs. Many blogs have the option to include your URL, and when your comment is published, someone can click on your name and they will be directed to your blog. However, when you comment on other blogs, do not just leave a “great post” or “check out my latest post” comment. Your blog could be considered spammy if you continuously write “great post” on blogs just to get a backlink.
I do want to mention that backlinks from commenting on other blogs are no-follow links. No-follow links look the same as do-follow links, but no-follow links do not directly affect your blog’s ranking on search engines. Even though getting do-follow links is better, all backlinks are included in your total number, which helps increase your DA.
Guest posting and collaborations
Another way you can get a backlink is through guest posting and doing collaborations. When you write a guest post, you write either a full post or a paragraph that is then published on another blog. You will then be credited for writing that post or section and your blog will be linked. As far as collaborations, you will work with one or more bloggers and you will each publish a post on a certain topic on your own blogs. You will then link to the other blogger(s) and they will link back to your blog. It does take more time to write a post than leaving a comment, but it can be worthwhile especially since these links are often do-follow and other people are likely to read what you wrote and they can visit your blog that way.
To find guest posts and collaborations, you can start on Twitter and searching for #bloggerswanted and #bloggersrequired. You can also reach out to other bloggers you know.
As an alternative to guest posting or collaborating with other bloggers, you could simply do a link swap where you link to another blogger’s post on your blog and they will link to one of your posts on their blog. To find bloggers that are willing to do link swaps, I recommend joining the Bloggers DA Builder Group on Facebook. In the group, you can find bloggers that are looking to do link swaps and you can make your own post where you list your DA, what your blog or post is about, and the minimum DA of other blogs you would like to swap with. You can occasionally find bloggers who want to do link swaps on Twitter by searching in the hashtags #bloggerswanted or #bloggersrequired or writing a tweet that you are wanting to do link swaps.
Advertising on other blogs
You can also advertise on other blogs. Some bloggers including myself offer advertising packages that you can purchase then your blog will be included as a do-follow link in a ‘Meet the Advertisers’ post, your blog will be linked on their sidebar, and your blog will also be promoted on social media. I do want to mention that if a blogger only offers sidebar advertising, you will gain a backlink for that month, but when the new month begins, your blog will be removed from the sidebar and you will lose that backlink as it is not permanent whereas backlinks in the ‘Meet the Advertisers’ post or other posts are permanent. It does cost money to advertise on other blogs, but you will gain a backlink to your blog and be promoted for a whole month, which can also help increase your blog views.
A note about Moz Pro
When you do get a backlink for your blog, it will take time before the backlink is found. However, I recommend starting the free 30-day trial for Moz Pro. With Moz Pro, you can create a Link Tracking List of backlinks you have, and it can find backlinks in as little as a few days, but usually, it takes 2-4 weeks to find the backlinks, but it could also take longer. If you do the 30-day trial, Moz will hopefully pick up some backlinks you have, which will help increase your DA quicker. After the 30-day trial, Moz charges $99 per month for Moz Pro, which I personally think is too much, but if you have backlinks that have not been found during the 30 days, it might be worthwhile, but there is no guarantee those backlinks will be found during the next month.
#2 Internal Links
As I mentioned earlier, backlinks are the main way to increase your DA, but there are other factors that can help including internally linking your posts which is where you link to your own posts on your blog. When you write a new post, it is recommended to include 1-3 links to previous posts you have written. Also, you can go back and add links for your newer posts to your older posts. Internal links help your readers and also Google to see how your posts are connected. However, if you only focus on internal links and not on getting any backlinks, the internal links will not really help increase your DA.
#3 Fixing Broken Links
Similar to internal links, broken links can help increase your DA, but you also need to work on getting backlinks. Broken links are when you include a link in your post, but now the link does not work because the page (or other content such as an image or video) was deleted, renamed, or moved. Also, broken links can happen if you mistyped the URL.
Broken links are bad because first of all, it can be frustrating for readers when they click on a link in your post and they receive a 404 “Page Not Found” error. The reader might also be less likely to visit your blog again if they encounter broken links. Also, when Google crawls your blog to index it in their database and it runs into a broken link, it will waste time crawling that link instead of links that can help your post be indexed and ranked. Furthermore, If you have many broken links on your blog, your blog can be seen as abandoned and of lower quality, therefore, your blog can be ranked lower.
To check for broken links, I recommend using Broken Link Checker. On Broken Link Checker, you enter your blog’s URL and it will scan up to 3,000 pages at a time. If it finds a broken link, it will show you your post’s URL and the source code so you can easily fix it yourself.
Another factor when it comes to increasing your DA is to wait. I have had my blog for over 5 years before I even had a DA30+ and that is with working on backlinks the last few years. When your purchase a new domain, your DA will start at 1 unless you purchased a domain that was already used and has an established DA. It will take time to grow your blog and gain backlinks, therefore, do not expect to have a DA20 one month after purchasing your domain. However, having a domain for a long time does not always mean the DA will be higher. If someone bought their domain 5 years ago, but they were never active, they will have a low DA compared to someone who has been actively blogging for a year and working on getting backlinks.
The last point I want to mention is SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and by improving the SEO on your blog, your blog is likely to rank higher on search engines and have more traffic. Since both DA and SEO are related to ranking on search engines, it is also good to work on SEO.
The first part of SEO is keyword research. Ideally, you want a keyword that has a high search volume but low competition. Once you have found a keyword, you then use the keyword in your title, introduction, subheadings, and throughout your post. You should also use your keyword in your URL for the post. To search for keywords, I recommend using KeySearch or Ubersuggest, but you are limited to 3-5 searches a day on the free plan. You can also use the Keyword Surfer Chrome extension. When you type a keyword into Google, it will automatically show you the search volume. You can also find keywords directly on Google by searching for a keyword and seeing what related search terms you are given.
Along with keywords, there are other aspects of SEO that you should implement including writing posts that are a minimum of 300 words to include keywords and help Google understand what your post is about. You should also include headings in your post. H1 is designated for the title of your post whereas H2 is your main paint and H3 is used to break up H2. You can also use H4-H6 if you need to.
Furthermore, you should have a meta description for your posts. The meta description is the short paragraph that is shown when a search result is made on Google or other search engines. The meta description lets others know what the post is about and it can increase the number of people actually clicking on your post. If you do not include a meta description, Google will use the first few sentences of your post, which may not always tell readers what the post is about. You can also rename the file names of your images so they do not have a random name like “20160221_113135”, add alternative text to your images, which you should already be doing as it improves the accessibility of your blog, and include at least 1 relevant external link to help improve SEO.
Since my blog is self-hosted, I use the free version of the Yoast plugin which provides a guideline on how to improve SEO for each post including having a focus keyphrase and using the keyphrase throughout the post, a meta description for the post, internal and outbound links, and images. As an alternative to Yoast, I have heard that Rank Math is also good to use. If you are not self-hosted or you cannot use plugins, you can still work on SEO for your posts.