Site authority (with alternative terms like domain authority, or page authority) refers to the quality of a website online and the amount of authority, trust, or gain it has in the rankings. In other words, it’s a big deal for marketers looking to boost their web presence.
Think: higher site authority = more traffic + high rank in Google’s SERPs. Site authority itself based on several different factors. As a general rule, the stronger those factors are, the stronger your site is likely to be. And guess what ties in? Fundamentally, good content. We’re about to discuss all the major tips and tricks you need to know to maintain, boost and grow your overall site authority, so keep reading.
A Guide To Boosting Your Site Authority
If you’re looking to boost your site authority in 2016, here’s what you need to know. Let’s delve in!
Defining Site Authority
Site authority is a ranking metric that determines how authoritative and trustworthy your site is. Site authority is based on a variety of factors, including link profiles (how many links point to your site and how well-known and respected those links are), content strength, page design, and other trust factors. And, site authority can be improved or damaged as a result of changes to these factors.
The main term for this, domain authority, was actually developed by Moz as part of their MozBar DA algorithm, and is a metric using their algorithm from 1-100 that says how strong your website authority is. Here’s an example of the Moz DA in action, calculating the DA of a YouTube video for “boxer training tips.” Incidentially, it calculates YouTube itself, so the DA is a whopping 100.
6 Key Steps to Improving Your Site Authority
As I mentioned earlier, site authority is not something that is rigid and unmovable. Google is constantly evaluating a site’s authority levels, so it’s not uncommon for these rankings to fluctuate based upon improvements or decreases in a site.
Like a brain that constantly works, Google is continually updating and working, always keeping an eye on your site and overall quality.
So there are many things you can and should do to bring up your site authority. Follow our key six steps for better site authority rankings now and in the future.
Step #1: Publish fresh content
Fresh content is a powerful tool in the world of SEO. This is true for several reasons. For one, every fresh page you publish is one more that Google can index. This provides you more opportunities to get your content in front of viewers and rank well in Google’s SERPs.
Additionally, Google loves fresh content and has been displaying a blatant bias toward fresh content for years now. This is because Google knows that its users crave fresh content and, as such, the search engine giant is happy to rank sites that publish ample amounts of fresh content higher than those that go without updates for months.
In fact, HubSpot has found that companies that publish more than 16 blog posts each month earn an average of 3.5x as much traffic as companies that publish between 0-4 blog posts each month. (I mean, I could have told you that. I’ve blogged over 600 times on our site and see a huge amount of growing traffic.) Also, those results hold true for both B2B companies and B2C companies.
To freshen up your content, you can do a few things:
- First (and most obviously) you can publish new content. To do this effectively, you’ll want to focus on targeting keywords that provide fresh results or writing about hyper-current events in your industry.
- The second option is to update older content. This is a common go-to for many SEOs and, when done correctly, can help you get the most out of your existing material. Maybe your old content used to rank in the top two or three SERP spots but now it’s stuck in the lower half of the page. In cases like this, a simple update will commonly solve the problem. There are many guides on how to update old content, but as a general rule, you’ll want to add new details, update anything that’s no longer factual, and seek to make it relevant to today’s readers.
- Finally, you may consider publishing a regularly updated series if your content focuses on industries that change constantly, like sports. Because sports news changes on a daily or weekly basis, a page that isn’t being updated continually is nearly useless. For this reason, sites that focus on these types of topics can easily increase their site authority by offering regular, real-time updates on the industry.
While fresh content is all well and good, there are some things you’ll have to remember.
The first is that publishing fresh content does not mean simply publishing the same content (or even very similar content) over and over again. This places you at huge risk of being down-ranked by Google’s algorithms and failing to truly meet your users’ needs.
With that in mind, focus on providing valuable information and helping users answer questions or solve problems every time you publish fresh content. You should also keep in mind that creating and publishing expert content (as per Google’s recently released Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines) can help you gain increased site authority. While it seems simple, this step will go a long way toward increasing your site authority.
Step #2: Create landing pages
Landing pages do exactly what they promise: they give readers a place to land. While landing pages are used for a variety of purposes, you’ll commonly see them used to offer specific information, simplify complex concepts (a promotion, for example), or provide a one-stop shop that allows audiences to gain the information they need to convert.
Landing pages are especially important for marketers who use PPC ads, affiliate links, or a variety of channels to produce and direct traffic. When used properly, landing pages can go a long way toward increasing your SEO and site authority.
Despite their effectiveness, however, many marketers beg out of creating landing pages because they’re believed to be too difficult or too time-consuming. Fortunately, the popularity of innovative new tools has kicked those excuses to the curb. Nowadays, even marketers who have never made a landing page before can create a beautiful one via drag-and-drop building platforms like Unbounce.
Here’s an example of a very simple landing page we created for my upcoming book, So You Think You Can Write?
4 Major Benefits of Landing Pages
1. Audience division: One of the primary strengths of landing pages is that they allow you to segregate your audience and deliver targeted content accordingly. With landing pages, you can organize traffic according to source (social media vs. PPC advertising) and customize your message to different groups of customers.
2. Higher conversion rates: Landing pages generally serve one specific purpose. Often, this purpose is to drive conversions. Landing pages are commonly more effective at producing conversions than main website pages due to the fact that they offer short, to-the-point information on a product or destination. Because of this, they promote higher conversion rates and more revenue.
3. Easy testing: Landing pages make A/B testing absurdly simple. By setting up two separate landing pages and measuring the impact of each, you can quickly discover what works for your customers and what doesn’t.
4. Data gathering: Landing pages are the perfect place to gather metrics like visitor, conversion, and bounce rates. This allows you to hone your marketing and increase your ROI.
Creating Landing Pages: 5 Foundational Steps
When it comes to actually creating landing pages, it’s helpful to have a plan. First of all, you’ll need to know what you want your landing pages to achieve. Secondly, you’ll need to have some plan for how you’ll measure the effectiveness of the landing page, be it built-in metrics or user polling. Once you’ve got those things in place, follow these steps:
1. Create a custom URL: When creating the URL for your landing page, it’s important to be as specific as possible. Don’t go overboard stuffing the URL with keywords, but do seek to tell your users exactly what the landing page is doing. This is especially important if you’re building multiple landings pages for different purposes.
2. Keep your branding consistent: Even though it is separate from your main site, a landing page should still be consistent with your overall branding. Keep your branding consistent in your landing page in order to provide a continuous experience for users and decrease the risk of a higher bounce rate. (Notice how we did this in our landing page for my book above.)
3. Make it simple: When it comes to landing pages, the simpler the page is, the better it will perform. A landing page is not a place to try an edgy new design. Instead, it should be clean, straightforward, and conversion-friendly. Remember: users will be more than happy to leave your landing page if they can’t find what they’re looking for, so you’re safest keeping it direct.
4. Master your copy: The main purpose of a landing page is impact, right? And what better place to provide impact than your body copy? To get the most bang for your buck from your body copy, you’ll need to keep it short, simple, and to the point. Once you’ve written it, check and re-check it for typos, unclear wording, or misleading information. All of the body copy on your landing page should be written with user value in mind. This means it should all answer questions and focus on integrating relevant keywords.
5. Measure your results: Once you’ve built your page and all of the associated content for it, it’s time to measure the results. Depending upon the goal of your landing page, this can be done by analyzing things like traffic or visitor rates, conversion rates, or shares. If you’re not seeing the results you want to, don’t be afraid to update the page. Landing pages are made to be fluid and adjustable and it may well take some trial-and-error before you find the landing page formula that works for you.
Step #3: Nurture your metas
Meta tags are the small bits of text that provide details about a page’s content. Although they don’t appear on the page itself (they are only featured in the page’s code) they can have a big impact on SEO and page authority.
There are four major types of metas. These are:
- Meta Keywords Attribute: Meta keywords attribute is a group of keywords that are relevant to a page.
- Title Tag: The title tag is the text that appears at the top of a page and which search engines regard as the title of a page.
- Meta Description Attribute: The meta description attribute is a quick, succinct description of the page.
- Meta Robots Attribute: The meta robots attribute tells page crawlers what they should do with a page.
How To Create or Improve Your Metas: A Brief Guide
To improve the strength of your metas, the first thing to remember is that you’ll need to fill each of them out as completely as possible. Each meta generally features a character limit (70 characters for page titles, 160 characters for descriptions, and fewer than 10 keyword phrases for meta keywords) and it’s important to bump against those limits but not exceed them.
Next, you’ll need to remember to include your keyword phrases naturally throughout your metas. As with all things, you’ll want to stay away from keyword stuffing and focus, instead, on distributing keywords naturally throughout content.
Finally, you’ll want to use a CTA in your meta description. While this is not common knowledge for many marketers, it’s an important step. A good guideline for this is to begin your meta descriptions with a question and finish them with an answer to the question. This can help boost user interest and improve click rates.
Example of a good meta description, with the meta tag keywords “compounding blog posts” used naturally inside:
Learn how compounding blog posts can maximize your blog efforts enormously, gaining you more traction month after month. We’ll discuss in this blog guide.
(This was written for a piece we did on compounding blog posts.)
Step #4: Build your blog
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s likely that you understand why building and maintaining a blog is so important for your site authority. Blogging for business has many benefits, not the least of which is that it has the potential to send massive traffic back to your website. Blogging for business also helps you increase your conversion rates, establish authority on the web, and produce long-term traffic results. Plus, blogging is free, simple, and fun if you do it right.
To get the maximum effect from your blog, you’ll want to focus on two things: how often you should blog and how long each blog post should be.
According to HubSpot, the first of those two things depends largely on the size of your company. Here’s what they recommend:
- Small Companies (1-10 employees): According to HubSpot data, small companies saw the largest jump in traffic when they published more than 11 blogs each month. To be specific, companies that blogged 11 times or more per month earned 3x as much traffic as companies that published only one post a month and twice as much traffic as companies that published between 2-5 blogs a month.
- Medium Companies (26-200 employees): The same holds true for companies in the mid-size range. When these companies published more than 11 blogs each month, they saw twice as much traffic as companies that blogged only once a month.
- Large Companies (201+ employees): Large companies more than 11 blogs per month saw an average of 3.5x more traffic than companies publishing only 0-1 blog posts per month.
Now, when it comes to content length, there are several good guidelines to go by.
According to Buzzsumo and Neil Patel, blog posts that are more than 1,500 words long generally get more shares. I personally have seen much more results from long content. On that same note, however, there are times when you’ll want to break a complex topic into a series of serialized, short posts to increase long-term traffic.
While it’s true that longer content generally earns more traffic, it’s important to remember that there is no “one-size-fits-all” rule about content length and that the length of a blog post will depend largely upon its goal, purpose, and topic. Generally, more complex topics require longer posts and vise-versa.
Step #5: Get visual
Including visual content in your website is by far one of the best and easiest ways to improve your site’s traffic and, ergo, its authority rankings. This is due to the popularity and easy digestibility of visual content. According to HubSpot, 90% of all the information the brain receives on a daily basis is visual and the human brain is able to process visual information at a rate 60,000x faster than it is textual information. Additionally, posts that feature videos earn 3x as many links as video-less posts and viewers spend an average of 100% more time on pages that feature videos.
In light of this, it’s clear that including visual content in your marketing strategy is an important step to boosting your site authority and earning yourself more visitors. There are many simple ways to add visual content to your website. You can choose to include high-quality stock images from a site like Shutterstock.com or add videos, memes, or your own photography to your page. Doing this enhances the visual interest of your site and increases the likelihood that it will be shared across the web.
The key types of visual content are:
- Images: Fantastic for breaking up body text and adding some visual interest to a page of content, images can greatly increase your page’s shares and helps users fully understand your topic. The use of images is especially important in our currently text-saturated content environment. Use a tool (my favorite is Canva) to create beautiful images (with Canva, via a simple drag-and-drop interface).
- Videos: There’s no question that videos are the visual content of the future. Quick, simple, informative, and interesting, videos can be used for everything from tutorials to customer service. According to Moz, posts that feature videos earn an average of 300% more inbound links, so it’s well worth your time to begin including them in your content.
- Memes: Memes rose to prominence as a funny form of visual content that was popularized by sites like Buzzfeed. Today, memes are a refreshing way to break up your content and create something with a high likelihood of going viral.
- Screenshots: Screenshots are a fantastic way to illustrate a concept to your users and can be especially helpful in blog posts that are how-to or tutorial-focused. Snap a screenshot of a new platform you’re offering tips on using or the difference in page analytics. Doing this can help your users fully grasp the concept at hand.
Step #6: Include infographics
Yes, infographics are visual content, but in a way they’re a league all their own. Infographics take the informative nature of textual content and combine it with the appealing nature of visual content to form a power-packed image designed to earn shares and go viral. Perfect for everything from complex industry knowledge to silly facts, infographics are a fantastic way to transmit a large amount of information to your readers in a short, condensed format.
Infographics boast many unique values, including the fact that they can help you increase traffic to your site, provide an easily scannable form of content for users, provide compelling visual content users want to interact with and convey expert understanding of a topic.
You’ve probably seen infographics before but even if you’ve never created one, you have a few options. First, you can hire a designer to do it for you. This option may be more expensive than the DIY-approach, but it will often generate a much more put-together product, which is what you want if you’re including infographics as a way to boost your site authority.
If that’s not your style, you can always opt to create one using one of the many free infographic creation services on the web today. No matter what you choose to do, including infographics in your content marketing is a solid way to increase your site authority and boost your shares. In fact, Unbounce has found that publishers who make use of infographics grow their traffic an average of 12% over those who don’t. Additionally, 65% of people classify themselves as visual learners, which means that infographics are a fantastic way to help users absorb information.
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Now is a great time to focus on improving your site authority–don’t wait till the next first-of-the-year or even the next month.
If growing in online rankings is on your to-do list, we’ve just given you some great key steps to get you started. From focusing on publishing and refreshing content to optimizing your meta tags and including appealing visual content in your marketing strategy, there are many things you can do to increase your visitor rates and boost your site’s overall authority.
While many people regard site authority as a stagnant and immovable measurement, it’s actually quite easy to improve by focusing on accommodating user needs, providing valuable content, offering an intuitive and easy to navigate site design, and being willing to adjust your strategy as needed.
Whether you’re an old pro or a new SEO just getting started, these tips can help you earn the site authority ranking you truly deserve.
Feel like something is missing from this guide? Let me know in the comments below!