However, the truth is that while increasing site authority is never a bad thing, increasing the score itself should not be your main goal.
Instead, you should focus on what increases the score: high quality backlinks from authoritative websites.
In this guide, you will learn:
- What is the authority of a website (Domain Rating)?
- How it is calculated
- How to increase your domain ranking (the right way)?
The authority of a website is a metric of referencing. It measures the relative strength of a site's backlink profile compared to all other sites in their index.
Virtually all of the main tools of referencing have this measure, but its name and the way it is calculated differ from one tool to another.
At Ahrefs, our measure of a website's authority is the Domain Rating(DR).
Like most other measures of website authority, it operates on a scale of 0 to 100.
You can check the authority of your domain by connecting it to our free website authority checker.
It is essential to understand that the Domain Rating scale is logarithmic. This means that it is much more difficult to go from DR 69-70 than 9-10.
A good way to visualize this is to think about rankings in a video game.
You may start out as a "Scout", and it may take you a few hours to earn your "Ranger" badge. But getting to the next level can take months, and only the truly dedicated players will ever reach "Epic" status.
The logarithmic scale also means that a site DR 20 is more than twice as "authoritative" as a DR 10.
Before trying to increase the authority of your website, you must first know how domain ranking is calculated.
So let's look at the three main elements that affect domain rating.
- The number of websites that link to you
- The score DR areas of reference
- The number of sites to which each reference domain links
1. The number of websites that link to you
In Ahrefs, we have a metric called referring domains. This is the number of websites that link to a page or website.
You will see this for any site you scan in Site Explorer.
Some people think that the higher this number is, the higher your Domain Rating is. But it's not that simple, because we only take into account "followed" links in our DR. Links with attributes UGCsponsored and nofollow do not improve the DR.
Similarly, subsequent links from the same website will not improve the DR of a site since we count the referring domains and not the backlinks.
2. The score DR
areas of reference
Anyone can get thousands of links from a bunch of low quality sites. That's why we also take into account the DR of the link site when calculating the DR.
This means that backlinks from sites with a DR tend to increase your Domain Rating more than those with a high score DR low.
This is an interesting point to know. It means that if the DR of a link website increases, so does yours.
For example, if you create a link from a DR 15 today, and the owner of that website works hard to build authority and links over time, that same link could come from a DR 40 in one year. So, even if you only build this one link, your score DR will likely increase over time.
The important thing to remember is that it pays to create links from sites that have potential, even if their score DR is very low at this time.
How can you judge the "potential"?
First, check their content. If they publish quality content, they are more likely to naturally attract quality links over time.
Next, check the growth of their links in Ahrefs' Site Explorer. If there is a slow and steady upward slope on the graph of referring domains, chances are things are continuing in that direction and their DR increases with time.
3. The number of sites to which each referent domain is linked
Let's say you build two "followed" links: one from the Guardian and one fromIMDB. These two sites have scores DR identical, but which link would increase your Domain Rating the most?
Answer: It depends on the number of sites to which they are linked by at least one tracked link. The more unique sites a site is linked to, the less "capital" it can transmit.DR ".
So let's check the linked domains report for each site and filter out the "followed" links only.
It seems that The Guardian is linked to about 50 times more sites thanIMDB (272,218 versus 5,256). As a result, theIMDB would increase your domain ranking more than the Guardian.
Let's see how much of a difference it can make to the DR.
This website has a reference area, which is IMDB. His score DR is 34.
This website also has a reference domain, but this time it is The Guardian. Its score DR is 1.5.
It is crucial to note that this does not make allIMDB more "authoritative" than the Guardian links. There are many factors that contribute to a good backlink.
Create more "followed" links to your site and your domain ranking will increase. It's as simple as that. Keep in mind that if the site you are linking from has a DR low, or it links to many websites, the increase in domain rating may be negligible.
It's also important to note that building links to random pages won't always help improve your rankings or organic traffic. Since this is almost certainly your end goal, you should focus on building links directly to the pages you want to rank in Google. This will have a greater impact on organic traffic and rankings than simply "increasing the RD"
We know this because we've studied it. The number of domains that link to a page has a stronger correlation with organic traffic than the DR of the website that files it.
That said, it's not always easy to create links to the page you want to rank in Google.
For example, it would be difficult for a printing company to get people to link to a page selling business cards, because there is little incentive to do so. So, if you're fighting...
Here is how to indirectly increase the authority of your website (domain) in a "significant" way:
- Create content that people want to link to
- Present relevant and authoritative websites
- Use internal links to improve the "authority" of important pages
1. Create content that people want to link to
It means something with these three attributes:
People are more likely to link to pages that aren't just about making you money. That's why it's so hard to get links to sales pages and affiliate reviews.
There are two ways to create something useful.
The first is to create somethinguseful. Think blog posts, calculators and free tools. Our free backlink checker is a good example. It has attracted backlinks from over 1,850 referring domains.
The second objective is to create something citable. Think of unique statistics, studies and insights that bloggers and journalists can refer to to back up their words.
Our Time to Rank in Google study is a good example, as it attracted backlinks from over 880 referring domains.
Has already obtained links in the past
Install the referencing from Ahrefs, do a Google search for the topic of your content idea, then look at the number of referring domains of the top-ranked pages.
If they have a decent number of links, it's a sign of a topic that deserves links. Why? Because you can see that pages on the topic have already attracted links.
That said, be sure to avoid items that are past their expiration date.
For example, take a look at the top results for "dress illusion":
There are indeed a lot of websites that link to these pages, but that's because it was an admissible topic for a short time in 2015 when the photo went viral. If these articles were published today, it would be difficult to link to them.
Go to the Keyword Explorer, search for an original keyword, and then check out the "All Keywords" report. You should see tons of potential keyword ideas based on the original keyword.
From there, add words like who, what, when, why, how, guide, tool, calculator, statistics and study to the "Include" filter as a comma-separated list, then activate "All words".
This allows for efficient filtering of topics with high utility or citability.
Finally, filter out keywords with a high keyword difficulty score (KD), for example 40+, to find topics that have already obtained links. The logic is that since keyword difficulty is based on the average number of domains linked to the top results, pages that rank for keywords at KD high will have a lot of backlinks.
Search for a relevant and interesting topic in the results, then create your content based on the search intent.
2. Highlight relevant and authoritative websites
Having content that people want to link to is great, but no one can link to content they don't know exists.
That's why you need to contact them and talk to them.
There are many ways to find people to contact. So here are three groups to consider to start:
- The people in your article
- People who have written articles on similar topics
- People who have linked to articles on similar topics
To learn more about how to find and introduce these people, check out our blogger outreach guide.
3. Use internal links to improve the authority of important pages
Continue to follow the above process to continually increase your website's authority and improve the referencing. You can then use the intermediary method to direct some of this "authority" to the pages you want to rank.
Improving your website's authority should never be your main goal. Instead, focus on building high-quality links from relevant and authoritative websites to the pages you want to rank. Your domain ranking will increase as a natural by-product of this process.
That said, links aren't the only factor in Google's rankings. If your real goal is to rank higher on Google, follow our 6-step guide.
Or, if you are not yet ranked on the first page, read our interactive guide to ranking on the first page.