When people need anything at all today, from legal services, to the latest nail polish, relationship advice, even things like how to teach their pet a new trick, their go-to first stop is the internet. It is convenient, quick, free, and a lot of the time, gets the job done. Most of the time, they will hit one of the major search engines and type in their question. Google is the giant in the search engine world, but there are a few others such as Bing and Yahoo. Therefore, the order in which the pages come up in the results is a critical factor in determining what information will be presented to the person searching for a specific keyword. Google has a vested interest in providing their users credible information quickly as motivation for them to continue using Google. By extension, the search engine ranking gives the website the impression of legitimacy, relevancy, and credibility.
What is Domain Authority?
In the simplest terms, domain authority is how well a website performs in its search engine results ranking and is based on how well it addresses the query the user input into the search engine.
The first website listed for a given search has the SEO authority over that subject matter and is therefore the most likely to get the highest amount of organic (that is, non-paid) traffic to their website.
SEO rankings are determined using a complex algorithm that draws upon a variety of metrics including, but not limited to: how many people visit your page organically, how many pages are on your site, how long users stay on the site once they arrive, how quickly they leave (which algorithm reads as the user not finding what they are looking for), backlinks, and other forms of user engagement.
Why Does it Matter?
There is a common piece of wisdom most digital marketers have heard somewhere along the line:
The best place to hide a dead body is on page two of Google search results.
The reality is, most people will not go beyond the top three search results from a search engine query. And why should they? Google’s sophisticated algorithms and world class, data-driven results have determined that the best answer to the user’s inquiry lies in the pages as they are listed. Google’s algorithm is pretty accurate the vast majority of the time. For the most part, it is safe to say that web surfers trust Google’s results. When was the last time you had to dig deep into the search page results to find the answer you were looking for?
That’s why it is so important: It not only improves the visibility of your website, but those coveted slots of digital real estate also give your website authority and let users know that they will find what they are looking for on your site. A page one ranking (or better still, page one top ranking) tells the user that Google, in all their infinite wisdom and data, vouches that of all the websites out there, this one is the most likely to have the information they are seeking. That grants your website unrivaled legitimacy known as SEO domain authority.
How Does Content Help Both Obtain and Maintain Authority?
Another common refrain in the digital marketing world:
Content is king.
Content is the key to obtaining SEO domain authority and visibility within search engine results. There are three critical parts to creating content that improves search engine result rankings. They are keywords, links, and optimization. Here we’ll break them down and describe how each plays a part in determining a website’s SEO domain authority.
What goes in, must come out. That’s especially true when talking about search terms and search engine results. Whatever the user is looking for specifically, the first thing the algorithm looks for is websites that have those exact words (and in what frequency) within their content. By having articles and content that is related to what the user is looking for, a website is well positioned to have the keywords that algorithms search for and base results on, as well as in the variety of ways that users might search for them naturally incorporated within the website. In addition to making the website’s presence more robust, the keywords are likely to appear in higher frequency on the site which will be picked up on by the search engine’s algorithm.
In addition to containing the keywords, the content will be more relevant to the user, encouraging them to stay on the site or click through various pages, both of which are key metrics in determining SEO domain authority. Additionally, having content peppered (and we’d like to emphasize that it is important that they are incorporated naturally rather than “stuffed” so that the search engine results will pick up on them, as they are not the sole factor that determines SEO domain authority) with relevant keywords that offer the user something they are interested in will help position the website as an authority on the matter. That will in turn improve the site’s credibility in both the SEO algorithms and the user’s perception.
In addition to having the keywords that users are searching for, having links within your site to other sites that already have established domain authority (that is, consistently rank highly in search engine results such as Wikipedia, Forbes, the Huffington Post, etc.) is another way search engine results are determined. Google has already determined that the information on these sites is useful to users, so a website that is using those as sources likely contains content that also offers some value to readers.
For example, a small financial advisor who creates blog posts that have industry keywords in conjunction with links to credible industry sources such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Business Insider will be given more SEO authority in the algorithms which will in turn translate to higher search result page rankings. As in the example above, the advisor can essentially ride the coattails of more established websites to help obtain their own SEO domain authority while they are in early phases.
It goes without saying that a website can’t simply contain links to legitimate sources. The best place to incorporate links is within content for SEO such as articles, blog posts, or website copy. Once again, content is the vessel to deliver the factors that Google’s algorithms pick up on to determine search results rankings. For this reason, having content that is relevant to the website’s industry and sources from other known and established thought leaders helps develop SEO domain authority and visibility on the web.
Having a robust content for SEO portfolio on a website also provides a vessel for website optimization to improve traffic, conversion rates, SEO domain authority, among other offshoot benefits. For example, there are several ways a person might search for a financial advisor in a given area. They might search for “financial tax advisor” or “accountant in Cincinnati” or “tax accountant.” Perhaps those are all variations of the services that one person or business can offer.
By having content for SEO that makes mention of those services, worded in different ways, will cast a wide net of keywords and a website can be sure they have all their bases loaded when it comes time for an algorithm to work its magic.
If there is still a lack of traffic or engagement with the website, marketers can tweak the content and gauge improvement in almost real time, thanks to Google Analytics that provide very granular feedback about user behavior.
For example. Perhaps whenever users arrive to a certain page on the site, they leave immediately. By seeing this trend in analytics, marketers might try to go to that point in the story and make some changes. Perhaps the image is too granular, or the content contains typos that hurt the story’s credibility. By making some minor changes, they might be able to encourage future users to stay, improving the amount of time the user spends on the page and giving their SEO domain authority a nice little boost that will help attract future website visitors.
Having high ranks with search engine results can in many cases make or break a business. Having content that contains a good number of keywords that users are looking for, links to sources that Google has already deemed credible or valuable to users, and continuously monitoring and optimizing content, can help improve a website’s rankings in search engines and thereby provide that site with more SEO authority. With more SEO authority comes more website traffic and business.