One of the most influential factors of an online shop’s ranking in search engines is the domain authority of the website. The higher your domain authority is, the better your ranking will be and, consequently, the more likely it is for your online shop to appear higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
In today's article, you will learn:
what the domain authority of an online shop is
how you can measure it with tools
which techniques can increase the domain authority of your shop
The domain authority is part of any SEO strategy.
If you are not yet an expert in this field, download our free whitepapers on the best SEO (& SEA) practices for online shops.
A website’s domain authority is nothing other than a score to measure the popularity of a website in relation to others.
It’s one of the many factors used by Google's algorithm to determine the quality of a website and, based on that quality, to determine its ranking in search engine result pages (SERPs).
"The domain authority is the search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank in the SERPs. Domain authority is measured on a scale of 1 to 100, so websites with the highest scores will achieve a higher ranking," according to the Moz website.
It's worth noting that this term shouldn’t be confused with the page authority. Each one follows different metrics to improve ranking in search engines. The domain authority refers to the authority of the website as a whole, while the page authority refers to the authority of each of the pages of the website.
The domain authority is measured based on several aspects that qualify a website. Some examples are:
As you can see, a good strategy for increasing your domain authority revolves a lot around the links or backlinks you generate.
The more links and domains point to your website, the better.
But when we talk about links, we mean both dofollow and nofollow links. It is important that these terms are clear as each type of link fulfils a different function.
Nofollow links: These links, as the name already implies, receive the “nofollow attribute”, which tells search engines not to follow/track that particular link.
As Google considers these links as untracked, this means they essentially don’t recognise this backlink. This, in turn, means nofollow links have no influence on the authority of your domain.
Example: <a href="http://destinationwebsite" rel="nofollow"> Anchor Text </a>
Dofollow link: This type of link is usually set by default so you don't need any html attributes for this setting. In contrast to nofollow links, dofollow links are crawled by Google & co. These links are recognised by search engines, which is why your domain authority will benefit from them.
Example: <a href="http://destinationwebsite"> Anchor Text </a>
Now you're probably thinking that you should only be interested in the dofollow links because they help you increase your domain authority.
However, it’s not that simple.
Google created the nofollow attribute to control the manipulation and improper rankings in search results and thus facilitate the classification of “safe websites”.
Here is an example to make it clearer:
Imagine if someone started a paid advertising “campaign” so that all the banners placed on other websites link back to their website. At some point, Google began to consider this action as manipulative because these backlinks weren’t generated thanks to the quality of the website, but rather because money was invested in this campaign. In other words, they simply paid for these backlinks.
If all your links are only dofollow, Google and other search engines might become suspicious of manipulation and then qualify your links as spam, adversely affecting your ranking.
For this reason, it’s recommended to have as many dofollow links as nofollow links.
In order to apply the right techniques to increase the authority of your domain, it’s important to have an overview of the status of your website and the aspects that require more dedication.
In this section, you’ll learn about two popular tools that will help you measure the authority of your domain and obtain relevant data about it.
Both the domain authority and the page authority were developed by the company Moz. It’s a software company that offers a series of resources to analyse and optimise websites and, thus, carry out SEO strategies that best suit each business.
Moz Open Site Explorer: This free tool developed by Moz allows you to find out about your domain authority. You just simply insert the website’s URL or the site you would like to check the domain authority of. A previous registration is required.
Some of the information this tool can provide you with is, for example:
Unlike Moz, no prior registration is required with the Ahrefs tool.
Also, at a glance and free of charge, you can check your domain authority or that of other websites and the number of dofollow links. This allows you to quickly analyse the efficiency of your backlink strategy.
With Ahrefs you have the possibility to find out about the backlinks linking to a website and their origin, as well as information about
Needless to say that both Moz and Ahrefs also offer extra paid features that allow you to expand your knowledge according to your needs.
Remember: a high ranking in Google helps build trust for your online shop. Want to learn more about online reputation management and how Trusted Shops can help? Check out our free whitepaper!
As mentioned above, the domain authority of each website depends, to a large extent, on the number of backlinks linking to your website.
Link building is a technique that consists of creating external links that point to your domain to generate web authority which then improves your ranking.
The higher the authority of those domains pointing to yours, the better.
For this reason, it’s important that when generating backlinks, you “choose” good websites you want to link to your domain.
And the question now is: How do I get those backlinks?!
There are different ways to generate links in order to develop a solid and effective link building strategy. Some methods are, for example:
Guest posting basically consists of publishing your content as a guest author on a third-party website. This way, you’ll have the possibility to include backlinks to your domain in the content you created.
This practice sometimes turns into an exchange of content between both websites, so that the website or blog on which you have published your content will also have the possibility of publishing its content on your website including links to its domain.
This is an action that is usually carried out for free with both parties benefiting from it.
Guest posting has become an effective way to increase both traffic and the domain authority of websites.
Tip: Please note that when selecting the blog or website you would like to write for, it’s of vital importance that their target group and the sector they are in match with yours. Otherwise, you won’t attract any new customers or readers to your website and your collaborative efforts would be in vain.
Imagine you have an online shop that sells pet care products. It would make sense to write for a blog whose readers are pet owners and who are, let’s say, interested in, cat food.
Having said that... Don't just start generating backlinks like that!
The dominan authority in this case is also related to the increase in conversions. So, once again, consider the websites that you would like to write for thoroughly.
If your online shop has several domains... link them together!
If your online shop is also available in other markets, you have the opportunity to create your own link building strategy between your domains without requiring much effort, and thus increase the authority of each of them.
To help you understand it better, let’s look at an example: the "experiment" carried out here at Trusted Shops.
A couple of weeks ago Trusted Shops announced the launch of a new website for online retailers in Portugal. Well, to reinforce the authority of the Portuguese domain, each of the domains (Poland, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, etc.) announced this event in their respective blogs, including a backlink to the Portuguese website in each version of the article.
This was the result:
As you can see, this experiment was a success. A few weeks after the launch, the domain authority of the Portuguese website was increased from 1.7 to 14.
If your online shop has its own blog, you could announce the launch of your new online shop in a new market or even write, for example, an article about the best-selling products in the other countries and take the opportunity to include backlinks to the respective domains.
There are many ways of linking to your domains. You can surely think of many more than the ones already mentioned.
Another method would be to make an agreement with a blogger or influencer who refers to your products or services in their posts. Although it involves some costs, it will probably require less effort.
If, for example, you offer sports equipment in your online shop, a good solution would be to make an agreement with a major blogger in that area to let them refer to your website in their content.
Again, this action will help you increase your online shop’s publicity and the authority of your domain.
Another way to get third party mentions would be through the media. This is probably the most powerful way to increase the authority of your domain.
Keep in mind that journalists are always looking for interesting topics to write about. So, find something interesting to communicate concerning your brand or your services and revive your content marketing strategy!
Content marketing has become an essential SEO tool. However, nowadays, there are still many online shop owners who underestimate it and only focus on paid advertising.
There are thousands of ways to integrate a good content marketing strategy into your online shop. From optimising product descriptions to launching a blog, planning webinars, creating podcasts, etc. In fact, many podcasts transcribe the dialogue and create a text publication, so you could take advantage of this to include backlinks to your website.
If your shop sells sporting goods, for example, it would be more relevant to Google if you had a blog with recommendations and relevant information for athletes.
Both Google and the media love to see a website staying up-to-date by publishing fresh content. With the help of guides, tutorials, and additional information about your products, for example, you're not only helping your customers, but increasing the chances that third-party websites link back to yours.
Tip: Make use of social networks to spread your content and reach more users. This will ultimately have a positive impact on your domain authority.
Once you have established your content marketing strategy, it’s time to put this third technique into practice.
Always try to link the content you generate with other internal content or product pages, in a natural way. Doing so, you show Google that your content is related to each other and that you are consistently focussing on matters concerning your sector (and your audience).
In addition, internal (suitable) links offer a good user experience, something that Google also considers for domain authority.
Take a look at our free whitepaper below in which we dive deeper into this topic and help you optimise your website's internal linking:
And now we come to the fourth and final technique. Being the last tip doesn't make it any less important though! On the contrary, it’s an essential technique if we don’t want to lower your ranking and lose your authority.
Just taking links for your online shop and generating internal links between your contents isn’t enough to improve your authority. It’s also essential to pay attention to the maintenance of those links.
This means that if your site points to a website that was modified or removed for any reason, the link will refer to a page that doesn’t exist (error 404), and you will lose domain authority. The same thing happens if third party websites point to certain content on your site that has ceased to exist.
Here’s an example:
You have multiple blog articles on your website that link to a product page in your shop. However, you no longer sell this product. Because you don’t sell it anymore, you’ve removed this product page from your website altogether. However, the links in your articles still exist and they lead to a page with a 404 error. This will have a negative effect on your domain authority.
For this very reason, it’s necessary to identify the URLs that no longer exist and remove the links to them from your page. You can do this, for example, with tools such as AHREF that give you an overview of the broken links on your site.
Another option would be to practice the 301 redirection from time to time, which informs Google that a URL has been changed in order to avoid broken links.
It’s not only the quantity of backlinks that your website has that matters, it’s the quality of those backlinks. If third-party websites linking to your online shop are relevant, you’ll notice a positive impact on the authority of your domain.
In the end, we always end up talking about the most important thing: an effective content strategy. As mentioned in previous articles, “content is (and will always be) king".
If you want to stand out and have more and more (relevant) websites referring to yours, it’s essential to create quality content that provides added value to users.
This article has been adapted from the original article on our Spanish blog:
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