Domain authority, while it relies on an amalgamation of factors, is all about where you place in search engine rankings compared with your competitors. There was a widely held belief among digital marketers that lots of content makes all the difference. Write a ton of content on topics within your industry, drop in long-tail keywords which the search engine bots will recognize; and when people are searching for sites like yours, then you will be easily found.
Now, however, it is the quality of your content which matters the most. It is more important to be helpful and knowledgeable than it is to just be spitting it out. You establish authority by actually demonstrating that you are authoritative in your field. Links to your site from high-quality, reputable sources will have the biggest impact on improving your authority. The way to get those links is to have content that those big fish want to share. Those links, however, can be fragile.
Cheating to win
There will always be ways to scam the system. No matter how complex Google wants to make their algorithms, if people figure out what it takes to get a higher ranking (and there will be a need for that as long as search engines exist) then the side effect will be people figuring out how to cheat that system. There are networks out there which exist solely to create backlinks to your website. There are businesses which will perform a Denial of Service attack on your site, shutting it down. We've documented questionable search results, and chronicled negative SEO techniques, and barely covered the surface. Whether for a company's benefit or their competitor's detriment, cheating by some is inevitable.
What you should do right now
I don't think I've ever heard a client express concern about their domain authority. They may want to improve their SEO, and might have heard of some best practices related to SEO, but they don't take a lot of time studying it. If they put the cities and towns they service in the footer of their homepage, they'll likely improve their visibility in those towns. If they want to rank higher for a service like widest selection of balloon animals for parties, then they will pepper their website with that phrase. Obviously, domain authority is more complex than that.
If I was a CMO for any business of any size, and setting aside the traditional channels of marketing, my digital marketing priorities would be:
- How many leads is my website attracting?
- What is my conversion rate?
- What is my domain authority?
Businesses need to spend more time monitoring their domain authority. If I was in charge of my company's marketing, I'd have a dashboard that I could look at every morning to see where my ranking is today. It's like monitoring network security for Marketers. This is a huge measure of your company's visibility. Fluctuations are a given, and you may rank #3 one day and #4 the next. That's to be expected. If you drop from #3 to #8 in a day, then something may very well be wrong. Do some investigating, and look for a trend. Stop a collapse in domain authority before it gets out of hand.