How Do Search Engines Determine the Authority of a Website?

How Do Search Engines Determine the Authority of a Website_ _ MediaOne Marketing Singapore

How do search engines determine the authority of a website? 

Simple, domain authority.

The higher the domain authority, the more likely you’ll be viewed as an expert in your field. But how do you increase your domain authority?

Don’t worry — we got you covered.

By the end of this post, you’ll know what it takes to become an authority in your niche.

From creating content that captivates people to optimising your site for search engines, you’ll get the inside scoop on how to boost your authority status. Ready? Let’s dive in:

What’s Domain Authority?

Moz created the metric “Domain Authority” to measure a website’s ranking potential. 

We’ll refer to them for the definition:

Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score that predicts how a website is likely to rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.

Side Note: Domain Authority predicts success but doesn’t guarantee it.

Google doesn’t use Domain Authority in its ranking algorithm, but it’s still a valuable metric for gauging your site’s success.

Think of DA as an educated guess of how well your website will rank on search engine result pages. It’s a great way to measure your progress as an authority in your niche since it considers factors like the domain’s age, number of backlinks, and page optimisation.

It helps you estimate your competitiveness in your niche.

For example, let’s assume your website has a DA score of 30 and your competitor’s website has a DA score of 50. That means it will be more challenging for your website to rank higher on search engine result pages than theirs. 

But does that mean you have no chance? Of course not. You can still outrank them by going the extra mile and doing more than them. You’ll have to work a bit harder: produce higher quality content, get more backlinks, and optimise your pages.

Other Measures of Page Authority

Until 2019, Moz’s DA was the only metric that mattered regarding page authority. 

Anyone with a website could visit their free tool and anonymously perform unlimited domain authority checks. 

All users had to do was enter a URL and get an instantaneous DA score. 

But as time went by, Moz decided to remove the domain checker tool from the public, requiring the user to create an account and provide an email to access DA scores.

That put a stop to bots and people abusing the tool, but at the same time, it caused a stir in the SEO community.

Other players also stepped in and started creating their own metrics for measuring page authority. While these sites don’t use the term Domain Authority, they all have the same purpose — to measure how strong a website’s ranking potential is.

Some of these tools are Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR) and Majestic Site Explorer. 

These metrics operate on a different scale than DA but ultimately show the same information.

You also want to note that most of these DA systems don’t play nicely together. 

For instance, a website with an Ahrefs DR of 40 may have a Moz DA of 45.

Whichever system you use, you want to keep it consistent, so you can accurately track your progress as an authority in your niche.

Domain Authority Vs. Page Authority: What’s the Difference?

Before we dig any deeper, let’s clarify the difference between domain and page authority. 

Domain Authority (DA) is a metric created by Moz to measure a website’s ranking potential on search engine result pages. It considers factors like domain age, number of backlinks, and page optimisation. Page Authority (PA), on the other hand, measures the strength of a single page on a website. 

For example, let’s say you have two pages on your website: coffee makers and espresso machines. 

The domain authority will measure both pages together, while the page authority will measure each page separately.

How to Check the Domain Authority of Your Website

Fortunately, there are several tools available on the web that can help you determine your website’s DA score.

The most popular one is Moz’s Domain Authority Checker, which is free and easy to use. 

You enter your URL, and the tool instantly generates your website’s DA score.

Here’s a four-step guide on how to use the Moz Domain Authority Checker:

  • Step 1: Go to
  • Step 2: Enter your website URL in the “Check My DA” box and click “Get Free Link Data.”
  • Step 3: Sign up for a free Moz account to get your DA score. If you’re already a member, just log in. 
  • Step 4:Analyse the data provided in the results.

Once you have an understanding of where your website currently stands, it’s time to start working on increasing your DA score. 

It helps to go above and beyond what most people do when creating content, developing links, and optimising pages.

What’s a Good DA?

You’ve just plugged your website into the DA checker, wondering what a good score is. 

It’s important to note that there is no ideal domain authority score — it all depends on how competitive your niche is. 

As mentioned, DA scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating greater domain authority. 

If your website has a DA lower than 30 — you’re still considered a beginner in the SEO game.

Anything above 50 is usually seen as good, and anything above 80 is considered excellent. 

Let’s say that your website has a DA of 56. On the other hand, Facebook, Google, and Amazon have DA scores in the 90s range. 

To put it into perspective: 56 is still a good score, but it’s way behind the big players. 

But since you’re not competing against those giants, you can still consider yourself a success if your DA is in the 50s. 

The idea is to check your competitors’ DA scores and aim to be slightly above them — that way, you’ll always have an edge in the SERPs. 

It’s also worth noting that DA is a logarithmic scale, so increasing your score from 20 to 30 is much easier than growing it from 70 to 80.

How to Boost Your Domain Name Authority in 3 Easy Steps

How to Boost Your Domain Name Authority in 3 Easy Steps | MediaOne Marketing Singapore

Increasing your DA score is no easy task, but it’s doable. To get started, you need to focus on the following three core elements:

#1. Get the Basics Right 

The foundation of any successful SEO campaign is based on helpful content and a solid technical setup. 

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Make sure that your website is well-structured, has valid HTML, and follows all the best practices for creating content.

Your website must load quickly, be optimised for mobile, and contain valuable, relevant content. 

Also, you need to ensure your on-page SEO is spotless — use keyword-rich titles and meta descriptions, add alt tags to images, structure your content with headings, etc.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Keep your content fresh and up to date 
  • Optimise internal linking 
  • Make sure all of your pages are indexed in Google 
  • Create an XML sitemap and submit it to the search engine 
  • Regularly check for broken links 
  • Speed up your website’s loading time 
  • Optimise your images 

Doing all these tasks will give you a solid foundation to build upon. 

#2. Build High-quality Backlinks

There’s no way around it: backlinks are still the most important part of any successful SEO campaign. 

The more high-quality, relevant backlinks you have pointing to your website, the higher your DA score will be.

But here’s the catch: not all links are created equal. You can’t just build thousands of low-quality links and expect your DA score to skyrocket overnight — that’s a sure-fire way to get your website flagged by the search engines.

Instead, focus on building only high-quality links. 

You create content worth linking to and then reach out to other website owners to let them know about it. 

Guest blogging, broken link building, and submitting your site to directories are also great ways to get quality backlinks.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while building backlinks:

Create High-quality Content: Quality content is the foundation of link-building success. If your content isn’t worth linking to, then no amount of outreach will land you quality links.

So, take your time to create in-depth blog posts, videos, infographics, and other forms of content that naturally attract links from other websites.

You want to create something 10x better than anything else already out there.

Focus on Relevance: The relevance of your backlinks is just as important as their quality. 

If you’re trying to improve the DA score of a website that sells sports equipment, then it makes no sense to get links from websites about parenting or photography. 

You want to ensure the sites you’re getting links from are related to your niche and that their content is relevant to yours.

Promote Your Content: Great content isn’t enough. You also need to promote it if you want to get high-quality backlinks actively. 

Reach out to other website owners, submit your content to relevant forums, and use social media to spread the word — these are all great ways to increase visibility and attract quality links.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Reach out to influencers in your niche and let them know about your content 
  • Submit your content to relevant forums and Q&A sites 
  • Share your content on social media channels like Twitter and Facebook 
  • Share the content to your email list 
  • Run a PPC campaign to get more exposure and attract more visitors 
  • Repurpose your content into different formats (e.g., turn a blog post into an infographic)

Implement a Link-Building Strategy: Top-notch content and consistent promotional efforts will get you some great links, but if you want to take your link-building game to the next level, you need an effective strategy.

Develop a plan that combines content creation with outreach and promotion for maximum results. For example, create a list of target sites, come up with content ideas relevant to each site’s audience, and then reach out to the owners of those sites to let them know about your content.

You can also use tools like Ahrefs or Majestic SEO to find websites that are relevant to yours and analyse their backlink profile. That will give you an idea of which links to target and what strategies other website owners use to get backlinks.

Commit to Guest Blogging: Guest blogging is one of the best ways to get high-quality backlinks and boost your website’s DA score. All you need to do is find relevant blogs in your niche, create amazing content, and then reach out to the owners of those sites with a pitch.

That can be a time-consuming process, but if you commit to it, you’ll be able to get some great links that will help you build your website’s domain authority.

#3. Reduce Low-quality Backlinks

Not all links are created equal. If you have a lot of low-quality or spammy backlinks pointing to your website, then it’s time to take action. 

Low-quality backlinks can hurt your website’s DA score, so it’s important to go through your profile and identify any links that could harm your site.

You can use tools like Ahrefs or Majestic SEO to identify the low-quality backlinks on your site. Once you’ve identified them, reach out to the website owners and ask them to remove the links or use the Google disavow tool to tell search engines not to take those links into account.

Guide To Backlink Disavow In Google Search Consoles

Why social media?

Social media sites rank well in the SERPs for almost any keyword and are often the first-place people turn to when looking for content. They also offer a great platform to build relationships with potential collaborators and influencers in your niche.

Google doesn’t pull reviews from social media sites, but they can see all the content on your brand pages, in public groups, and other places. That means that the more active and engaged you are on social media, the better your chances of ranking well for relevant keywords.

And while your social media profiles may not directly influence your DA score, your activities and presence on social media affect how Google interprets your brand’s authority and trustworthiness. 

How to Use Social Media to Become an Authority in your Niche

So here are 7 tips on how to use social media to become an authority in your niche:

#1. Stay Relevant

If you’re sharing best practices, industry news, helpful tips, and other content related to your niche, you want to ensure it’s relevant and up to date.

Don’t share old and outdated information.

You also want to stay on top of current trends on social media and in your industry.

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The more relevant your content is to your target audience’s lives, the more they will likely like, share, engage, and come back for more.

Regular engagements with your audience will help improve your visibility, brand awareness, and authority in your niche.

Some tools to help you engage your social media following in a fun way include:

  • Meme Generator: Create custom memes for your audience. 
  • Quizzes and Polls: Use quizzes and polls to learn more about your followers and get them talking.
  • GIF Search Engine: Incorporate relevant, funny GIFs into posts to capture readers’ attention. 
  • Video Maker: Make short videos to share with your followers.

#2. Engage with Your Audience

It’s not enough to post content. You have to participate in the conversations happening on your social media profiles. 

Take every opportunity to engage with your followers and build relationships with industry influencers.

Answer questions, provide helpful advice, and share feedback whenever you can. 

You’re not just pushing information out to your followers: you’re providing value that will help you build authority and trust in your niche. 

Here’s what you should do:

  • Respond to comments: Value every single comment, whether positive or negative. 
  • Follow accounts related to your niche: Follow industry experts, influencers, and competitors to stay up to date with the latest news in your space. 
  • Interact with followers: Ask questions, start conversations, and show that you care about what people say.
  • Share others’ content: Retweet, comment, and share posts from other accounts to show that you support their work.

#3. Solve Their Problems

The best way to establish yourself as an authority in your niche is by providing solutions and helping people overcome their biggest challenges.

You can start by analysing common questions related to your topic and finding creative ways to answer them.

From there, you can create content that provides useful insights into solving their problems. 

Whether through blog posts, videos, infographics, or webinars — there are plenty of ways to provide value to your target audience.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Write tutorials and how-to guides. 
  • Create infographics with actionable insights.
  • Share case studies from successful customers.
  • Offer webinars or live streams related to your topic. 
  • Know complementary companies that can provide additional value. 
  • Informative interviews with industry experts.

#4. Make Them About Your Customers

Your customers run the show — and it’s essential to make them the stars of your story.

Focus on creating content that features their success stories, challenges, and successes. 

That will help empower your followers and build trust in your brand. 

You can do this by featuring customer spotlights or creating interviews with customers who have experienced positive results using your product or service.

The idea is to give your customers what they want, not just what you want to share.

Scale down your content production and focus on creating quality content that adds value to your readers’ lives. 

If you create content that resonates with them, they’re much more likely to share it with their friends and followers.

Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  • Showcase customer success stories and case studies. 
  • Create interviews with customers who have experienced positive results. 
  • Ask customers to review your products and services.
  • Offer discounts or freebies in exchange for customer testimonials. 
  • Share quotes from satisfied customers on social media.  
  • Host Q&A sessions with customers and industry experts.
  • Send out surveys to customers for feedback and insights. 

#5. UGC Shows Authority

User-generated content (UGC) is a great way to showcase the value of your product or service without explicitly saying it yourself. 

Encourage customers to share their experiences with your brand and highlight customer reviews, ratings, and comments on your blog posts, social media profiles, and website pages. 

Not only does this help build trust in your brand, but it also provides valuable insights into customers’ needs and desires.

Take a look at the following ideas to help you get started with UGC: 

  • Create contests or giveaways that encourage customers to share their stories. 
  • Feature customer reviews on blog posts and product pages. 
  • Share screenshots of customer ratings on social media. 
  • Include customer comments in your blog posts or website pages. 
  • Add an option for customers to submit stories and experiences.

#6. Identify Micro-influencers and Guest Blog

In most local markets, there are usually a few micro-influencers that have established themselves as experts in their respective niches. 

They’re more likely to do more for your local brand than a recommendation from a celebrated figure.

Micro-influencers are more likely to be engaged with their followers and often have much higher levels of trustworthiness than large-scale influencers. 

If you can identify micro-influencers in your industry, connect with them and see if you can work together on projects or campaigns. 

So, how can you use micro-influencers to increase your domain authority? 

Here are a few ideas:

  • Have them create content for your website or blog.  
  • Ask them to promote your products/services on their social media channels. 
  • Invite them to guest post on your website or blog. 
  • Feature their stories and experiences on your website. 
  • Ask them to do a live Q&A session with their followers.
  • See if they can endorse your brand publicly. 
  • Host a meetup or event with them at your business. 
  • Offer them your products or services in exchange for a review.

You can widen your reach and increase your brand credibility by working with micro-influencers.

 #7. Forget Algorithms for a Minute

It’s time to stop obsessing over algorithms and start focusing on the actual people behind them. 

Algorithms are constantly changing, so focusing too much of your attention on trying to game them will leave you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. 

Instead, focus on providing value to your readers by creating engaging, informative, and helpful content. 

Try to think about your reader’s needs and wants and focus entirely on them. 

Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  • Showcase customer testimonials, reviews, and ratings on your website. 
  • Feature blog posts from industry experts or influencers in your niche. 
  • Ask readers for feedback and suggestions on how to improve the content you create. 
  • Connect with other industry professionals for collaboration opportunities. 
  • Regularly monitor customer feedback on social media and respond promptly to complaints or queries.
  • Create a forum where customers can discuss your product, service, or other industry-related topics.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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