With easy-to-use platforms such as WordPress, WIX, Jimdo, and Squarespace, almost everyone can build a site of their own. This causes the current number of 1.3 billion sites to continue to rise exponentially.
But a site without visitors is usually useless, which gives you two options. Lots of advertising or organic rankings in search engines.
Online advertising is the easiest way to get visitors to the site, but because of the high costs, this is not feasible for most startups. What remains is organic search traffic.
It turns out that 99% of people don't look beyond the top 10 search results. 70% click on one of the first three of these results. With 1.3 billion sites, it's going to be hard to get into the top 10.
Fortunately, search engines have written very smart algorithms so that in theory, this is possible for everyone. Provided you follow the rules of the search engines. Because if you don't use SEO, you'll rarely or never be found, and you won't get any organic traffic.
One of those rules of the search engines is the Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA). An indicator that gives insight into how much value search engines add to your site and (on average) to your pages.
What is a Domain Authority and How is it Messured?
Domain Authority is about how much authority the search engines assign to your entire site - including subdomains - on a scale from 0 to 100.
You can compare this with how much authority - knowledge - someone has with respect to a particular subject. For example, on the subject of economics:
A high school graduate can write an excellent essay about money, but in general, we can't expect to read something we don't know yet. This is roughly equivalent to a Domain Authority 0 to 15
After obtaining his master's degree at the university on the subject of "domestic economic developments since the Second World War," you can expect that the person really has something to say and knowledge. This could be compared to a domain authority of 15 to 30.
Once at work at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the person publishes memos and even articles in daily newspapers. This could be compared to a domain authority of 30 to 50. The person knows what he is talking about, but is still very inexperienced.
A few years later, he was Minister of Economic Affairs and appeared on TV daily. Now we know for sure that what is told is informative and will teach us new knowledge. This is comparable to a domain authority of 50 to 80. (Rarely do sites get a higher Domain Authority than 80).
However, search engines don't look at your education or profession. They look at how long your site has existed, how often, and how much you publish on a certain subject, and what the quality of those publications is.
For the latter, they look at how many visitors you have, and how long they stay on the page, and search engines compare the content with other similar articles.
Can you rank in the top 10 with a very low Domain Authority?
With standard articles or other content on a site with a low Domain Authority, it is virtually impossible to get in the top 10 of search results. Unless it's about a very specific topic or people will type in precisely the words you used in your content.
If you write an article called "Smart monkeys don't eat elephant poop," no one will search for it. But if there is a person who searches for exactly this sentence, then you are number 1. However, what good is that without a lot of people doing this?
The only other way is to come up with extraordinary news. If you have a picture of a famous person who has been spotted with another famous person while they read the newspaper naked together, this can become world news. If you are the first to post this picture with the right title, you will rank directly in the top 10.
In all other cases, you first need a high Domain Authority to become visible within the search engines.
What are the advantages of a high Domain Authority?
If you have a high Domain Authority, it is easier to rank new content higher. Also, the content will be ranked faster by the search engines because they assume that the content is valuable and contributes to the domain knowledge you are sharing.
Search engines analyze your site with so-called bots. This is called crawling. Analyzing your site is, therefore, not free. The servers that run a bot consume power, and with 1.3 billion sites, that's quite a lot of power.
A bot enters your site through your home page or a link from another site and then follows all links within your domain. This way, the content is analyzed page by page and gets a ranking. The higher your Domain Authority, the more bots are used. This is important because if you are only assigned 1 bot, it can sometimes take weeks before the search engine can find new content on the site.
So the more bots, the faster you can rank new content.
How can you increase a Domain Authority?
Search engines want to know what your site is about. A blog about what you experience in life is more demanding for search engines to understand than a blog about teacups. What you experience in life can be a collection of dozens of topics, while your blog about teacups is specifically about that topic.
In the latter case, search engines know more quickly what the knowledge domain of the site is.
If you then publish weekly or monthly content about the production, and designs of teacups, search engines will assign Authority to your site. This authority is created by comparing your content and the number of visitors and their behavior with other sites that also publish about teacups.
It also means that it is more challenging to get a high Domain Authority within the Domain 'health' than within the Domain 'teacups.' Simply because there are far fewer sites that focus on teacups.
Also, search engines look for other sites that refer to your content as a source. If other (news) websites with a high Domain Authority refer to your site, this is a sign for search engines that you know a lot about a certain topic.
What is a Page Authority?
Even if you have a Ph.D. in a particular subject, it is unlikely that all the content you publish is equally interesting, content-rich, or informative. Also, you normally have content that is very popular and other content that is less popular.
You can see it as a comedian joking for an hour. Not every joke is equally fun or clever. By giving each joke a rating from 1 to 100, you can calculate an average rating for the comedian.
Search engines do the same with your content and pages. Every page gets a Page Authority based on content, visitor behavior, number of visitors, the author and its credentials, and incoming links from other sites.
If your site has a very clearly defined knowledge domain, the algorithms of the search engines can easily test what your Page Authority is.
But if you suddenly publish content on an entirely different subject than your site's Domain Authority is built for, this can be harmful to both your Page Authority and your Domain Authority.
It's important to consider expertise and authority when assessing someone's knowledge in a specific area. For example, imagine if a famous architect suddenly started offering advice about cooking. While the architect may possess knowledge in various fields, it would still be prudent to seek advice from multiple sources before granting them authority on the subject. This principle is similar to how search engines operate, where they evaluate the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness of sources before ranking them.
To delve deeper into the topic of expertise and authority in online content evaluation, you can explore an insightful article titled "The Extra E in E-E-A-T." This article provides valuable insights into the factors search engines consider when determining the credibility of sources. It sheds light on how expertise and authority are established and highlights the importance of corroborating information from different perspectives.