As a part of our SEO Survey we took the time to take a closer look into one of the toughest ranking factors to score, domain authority. The thing with domain authority is that it is not all black and white and even the best efforts can reach a dead end. Well, that can be said for almost every part of SEO, but domain authority is something we all want in the long run and should pay close attention to legitimate SEO strategies if we want to achieve it.

So let’s take a look at the graph based on our SEO survey:

Domain Trust-Authority Factors

Before we dive into the explanations and analysis let me just address one issue, brand search volume. As some of you might know brand search volume is not a ranking factor, simple as that, it is a correlation metric, and it is just there for known authority brands, it is in no way a ranking factor. So why did we put it up there? Obviously to test the surveyors, but I have to say that only a very small number decided to skip that answer, but most of people gave it a score of 1. That goes to show that either they think it is worthless, or they know it’s not a ranking factor and simply gave it the lowest score from the offered ones. Well, with that being said, over 30 people gave it a score of 2 or higher, we won’t comment on that one.

Let’s compare the results from the perspective of professionals and beginners; you will see some obvious differences:

Domain Authority by Professionals:

domain authority professionals

Domain Authority by Beginners:

domain authority amateurs

The fist obvious thing we can see is that amateurs put more weight on the number of links rather than quality of the links. Also, beginner’s thing that domain age is a bigger factor for trust and authority then social media mentions. You see, domain age can get you just to a certain point where search engines know that you are here to stay, and that in the time you have been there you didn’t engage in black hat SEO strategist and went against their guidelines, but that is it. Social media mentions are a real time factor that is on the rise, and I would personally put more weight into them then domain age which is just a technicality of sorts, while social media mentions show your website’s popularity and reach. And the last one, brand search volume, well, it’s easy to say that a majority of professional SEO’s placed either no score or gave it a 1.

Link Diversity/Quality

Link Diversity

This goes as a no brainer, link diversity and quality is what will create a highly natural link profile that will add to your domain trust and authority. Out of all the metrics presented here it is very obvious that gaining authority is achievable only if various resources, websites, types of websites recommend you. The more diverse the voting directions the stronger your influence and authority will be.

Number of Links

Number of Links

We should maybe break this graph up by beginners and professionals, as most beginners placed a score of 5 and 4 to the number of links, none of the beginners placed a score of 1 or 2 to this metric. Although the number of links is important, what is more important is the number of linking domains. So if you have 20,000 links coming from 250 domain you are good, but if you have 50,000 of links coming from 50 domains, well it’s easy to guess who will win in that situation.

Domain Age

domain age

Quite a bit of confusion around domain age as a factor for domain authority. It’s easy to see that most people don’t know what to make of it, honestly I’m not an expert on the subject, my personal opinion is that domain age goes to a certain level and then stops. Why would a 4 year old domain with extra quality content and great number of linking domains have to suffer because his competitor is a 15 year old domain? There is no reason, which is why you can see plenty of new sites outranking the fossils of the internet world.

Social Media Mentions

Social Media Mentions

As you can see people don’t know what to make of social media mentions as well, they are quite divided. They understand that it has some value, obviously just one person placed a score of one, but at the same time it seems they realize that there are more important factors at the moment. The thing is that social media are a great influence on our traffic and brand reputation, as such they are becoming more and more valuable asset for internet marketing, as such it is quite logical for search engines to include them as one of the metrics to determine authority and trust of a domain.

We won’t present the brand search volume data as it has no effect. The more popular and trustworthy a brand is the higher the search volume will be, and if we are talking about known brands in the offline world, well that would give a great disadvantage or newcomers. Yes, Google looks at the brand search volume, but it doesn’t include it in their measurements to determine the authority of a domain.

To achieve domain authority you will need time, you will need plenty of websites voting for you, high traffic and great number of social mentions. You need to monitor your brand name reputation at all times. The thing about domain authority is that it is quite difficult to achieve, but quite easy to lose. So be careful what you do, as one small mistake can cost you a lot in the online world.