Ever since domain authority became a major concern in the digital marketing world, marketers have been trying to find out what it takes to improve it. Why?
Ranking your site on google is an important aspect (if not the most important aspect) of the digital marketing equation. It signifies a better organic online exposure, which usually means a higher rate of organic traffic, leads, and ultimately – profit.
In saying all that, we all know that social media has become the hottest platform when it comes to cost-effective digital marketing, but how does your social media marketing relate to building your website’s domain authority as a whole?
What exactly is domain authority and why should we care?
To start things off, let’s take a look at what domain authority actually stands for.
As we know, more authoritative sites have already established themselves to achieve higher rankings on Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) – the goal of every SEO marketer. The whole first page in the search engine results is gold, but that first position on the first page is the piedestal for all SEOs.
Plus, there’s a ton of data to back it up. Ranking first on a google search query can sometimes result in a CTR at least 200% higher than the second search result in line! When organic click through rate is through the roof, usually your conversions are too!
When talking about site and page rankings on the the SERP, the professionals in the SEO industry have one particular measurement they like to use as an industry standard – Domain Authority (DA).
What this particular SEO term stands for is actually a ranking metric, developed by MOZ. As google’s page rank was discontinued in 2010, MOZ has been left as the standard metric.
Moz measures DA on a logarithmic scale of 1 to 100. (Note that 90+ numbers take years and years to achieve, if ever). The difficulty of getting points is not linear – the higher the point, the more difficult to acquire. But one thing’s for certain – the closer you are to 100, the easier it is to rank your pages on Google and your business becomes more profitable.
So it’s worth the trouble.
If you want to know what your domain ranking is, Moz has a free tool called Open Site Explorer (OSE) where you can check your DA, but what does it take to improve it?
The simple answer would be – everything and anything SEO related.
Factors that affect domain authority
When it comes to SEO, there is definitely more than meets the eye. One thing is for certain – SEO and digital marketing requires a holistic approach that involves white hat (those are the only ones we’ll talk about anyway) techniques that involve: high quality, SEO-optimized, linkable content; technical SEO; domain age; backlink profile; website structure and navigation and many more elusive and esoteric ranking factors involved in the domain authority algorithm.
High-quality content along with great (and many) backlinks is a must, but there are a ton of other factors that influence your rankings.For now, however, we’ll be focusing on how to use social media to improve your DA, as social media can be an influencing aspect of SEO, and digital marketing in general.
How important is social media for building domain authority and Google rankings?
Domain authority is all about keeping a proper balance between multiple factors – content marketing, link building, and a rock solid social media strategy. There are, of course, sites who’ve cracked their SEO and managed to rank well without any form of social media just fine, but social media works extremely well as a nice reassurance for success.
Are social media links a direct factor in google rankings?
Unfortunately, Google’s algorithms are constantly changing, and there’s a heated debate on the subject. There has, however, been research conducted in the SEO marketing world that shows that social signals and DA are extremely correlated.
But correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation. There is no conclusive evidence that shows anything like Facebook likes or Twitter followers directly affects domain authority.
What it does imply, however, is that there is a strong connection – people find out about your products, services, and business in general mainly on social media. This will lead to them visiting your site, clicking around, adding some of your products to their carts, and later talking about it (on social media again). That will get you and your business recognition in your niche, while also potentially landing you some great links and a steady flow of social traffic to your website. Traffic and links are absolute domain authority factors, and both of them can benefit a great deal from your social media marketing efforts.
Think of it this way: social activity increases the likelihood of factors that actually do affect your rankings. And there are plenty of indirect ways a social media strategy can help with building your domain authority:
1. Social media can help you build your brand and audience
Building a brand and defining an audience are both major SEO objectives. Having a consistent and clear image and an audience that it appeals to is crucial to market your products or services properly.
2. It can help get your content discovered and indexed by search engines
Posting a link to new content on a few social networks can cause Google to discover the new page and index it, and sometimes a new page can get a temporary boost if it’s relevant to a specific query. Social media can help your pages get noticed this way, but you have to have a combination of other factors for your page to stay ranked.
Google+ is increasingly becoming more important, as Google’s current algorithm seems to favor it. The only problem is that nobody seems to use it, with the exception of SEO marketers (for obvious reasons).
To what extent are social media posts indexed by Google definitely depends on the platform. Only a small minority of Facebook posts are indexed, but Google has full access to Twitter and Google+ and the ability to index them. This is why people report a stronger correlation between these two platforms and domain authority.
3. Build professional relationships with people in the same industry.
Don’t underestimate the power of networking – and how social media can help you with it. Getting people in your niche to link to your site is sometimes a question of building professional relationships – and all it takes for that is a social network.
If you don’t know where or how to start, you can try joining groups on Google+ or Facebook related to your business’ niche and simply share your content with them.
Building great relationships with readers and influencers can sometimes make all the difference – social media exposure means that you are putting your content in front of writers and site owners who find it relevant, and may want to link to it as a reference.
For long term, consistent success and a steady upward spiral, you need to keep reminding Google that your site is buzzing with activity. You should take the time to promote your updates properly too, and social media engagement naturally is here to help. So whatever you write or update, make sure it gets recognized on social media.
5. Don’t forget that social traffic is important all on its own.
You don’t have to think of it in terms of social traffic vs organic traffic – but rather just traffic. There are instances where social traffic can equal or even outperform organic traffic from a well ranked page when it comes to the number of people it leads to your site.
So, how can a social media plan increase your domain’s authority?
All of the above mentioned points can lead to only one possible conclusion – a strong social media presence and engagement and a good domain authority work towards the same goal – getting more conversions.
It’s best not to think of them as two separate concepts – they feed off of each other and work in tandem to spread your business or brand’s digital presence while leading consumers down the conversion funnel.
But they both require effort, time and good business decisions, so having a sound social media plan and strategy is a must.
There has never been a better time to get into proper social media optimization and planning, as social media platforms are bursting from businesses pitching their products.
Creating a strategy and using it to trigger SEO factors relevant to domain authority will get you the edge you need over your competition.
Written by Nate Gadzhibalaev
Nate is the founder of Amplifr, a service that assists individuals and businesses by automatically scheduling their social media posts, helping them to earn more money. With a background in product managing, business development, and international growth, he aims to help individuals and businesses by showing them how they can continue to grow their audience profitably and efficiently. “