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Whether you are a blogger, niche site builder or creating any type of website online, you should care about getting your site on the top page of Google search results. Why?
Because Google traffic is brilliant.
It’s seemingly never-ending and requires no work once you have everything set up right on your site. It is one of the key ways that I reached over 200,000 page views on my travel blog.
There are many ways to go about increasing your search traffic.
The most effective way is to build links to your websites.
Google basically sees links to your site as votes that your site and its content are high quality and authoritative. Over time, hopefully, you will start receiving natural links – that is that other sites will start linking to your site without you having to make it happen.
However, when you are starting out, natural links are hard to come by. The fact is that once you are getting to those top spots in search results, many more people will see your content meaning there are many more opportunities for others to link to you. This means over time you should not have to worry about building any links yourself.
Until you get to that point, though, it is smart to try to increase your search traffic by working on increasing links to your site. Regardless of the type of site that you have, this is important.
Although there are many ways to try to measure the ability your blog has to get to those top spots in search results, the best way currently is domain authority and page authority and increasing this is what we will focus on in this article.
Fully updated in August 2018.
You will learn...
- What domain and page authority are and why you should care.
- What domain authority (DA) you should aim for.
- Why you should want to link build even if your DA is high.
- How to grow links to your website using guest posting.
- How to get the maximum benefit of links to your website.
1. What domain and page authority are and why you should care…
Domain and page authority are measures that were created by Moz. You can check the domain and page authority for your site here.
Domain authority (DA) is basically a measure of how likely your site is to show up in google search results. It is a relative measure meaning it’s more important how your domain authority compares to your competitors than what number it actually is.
I used to find it easy to get upset whenever my DA went down on my travel blog. However, every time this has happened, in my blogging groups there are many people complaining of the same issue. Sometimes, there is a bigger update from Moz which seems to involve a lot of downward movement and some more upward movements.
Since it is relative, it doesn’t really matter if you go down, as long as everyone else is going in the same direction.
However, over time you definitely want to see an upward trend.
Page Authority (PA) is similar to DA except it is only about the likelihood of an individual page to show up in search results.
Usually, your home page will have the highest PA as more people link to home pages than individual posts.
2. What domain authority should you aim for…
The highest domain authority possible is 100 – and you are not likely to ever hit that! It gets harder and harder to increase your DA the further up you go.
What you should aim for depends on your niche since it depends on the ratings of your competitors.
Generally, in blogging, I aim for a minimum DA of 30. I find once I hit 30 it is much easier to find keywords that I can rank for.
I would recommend setting a DA to aim for and work on link building until you hit it. If you are unsure of what to aim for, make it 30.
3. Why you should want to link build even if your DA is high…
You should not just think in terms of DA but also the PA (page authority) of your posts. There can be big benefits to building links to individual posts.
For example, one of my articles earns about US$100 a month at present on my blog. Basically, all of the traffic for this article comes from Google and I am only in position #10 for the main keywords in search results. This means I am only getting about 500 page views a month to make this money.
If I put effort into link building to this post to increase its authority so I got to the top spots in search results for the main keywords then it is probable that my earnings could skyrocket for this post as my page views increased as I moved up the search results.
The main keyword for this post is not competitive. Writing even two guests posts that link to this post could very well help increase my income for this article to be a few hundred dollars or more per month. That’s a big incentive.
This is because there is a huge difference in click through rates between position #1 and #10. You can find them here.
I would recommend only link building to posts which have proved earning potential – unless you are just starting out in which case build links to any posts that have the potential to get in those top ten spots in search results. Guest posting requires a fair bit of effort and I never recommend just chasing traffic for the sake of it.
4. How to grow links to your website using guest posting…
The number one way I recommend building links to your site is via guest posting.
You need to make a plan of which sites you want to guest post on and then make it happen (there are two files full of guest posting opportunities in the DNW group – join here!).
Other types of link building
There are many other approaches – many people use comments and collaborative posts to build links. These can be an easy way to attain them. However, neither of these approaches will give you top quality links.
Comments are usually marked “nofollow”, although that could be changing, which means you do not get much benefit from these links.You should read my updated post on Nofollow links and link attribution. Even if they are not nofollow then they are still not usually quality links. For a start, the more links on a page, the less each individual link is worth. The further down the page a link is, the less it is worth as well.
For these reasons, collaborative posts are also not the best way to get links. There are usually many links on a page so they are not worth much. However, I still do find them a useful, quick and easy way to get links so I regularly contribute to collaborative posts.
Read more about collaborative posts here and how to use them to get more traffic, links and quality content.
What sites should you guest post on?
The short answer to this is the best sites possible!
I have talked to many other bloggers who made the same mistake as me when it comes to guest posting. They did it before they understood things like domain authority and before they had a strategy.
In the beginning, I just guest posted whenever I was asked without any real thought. Although it certainly hasn’t hurt me, it wasn’t the best use of my time. It is a far smarter idea to put some effort into working out who to guest post for and be strategic about it.
What to look for in a site to guest post on:
- That the site is in the same niche as you are in, well regarded and not at all spammy. Links from the same niche are worth more than links from other niches.
- That they allow guest posts – not all will allow it. Some big sites/blogs will have guidelines on their site which will tell you their policy. If a site you would like to guest post on does not, then see if you can find other guest posts on the site. This is a good indicator.
- Aim for sites with a DA > 30 and at least 10 points greater than your own DA. If your own DA is already over 35 then you might want to drop that to sites with a DA at least 5 points greater than your own.
- A site with an active readership. It is great if you can not only get the domain authority boost but attract more readers to your blog from your guest post.
Start by making a list of sites that meet these criteria that you would like to guest post for. As mentioned above, there are many guest posting options in the free DNW Facebook group here. However, don’t just do it for everyone that says yes. Writing a guest post is a lot of effort and you should maximise your time by ensuring that you are guest posting for the best sites possible.
The very best sites to post a guest post are probably going to take some effort to be accepted. You will probably need to start following the site online, commenting on the site and generally letting the owners know who you are by supporting them before pitching them with your story idea.
It is worth remembering that quality links are more important than the quantity of links so it is worth putting in effort to make sure you get the best quality ones.
How to find guest posting opportunities…
There are files in the DNW Facebook group full of guest posting opportunities.
If you are a parenting, lifestyle or health blogger, I have special link building groups just for your niches where you can find guest posts:
You can also ask in other blogging groups or reach out to your favourite blogs in your niche and ask.
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5. How to get the maximum benefit of links to your website…
Below are tips so that you get the maximum benefit of any link you build to your website within your guest posts. Obviously, there are usually guidelines for guest posting on other people’s sites you will have to follow so you may not be able to do all of these points. However, do what you can!
How to get maximum benefit from links to your site:
- Try to include at least two links in every guest post – one to your home page and one to a key page on your site which you would especially like to get to the top spots in search results.
- Include an additional link or two to high authority websites like a well-established news website. This is like telling Google that your site hangs out in the same company as these high-quality websites. Do not link to any other sites.
- Links within the article are far superior to links at the end. In other words, avoid just having a link to your site at the end of the article. Put links within the article text where it makes sense.
- Links higher up in your article receive more value from Google so put your links as high as possible, ideally in the first paragraph.
- Avoid overusing exact match anchor text to your articles. By this I mean that if you are link building to an article on your site called “how to find the best lawn mower” where the keywords are “best lawn mower”, be careful how much you use the text “best lawn mower” in the text you use to link to your article.
You need to keep in the mind the fact that there is a benefit to using your keywords in your anchor text – this will give you a bigger boost in search results. However, you do run the risk of a penalty if you do this too much so I recommend only doing it once ever to each page. Use different text next time.
- Instead of using exact match anchor text to your keywords, write the keywords as close as you can to your link. For example, you could write something like this “One of the keys to my success in having the perfect lawn was buying the best lawn mower. Here are some recommendations.” With the link on “Here” instead of on “best lawn mower”.
- Write the guest post on the same topic as your keywords in the article you wish to link to. This will help make the link more valuable as well. For example, if I want to grow the page authority of my Stockholm with kids article, I should write a guest post on a topic around kids and Stockholm (but not to the same keyword) that links to this.
Naturally, it is also essential to write high-quality articles when guest posting.
Hopefully, this article has helped you come up with a strategic plan of how you can increase the domain authority of your website in a smart way with the minimal amount of effort.
Although it can sound like more effort to find the best sites to guest post on, build a relationship with them and pitch them, it is far less effort in the long run as quality links are worth far more than the quantity of links.
If you have found this article confusing, please ask your questions below and I will answer them. Here are the key takeaways I hope you learned from this article…
Find all my best articles about SEO here.