The question was:
I just saw our domain authority has dropped, despite our following a content marketing plan, based on key search terms. Any suggestions as to how or why?
I asked if they are creating new content consistently and if they’re producing contributed content for media sites and blogs that link back to their website.
She answered yes to the first and no to the second.
Then she admitted the consistent part about content creation may not be there.
Because, as we all experience, client work comes first and they haven’t had time.
It’s a completely understandable predicament. We do, after all, only have 24 hours in our days.
But that is why their domain authority dropped.
Google wants to see that you’re producing consistently new content.
You also you need a link from a higher domain authority site than your own that leads to your website.
This tells Google you are an authority on the topic and it begins to increase both your domain authority and your search rankings.
Without doing both, your domain authority will drop.
Why Should I Care About Domain Authority?
Domain authority is a metric created by Moz that tells you how Google might see your site, as compared to your competition.
It has a scale of 1-100.
The New York Times has a domain authority of 100; Spin Sucks of 65.
Most organization websites range between 20 and 40.
If you’re just starting out, haven’t created much content, or haven’t updated your website in a few years, your domain authority could easily be below 20.
The number doesn’t matter.
(Don’t beat yourself up if it’s less than 20. It truly doesn’t matter.)
What matters is if you have a plan to increase it to allow you first page search rankings on your priority keywords.
For instance, we have a client whose domain authority is 25.
But if you search any of their 10 top priority keywords, they show up on page one of Google results.
For more than half, they’re above the fold (in the first five listings).
If we focused solely on domain authority as a metric, it wouldn’t look very good.
But it’s a great place to benchmark.
When we started working with them three months ago, their domain authority was seven.
They also had zero keywords on the first page of Google results.
Both things are going in the right direction.
That’s what you need to care about.
Why Did Your Domain Authority Drop?
If, though, the domain authority number has decreased, as in the case of our community member, you have to investigate why.
The first thing I did when she asked was look to see if ours (or our client’s) numbers had dropped.
They had not so I knew it wasn’t due to a Google algorithm change.
That led me to the next two questions:
- Are you consistently creating new content for your site?
- Are you using media relations to get a link to your site from higher domain authority sites?
If the answer to the first question is yes, ask yourself the second question.
If the answer to the second question is yes, you’re not being honest.
Unless there is a Google algorithmic change, your domain authority won’t drop if you’re doing both of those things.
It’s scientifically impossible.
Are You Consistently Creating New Content?
This doesn’t have to be a blog post every, single day.
I recommend you set a goal to update one page every week on your website.
This could be in combination with product, services, or resources page updates with a blog post.
The idea is that it’s consistent (so if weekly is too much, do bi-weekly) and it’s informative.
One of my favorite things Andy Crestodina says is:
Your job is to make the very best page on the internet for your topic.
This could mean that you update your services page once a month with a new testimonial, a new statistic from a case study, and a new success story.
Then you publish a blog post that talks about the work you did, with a call-to-action to visit the services page.
At the very most, you’re looking at four hours every month to do that.
Are You Getting Links to Your Site from Media Sites?
Four hours for the content part.
Now you have to do some media relations.
(Which is more than four hours each month.)
But that’s OK!
This is what you do. You know how to do it. It’s comfortable. You already have relationships.
And it’s much easier to pitch contributed content than it is to talk about your latest gadget or service offering.
Every news organization on earth needs really great content.
Put your media relations chops to work, create a list of media outlets and blogs that would be beneficial to your organization, and get to work.
For instance, let’s say you sell business insurance.
You recently updated your products page and you wrote a blog post on the three tax mistakes every business owner makes.
That blog post has a link to the products page in it.
Now you want to pitch contributed content.
You build your media list. It consists of:
- Business News Daily
- Your local business journal
- The SBA’s blog
You start with Forbes because it’s on your priority list and, really, who wouldn’t want contributed content to appear there?
The pitch is to have one of your subject matter experts write an article about tax mistakes business owners make.
It won’t be the same content you have on your blog, but it WILL link to that blog post (which links to the product page).
See where this is going?
You now have an article on Forbes that links to your blog that links to your products page that links to the form where a lead can contact you.
The Result of All of This Content Work
The result of all of this work is a higher domain authority and a higher ranking in search results.
Both of those things lead to an increase in qualified leads.
An increase in qualified leads means more business.
More business means more Jimmy Choos!
In the business insurance example, you can now prove four things:
- The organization’s domain authority increased
- Search result rankings for a priority keyword increased
- Inbound qualified leads increased
- You increased sales (revenue, $$, Jimmy Choos)
If your domain authority drops, first check to see if your competitors dropped, as well.
(Or ask in the free Slack community; we are always happy to help.)
If it hasn’t dropped for everyone, start with the first question and work down the list.
You’ll quickly figure out why it dropped, and what you need to do right now to fix it.