Chris Raines: Hey there. Welcome to episode 17 of the Dodgeball Marketing Podcast. My name is Chris.
Michael Utley: Hey everybody, Michael here.
Chris Raines: And thank you for joining us. If you're joining us on audio or on video, on YouTube. If you're on YouTube, hit subscribe for us, we've got a ton of content coming up and we'd love for you to subscribe to the channel.
Chris Raines: Today, we're going to talk about how to get better domain authority for SEO. Domain authority, okay, first things first, you're the SEO guy, I'm more of a paid guy. You are the organic guy... What is domain authority?
Michael Utley: So yeah, domain authority is a shorthand for all the different elements of telling the internet whether or not your website is one where there's a lot of activity and a lot of knowledge of a subject matter and a lot of value potentially for specific searches.
Chris Raines: Does it score? Is it like a score?
Michael Utley: Yeah, it's a score.
Chris Raines: Is it like a zero to a hundred?
Michael Utley: Yeah, zero to a hundred score... The typical way that we'll think about domain authority is using a tool like Alexa or MOZ to check and see what the score is, and yeah, it's just a number and as a website becomes more established in an area of subject matter, it, the domain authority goes up, so sure your-
Chris Raines: And then Google uses that... So all things being equal on two sides, the domain authority will win out?
Michael Utley: Yes, so domain authority is essentially a single number that assesses all of your SEO or your search engine traction. So how well you're doing in search engines can be simplified to one number. What's your domain authority.
Chris Raines: Awesome, so we're going to talk about how to increase that and like much, so this is really something that you... It's not like, "Increase your domain authority in 60 days" or... [inaudible 00:01:59].
Michael Utley: This is hard.
Chris Raines: It's farming, isn't it? It's consistent actions over time, small actions will build up and suddenly three or four or five years later, you've got great domain authority. That kind of thing.
Michael Utley: That's right, there's no know how to just dial up your domain authority. If there was, everybody would do it, instead, this is really the cumulative result of all of your effort around website, quality, content, SEO, who you are as a company offline, because a lot of what we're going to talk about here is offsite factors. So yeah, domain authority is essentially how good were you in this life? It's a cumulative score.
Chris Raines: The meta, kind of metric that above all [inaudible 00:02:45].
Michael Utley: That's right.
Chris Raines: Okay, cool. So we're going to give you six ways to improve your domain authority. Michael, why don't you take the first one here?
Michael Utley: Yeah. So number one, earn quality inbound links with solid evergreen content related to your subject matter. So it's easy to go out and get some kinds of links. Other ones are harder to get, and what you really need with any SEO strategy is content, steady flow of content. But you need to think about content for really pivoting and moving from just doing SEO, to focusing on domain authority. You need to think about some content that's going to be really valuable in your industry or in your local market. So an example of this would be, for example, we're sitting here in the new sales office, the new and media recording space at Dodgeball here on Main street Nashville. But if I wanted to rank well for something in Nashville, what I might do is develop a local business directory of maybe East Nashville businesses and get a lot of profiles of businesses on that site.
Michael Utley: And then I would have the ability to use that website to point to my own business, because I own and create this other website. When you can do things like that with content on your own site, evergreen content, you can create an ebook or a local directory or something that is sort of a valuable thing in of itself that other people are going to point to. I've done this with business directories in the past, where you create a data set for an entire state. And then everybody wants to point to that because that's the tool that's used for their industry. So these sorts of approaches are costly. It's not easy, but it is real standout in terms of creating unique content people cannot get elsewhere.
Chris Raines: Yeah, great. Number two, for increasing your domain authority, make your website architecture search engine friendly, something readable, mobile friendly and fast. We talk a lot about that... about what I would call just good plumbing in the house, a good foundation on the house, and that's kind of what this is, Michael, right?
Michael Utley: Yeah, and some things I would think about are, number one, are you trying to reinvent the website layout concept? Really, it's... we've gone to kind of single column because of the focus on mobile. So it's really logo on the top left, top nav and the header. Some actions stuff on the top right and then a hero area that has your main message and your main credibility, and then some supporting elements of trust factors and multimedia content, and then a footer that's really well laid out and has a repeat of your nav, maybe a mission statement, a little bit of branding, and then a block of contact info and social media icons that are linked to your social media channels and yeah, making sure that all that is working really well on mobile and that your pages are fast. That's key, your domain authority is never going to be where it should be, if you're struggling, if Google can't see a good rhythm and flow to the usability of your website, and if your pages are slow.
Chris Raines: Yep, a hundred percent. Number three, generate ongoing new social actiivity around your domain. Why do social media matter with domain authority?
Michael Utley: Yeah, so two things that are good for ongoing activity is it's really good for search engines to see steady new content and new pages being added to your website every month. In a similar way, it's good to have a rhythm of offsite activity around your brand. So if you have a public facing Facebook page for your brand, Facebook knows that that particular company page is related to the URL that's listed on the page in the about information for the page. So when they see a lot of activity on Facebook for that particular company page, that's a signal, that's a social signal. So... and it's hard to fake.
Michael Utley: So what Google is always looking for. . . Google is looking ways to use independent information, not just what you can do. You can go out and say, "Hey, my website's great", or you can go buy Facebook likes. What they're looking for, is authentic real stuff that can tie back to people. And so, this ongoing activity, we call these social signals, but it really just means, a high level of activity on your company pages on social networks and brand tagging or activity of your brand on these social networks.
Chris Raines: And Michael, it doesn't even mean... some people might think this means lots of social links back to your site, but it doesn't even have to be that.
Michael Utley: Doesn't even have to be that.
Chris Raines: It's supposed to be mentions of activity on your page that all matters even if somebody is not directly linking back to your site. It's just all like... It's like Google wants to know who's popular out there, what are people talking about?
Michael Utley: And who's popular, it's not necessarily who do people like, it's who people are talking about? So this doesn't even all have to be necessarily positive. I would avoid anything that's a blatant bomb throwing into conversations, but a lot of brands have taken sort of a contrarian approach to trying to be liked and have done things that were a little bit more open to interpretation, sort of a more interesting rather than likable and interesting is good on the internet, interesting is effective.
Chris Raines: Yeah for sure. All right. Number four, maintain offsite maps and apps/directories, as we call these maps and apps. And this is what [inaudible 00:08:14] Google My Business, sites like Yelp, industry specific directories. It can even be what we talked about in number one, if somebody else makes a directory that would count as maps and apps directory.
Michael Utley: That's right.
Chris Raines: So talk a little like why are these important, because they're not really big, whizbang huge. It's not like a citation from the New York Times or something like that.
Michael Utley: Which would be good.
Chris Raines: That would be good, but it's all of them in aggregate, right?
Michael Utley: Yes, so you should have at least about a hundred to 200 maps and apps that have correct verified update, recently verified, so regularly verified listings. We, when we're managing maps and apps, what we're doing for our clients is taking a profile of the business. So, we have an intake process, we get a template going of essentially correct business name, hours of operation, location, service area, the URL, images, description, all these different assets and a profile. And we push that out to a hundred plus verified and claimed listings every month.
Michael Utley: So if you're doing this yourself, you can do this manually, you can go claim these listings, come back to them once a quarter, make sure they're all correct. Or you can just check in with us and get some help, but yeah claiming and owning these profiles and managing them. Also, removing duplicates, making sure that if you've got two or three different Google my business profiles, that you're getting those merged, you're probably going to lose any reviews you have, if you have multiple accounts, but you really don't want there to be three or four different accounts. More is not always better, you want Google to have a real accurate sense of who you are and where you are.
Chris Raines: Number five, manually create inbound links on places like Wikipedia, Quora and other places you can guess but Michael... Would you call this... I might be wrong here. Would you call this web 2.0 properties?
Michael Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: I've read that. I'm not the organic SEO guy but I've heard people post, like these and these are web 2.0 properties. Is that a good way to put it?
Michael Utley: Yeah. If somebody got a blog and it's like a big deal in your space. If there's for example, we work a lot in healthcare and if you have a company doing something like healthcare software, and there's a healthcare IT publication, it would be really good for you to reach out to them and serve as a guest post interviewee, or even provide content to them that they can publish. So, these were big working with your existing relationships, to go out and develop some opportunities to provide some content, plus all these real trick now traditional properties like Wikipedia, Quora.
Chris Raines: As you don't need permission. You can... anybody can go post on Quora and offer a [inaudible 00:11:08], search your area of expertise to start answering questions. That's content.
Michael Utley: And now, we're not talking about the old days of content farms. We're not talking about writing one-
Chris Raines: Or comment spamming.
Michael Utley: . . . blog post and throwing it out [inaudible 00:00:11:25]. I'd stay away from a lot of big spams.
Chris Raines: A lot of people in old days would do comments spam and they'd be like, "Great post, check out my stuff".
Michael Utley: Right, we're not suggesting that, but what we are suggesting is that if you have, for example, if you're some sort of 100 million dollar a year healthcare company, yeah you probably merit corporate history as an entry on Wikipedia. That's a reasonable thing to do. Now, Wikipedia is tricky. You got to go real slow and real easy. They really want very carefully, organically formed content. So you're going to need to get people that maybe submit something on your behalf and you want it to be non-salesy information. It's not sales content. You're not taking your sales brochure and getting those bullet points under Wikipedia. But you can put in a stab and say located here, founded in whatever and have content on Wikipedia.
Chris Raines: Great, and the sixth and final one here, and you touched on it a little bit with what you said with the last one, but I wonder if you could go deeper here. Gain PR and media attention using press release, distribution and networking. Now this is one it's a little bit harder to do properly than the rest of them, but tell us why it's viable.
Michael Utley: This is an old school tactic for SEO for getting links and we still find it useful from time to time, but not as directly as it used to be. It used to be that you'd for $500 get a PR web and distribute or appear on Newswire and distribute a press release and have 500 new inbound links. So this is still a reasonable tactic to get a press release if you open a new office, you expand, offer a new program. If you do something that's really newsworthy and get it distributed, here's where I think it's valuable today. It's good for doing that. And I would say it's not quite the bright flare in the night sky that it used to be for SEO, but you can still do that activity and then use it as a way to hand sell and hand promote who you are and what you're doing to other organizations that you want to manually ask to share something.
Michael Utley: So we're talking about guest posting, getting some traction with maybe a publication in your industry. If you've got a press release, that's on a third-party website, that's a really good way to open a conversation with them rather than a really weak approach of, "Hey, do you want to trade links"? Or, "Hey, we're trying to get more inbound links" but "Hey, we are... you might've seen our press release in so-and-so, we just announced a new product and we're really excited about 2021, would you like to do... we're thinking about an interview on why we're excited about next year". That would be a reasonable way to use a press release and it really does generate some inbound links. That's still the case.
Chris Raines: Great. So there's six ways to get better domain authority for SEO. Like we mentioned before, the main thing to remember here is this is a slow play, this is like a marathon and not a sprint. So just almost focus on... Don't focus on what your domain authority... I don't even know if you can know what that number is, right?
Michael Utley: Yeah, you can measure it. You can pull it from SEMrush or a few different tools.
Chris Raines: So what I'm saying is, don't focus on that big number, focus on the tactics that you're doing. Make that your leading indicator and know that that trailing indicator is going to move.
Michael Utley: Yep. That's right. Exactly.
Chris Raines: Great. Okay, hope that was helpful. We'll see you on the next one.
Michael Utley: Thanks everybody.