If you’re a church leader looking to grow your church’s online presence, there is one powerful measure that is absolutely essential in understanding and improving search engine optimization strategy for your church website. Not only does this measure depict the overall relevance of your website for its topic, but it also paints a picture of your website’s current performance in terms of searchability, provides insight into its room for growth, and can be used for comparison purposes to help gauge the competition. This critical score concerning websites that church communication leaders should know and track is known as domain authority.
What is domain authority?
Domain authority is a score ranging from 0 to 100 that predicts how well a website will rank in search engine results for a specific subject. You can think of it as the numeric value of strength for all your church website search engine optimization efforts as compared to all the other websites of the same general category. With 0 being the lowest possible score, and 100 being the highest, domain authority is determined by three main factors: website age, website popularity, and website size. In simpler terms, it’s a high-level indicator of a website’s overall credibility for a given subject.
How is domain authority calculated?
MOZ, the creator of DA, uses a collection of over 40 different metrics in order to arrive at a website’s domain authority. These complex factors include the quality, diversity, and quantity of backlinking domains (external websites linking to yours), the degree of content quality, and website trust scores, just to name a few. MOZ uses a machine learning model to predict the website’s ability to rank on a logarithmic scale, which means that DA fluctuates across time and that moving from a score of 70 to 80 is vastly more difficult than going from 10 to 20. Very large church websites that are highly trafficked and have many inbound links will have a much higher score than a brand new church website with very few links. Keep in mind that DA is best used as a comparative tool since the rank will continually change along with your church website’s online competitive space.
How do I find out my church website domain authority?
MOZ offers a free SEO toolbar you can install in your website browser to read the domain authority of any website you visit. It’s also incorporated into countless SEO and online marketing platforms offered across the web, many of which require a paid subscription.
Alternatively, you can contact your friendly church marketing experts at Missional Marketing and we can help you find out. We’d be more than happy to offer you a free local SEO report for churches. Simply enter your business name in the form at the bottom of the linked page, and we’ll do the rest!
How difficult is it to increase domain authority?
As mentioned above, the higher your domain authority is, the more difficult it will be to improve it. It’s nearly impossible to gain a DA of 100 (although sites like Facebook and Google have it), and it’s also very difficult to influence domain authority directly. You can’t simply change your domain authority like you can change your website content and metadata (important information in your website read by search engines that categorizes its topic or intent). However, you can take certain steps that will influence the many factors used in calculating it.
How can I improve my website domain authority?
On a most basic level, your primary goal for improving church website domain authority should be to get rid of “bad” links and gain more “good” links.
“How do I do that?”… you might ask. We’d love to show you how:
● Complete A Website Audit
We believe that improving domain authority should start with a comprehensive church website audit. Missional Marketing offers a complete SEO audit for a reasonable, one-time cost, detailing everything you need to know about the current state of your website’s on page SEO, meta tags, backlinks, web traffic, and any website errors and recommendations. Once you know your website in and out, you’ll know what areas need improvement.
● Improve Your Technical SEO
Ensuring that your website follows SEO best practices is an important step in influencing your domain authority. Considering factors like site structure, URL structure, meta tags, keywords, alt tags, navigability, and breadcrumbs on your website might not seem like the most interesting work, but optimizing each of these details is at the very core of SEO strategy. If this isn’t your forte, Missional Marketing offers an ongoing church website SEO subscription with various levels of pricing and service.
● Develop Effective Internal Linking on Your Website
While backlinks (other websites linking to your site) are unquestionably powerful in increasing domain authority, internal linking (links on pages of your own website to other pages of your website) should not be underestimated. Effective internal linking helps not only your site visitors to have a positive experience and to utilize more of your site, but also helps the search engines to properly crawl it. Your church website will be more popular and useful if visitors have no problems finding your most interesting content, along with whatever it is they were looking for in the first place (ie directions, “I’m New”, church live stream, etc).
● Create Lots of Quality Content Worthy of Shares and Links
This actionable step has quite possibly the most direct influence on domain authority of all our recommendations. Interesting and engaging content drives website traffic. Fortunately enough for church leaders, you already have new and interesting content created each week in your services – but where most church websites fail is in effectively sharing it so that search engines can actually find this content and then deliver it to those who are actively seeking its benefits.
Missional Marketing created the Sermon Video Library to help address this specific need. Rather than simply posting a sermon video with no text or metadata for search engines to “see” it, we can transcribe your sermons with the proper SEO strategy so that people searching felt needs with phrases like “loneliness”, “forgiveness”, “divorce”, “relationships”, or “parenting”, may actually come across your video sermons in search results. This innovative product bridges the gap between the incredible content you’re already creating and a world of online people who need it.
● Audit and Remove Toxic Links on a Regular Basis
While you may have never considered it, your website may have a toxic link from a spammy or untrustworthy website at this very moment that’s causing you a penalty and keeping your domain authority low. It’s a good idea to audit all your backlinks on a monthly or bi-monthly basis and to remove or disavow these hazardous links before they cause a problem. The best types of backlinks are those from trustworthy and highly trafficked websites boasting high domain authorities themselves.
● Have Patience
Website age does play a factor in domain authority. While it isn’t necessarily an automatic translation, an older domain will generally have a higher authority. However, if your church website isn’t properly maintained and updated, or is lacking new/quality content, it will lose its domain authority. Each of the activities above will absolutely help to show a gradual rise in domain authority, but the changes don’t happen overnight. Have patience, and you’ll see improvements!
Why is domain authority so important for churches?
To put it simply, more church website traffic leads to more “cheeks in the seats”. Local people are searching for exactly what your church provides, and through search engine optimization efforts, measured by domain authority, we can help them find you.
At Missional Marketing, our focus is to help our clients grow their web presence by producing measurable results. We’d love to have a conversation with you about improving your church website domain authority and your overall website traffic generation plan. Give us a call at 480.420.2007 to learn more about what we can do for you, or use the self-scheduler app to book a telephonic appointment below: