what makes domain authorityA lot has been said about domain authority and its influence on your search engine rankings – whatever the keyword.

The topic of domain authority has been of interest to me for a while now for two reasons:

  1. I want higher rankings with less work for everything I publish on Traffic Generation Cafe.
  2. As an affiliate marketer, I want for my reviews of products to be ranked above all others.

And who doesn’t, right?

That’s exactly what we’ll be talking about today and it’s not because I have the answers, by the way; rather, I want to see what you think and if you agree with my conclusions on the importance of domain authority.

What is Domain Authority?

Domain authority represents the overall “strength” of your website over time.

What Influences Domain Authority?

  • Time
  • Links from established authority sites
  • Social media presence (tweets, likes, plus ones, etc.)

It’s extremely important to note that authority affects the ENTIRE domain.

Any newly-published page on an authority domain has the potential to rank from day one without much link building effort.

And that’s exactly what brings me to the core thought of this post…

Trusted Domain Authority vs New Keyword.com

Let’s say you are about to start a marketing campaign for a new product you’d like to promote.

Do you set up a brand new keyword-rich (most likely product name) domain or do you set up a page within your existing authority domain with the same keyword-rich permalink?

Ranking in Google organic results for a new domain within a short period of time is just about impossible.

However, leaning on the existing authority of an established site just might give you the edge to show up on that first page very quickly.

Here’s where it gets tricky though: I’ve seen it go both ways.

Allow me to give you a couple of examples.

EXAMPLE #1:

Keyword “list building tips

ranking for list building tips

When performing a search with Google Incognito (the best way I found to get the least “biased” results from Google), my post on list building tips ranks #2 out of some 137M results.

Interesting thing though is that I never intended for this post to rank for this keyword.

As a matter of fact, I tried to get it ranked for a different keyword quite persistently, targeting all my on-page optimization for that keyword, as well as building some strong links with keyword-rich anchor text.

And yet, the post quickly ranked for “list building tips” and not really for my targeted keyword.

Reason?

The only thing that connected my blog post to “list building tips” was the slug: http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/list-building-tips/

Of course, I since then reoptimized my post for the new keyword, making sure I kept my accidental rankings and my post still remains at the top of Google.

EXAMPLE #2:

Keyword “traffic generation

ranking for traffic generation

Click on image to enlarge

This is a screenshot from my trusted Market Samurai, which shows my blog currently ranking in spot #2 for “traffic generation”.

Which site is ranking #1?

TrafficGeneration.com. Exact match domain.

If you take a look at the stats in the screenshot, the only thing that site has on me is age; my blog looks a lot stronger for all other indicators like link building, on-page optimization, etc.

So does it mean that they have domain authority purely because it’s an older domain or because of the keywords in the domain?

You tell me.

By the way, it’s nice to see Wikipedia trailing behind in spot #3 for a change. I wouldn’t be surprised if they push me down though.

Marketing Takeaway

As I said in the beginning of this post: I didn’t write it because I knew, rather because I didn’t.

Do you?

In your experience, is it easier to rank a page on an existing authority site or a brand new keyword-rich (or even better, exact match) domain?

Your best guess will be fine as well.

Image source: Don Moyer on Flickr