Guest blogging has become an essential part of any effective content marketing strategy. By publishing content on other high-authority websites, you can drive referral traffic, boost brand awareness, and establish yourself as an industry thought leader. However, not all guest posting opportunities are created equal. The domain name and authority of the site you are writing for plays a significant role in how much value that piece of content will provide.
In this comprehensive guide, we will examine exactly how domain names influence guest blogging opportunities and how you can use this knowledge to maximize the impact of your off-site content.
How Domain Authority Impacts Guest Posts
In the world of search engine optimization, domain authority is a score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank in search engines. It is calculated based on factors like the age of the domain, backlink profile, website structure and traffic. The higher the domain authority (DA), the more trusted that site is by Google.
When you publish a guest post on a site with high DA, it signals to search engines that your content is credible and endorsed by an authority in your space. As a result, your author bio and links back to your own website will be more powerful. Guest posts published on authoritative sites are more likely to attract organic search traffic and build your own domain authority in the long run.
Let’s compare how guest posts on different DA sites might impact your marketing strategy:
- Guest blogging on a site with DA 80: This is an extremely high domain authority site that will pass on tremendous credibility to your content and brand. Organic search traffic and links are highly likely.
- Guest blogging on a site with DA 45: A solid mid-range domain authority. Your content will still be seen as credible and have SEO benefits, though somewhat less than a DA 80 site.
- Guest blogging on a site with DA 25: On the lower end of domain authority, links and traffic will be minimal. Best for brand mentions or niche backlinks but limited SEO impact.
As you can see, higher authority sites have much more power to boost your marketing. But DA alone doesn’t tell the full story…
Why Page Authority Matters More Than Domain Authority
Though domain authority indicates the overall ranking power of a website, it’s actually page authority that matters most for an individual blog post.
Page authority is a score also calculated by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank in search engines. Even sites with high domain authority sometimes have pages with very low scores.
For example, a major news site like CNN.com has a domain authority of 99 but specific article pages may only have a page authority of 20 or 30. On the other hand, an obscure blog with a DA of 15 could potentially have a page with a PA of 45.
The page you are actually publishing on is a stronger indicator of how much SEO value your guest post will provide. That’s because Google ranks individual pages, not entire domains. Focus on getting placements on high-PA pages that are relevant to your target keywords.
Checking a URL’s page authority only takes a few seconds with Moz’s Link Explorer. This small bit of extra research is worth it to evaluate guest posting opportunities.
Why Both DA and PA Matter for Link Building
We’ve established why page authority is so important, so why does domain authority still matter? It comes down to the value of backlinks.
Links from high-authority domains are more powerful than links from obscure websites when it comes to improving your search rankings. Google sees a link from an authoritative, popular site as a stronger endorsement.
Ideally, you want to land guest posts on pages that have high PA and are hosted on domains with high DA. This maximizes both the direct SEO value of the content itself, and the indirect value of the backlink from a top publisher. It’s a double boost.
Even a blog with mediocre page authority can provide a valuable backlink if it’s on a authoritative, high-traffic domain. For example, entrepreneur.com has a DA of 93. A guest post there may only have a PA of 25, but can be tremendously worthwhile for the domain-level link.
Both page and domain authority should factor into your guest posting outreach and evaluation of opportunities. Use them together to identify sites and pages capable of turbocharging your organic reach.
Typical Domain Authority Scores to Target
Keeping page and domain authority in mind, what DA scores should you aim for with your outreach? Here are some guidelines:
- DA 70+: Top-tier, high-authority websites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Mashable, etc. Hardest to land but most impactful.
- DA 50-70: Major publications and reputed sites with significant traffic. Great for niche backlinks or launching content campaigns.
- DA 30-50: Common range for blogs with solid organic reach. Lower hanging fruit but still worthwhile for SEO.
- DA Under 30: Websites at this level or below have minimal ability to pass on link equity or traffic. Focus only if the niche is a perfect fit.
These ranges are generalizations only, as page authority must also factor in. But using domain authority benchmarks helps zero in on sites above a minimum baseline.
Guest posting on websites with DA scores of 50 or above should provide tangible SEO and traffic results. Though it never hurts to aim for influential, household-name publishers when possible!
Warning Signs of Low-Quality Domains
Conversely, there are some red flags that indicate a domain has extremely low authority and likely no SEO value. Watch out for these warning signs:
- Generic top-level domains (TLDs): Sites ending in .site, .info, etc.
- Automated or AI-generated content
- Duplicate content issues
- No social media sharing buttons
- Broken links/missing pages
- Pages with thin, low-quality content
- No evidence of traffic or engagement
These signs, either individually or in combination, suggest a site provides very little value. At best, links from these poor quality domains have no SEO benefit. At worst, they could potentially harm your rankings.
It’s better to politely decline guest posts on questionable sites than risk a Google penalty. Aim your outreach at reputable publishers with at least moderately strong domain authority and engagement.
Why Guest Posting on Industry Forums Can Work
Industry forums and niche communities offer an interesting contradiction to the domain authority “rule” for guest blogging. Despite often having weak domain strength, active forums can still be terrific for generating targeted organic traffic.
For example, the digital marketing forum Black Hat World has a DA of just 34. But a guest post there may generate hundreds or thousands of views simply due to the engaged audience.
The key is choosing forums where you know there is an existing community of interested users in your niche. If you run a cake decorating blog, but guest post in a generic “recipes” forum, it likely won’t generate any interest. Target forums dedicated specifically to cake artists and your post can perform well.
You essentially tap into an eager built-in audience rather than relying on search traffic. Just keep quality standards high and don’t overtly self-promote. Provide genuine value and include a link to your site in your bio.
Guest posting in industry forums tends to work best for link building and branding rather than SEO. But the direct referral traffic alone can make it worthwhile, even without a boost in authority.
Tips for Assessing Domain Value
Hopefully this post has emphasized why you should always research page and domain authority when evaluating guest posting opportunities. But determining the DA and PA scores of sites takes a bit of digging. Here are some tips:
- Use Moz’s Link Explorer to check domain and page authority scores. The free version works beautifully.
- Check SEMrush and Ahrefs for additional domain authority metrics like URL Rating and Domain Rating.
- Use Alexa rank to confirm a domain gets substantial global traffic.
- Search social media sites to gauge the domain’s follower counts and engagement.
- Browse the website to evaluate content quality, page load speed, etc.
- Enter the domain on Crunchbase to view web traffic stats and history.
Spend at least 10-15 minutes performing due diligence on any domain before agreeing to guest post or publish content. DA and PA scores are key indicators, but assessing the quality and relevance of a website also requires human judgment.
Arm yourself with both data and observational analysis before pursuing or accepting any guest blogging gig.
Key Takeaways On Domain Authority
If you only remember a few key points from this extensive guide on domain authority and guest blogging, make it these:
- Guest posting on higher DA sites has exponentially greater SEO benefits and ability to build your own authority. But also analyze page authority.
- Balance domain authority with niche relevance. A guest post in a small but targeted industry forum can sometimes outperform a post on a larger, unrelated site.
- Vet domains carefully using tools like Moz, SEMrush, Alexa, and Crunchbase to estimate authority and engagement.
- Avoid low-quality domains and sites with DA scores below 30 as they offer minimal (if any) SEO value. Focus on reputable mid-tier sites and above.
- Combine guest posting with other link building tactics for maximum impact, such as HARO outreach, brand mentions, broken link building, etc.
Smart guest blogging remains one of the most effective ways to expand your audience and gain backlinks. But you must be choosy about publication domains to amplify the benefits. Let DA and PA scores guide your outreach so you maximize your time investment.
Now that you understand the intricacies of how domain authority impacts your guest posting opportunities, it’s time to put this knowledge into action!