Search engine optimization (SEO) improves the quality and quantity of website visitors coming from search engines like Google to a site. Domain authority is a term commonly used when talking about SEO. In short, domain authority is the measure of how successful a website is. 
 
Let us break this down. When we perform a search in a search engine, like Google or Bing, we will see multiple results come back. The question is, why do we see those specific results instead of something different? The answer is search ranking factors determining the results we see based on the search phrase used or keywords. 
 
Two main search ranking factors determine why a website, like a law firm site, ranks or does not rank well for a particular phrase. 

Relevance 

The first factor is the law firm web page itself. What is the content on it, what words, phrases, videos, and keywords are used? What stuff is on the website, and what quality? In SEO, this is called relevance. 

Links

The second critical search ranking factor for a law firm website is links. Does the site have links? Are the links to trusted websites? Have those websites referred back to the law firm website, and have those links been cited? Have those pages been linked to the firm's website? This is known as authority.
 
The two main search ranking factors are authority and relevance. This means the two main types of SEO are on-page SEO of the law firm's website, creating content (relevance) and off-site SEO, or link building (authority). 

Link Quality 

Quality links add credibility to a law firm website, so links from an authoritative website are seen as more valuable. It is the quality and quantity of links to the law firm's webpage that have a great deal to do with whether or not the firm site ranks well in search. 

PageRank

If a site does not rank well, it is usually due to two factors, either the content is not great, or the site does not have authority. In the past, how a page ranked was referred to as PageRank. PageRank was a number 1 through 10. 

However, Google no longer publicly displays a domain's PageRank. Now, no one knows exactly what their PageRank is. This is where domain authority comes in.

Domain Authority
 
Domain authority is a metric. Many search tools have other SEO methods they use, such as SEMrush's Authority Score, Ahrefs' Domain Rating, and MOZ's Domain Authority. No matter what they are called, they are essentially the same thing – a tool that shows whether a website, like a law firm site, is trusted among other websites because of the links to them.

Whether a site is trusted relates to link quality. The value of a link from another site to a law firm's website is on an exponential curve, meaning links from some sites are worth more than others. 
 
Domain authority is a metric. It shows us two things, the ranking potential of pages on that domain and the value of a link from another site – both crucial bits of information to help websites, including law firm websites, rank well.

About Author

Kerrie Spencer is a staff contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine.

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