Sunday, 31 January 2016

How To Increase My Blogs' DA?

lifestyle offsite SEO how to increase DA

When I woke up on Saturday and scrolled through my Twitter feed, I saw nearly everyone talking about DA and debating on how to improve it. Right, the MOZ update came through, that's why half of the blogosphere was excited and fussed about. Since I work in SEO and I’m interested in how to increase the DA of my blog myself, I thought I’d share my ideas and knowledge of it. Hope you’ll find the following helpful.

What Is DA And Why Is It So Important For My Blog?

Domain Authority (DA) is identified by the service MOZ. It rates and ranks your blogs offsite SEO and tells PRs and brands if your blog has a high value for marketing reasons. Besides DA is a measurement of how influential your blog is in terms of Google ranking. If your blog has a high DA, then links placed on your website are valuable and of SEO quality. You can identify your blogs' DA through installing the add-on MOZ bar to your browser.

DA is only available to blogs with their own domain, so blogs with a or attribute in their URL won’t be considered and are regarded as less valuable when it comes to content marketing, hence why bigger brands usually don’t work with those blogs. So the earlier you invest into your own domain, which costs around £20 for two years (123 Reg or Go Daddy) and is super easy to install, the better for your blogs' progress and development.

Brands work with blogs that have a DA of 20+. The higher your DA, the better your collaborations will be.

What Is On And Offsite SEO For Your Blog?

Onsite SEO is optimisation that you do directly on your blog. Many bloggers have written excellent pieces on how to optimise your blog's content and most practices are widely known in the blogosphere, for example, include relevant keywords, structure your text into paragraphs and include H1, H2, H3 subtitles, tag your pictures, include meta description, adjust your permalink etc.

SEO has, however, another important side that is required in order for your blog to be picked up by Google and MOZ and that is offsite SEO. Offsite SEO is optimisation outside of your blog, for example, external link building, and this is important when it comes to DA because MOZ rates all of your blogs' offsite SEO activities. No matter how well you’ve spread keywords, tagged pictures or adjusted your meta description in your post, it has little to no impact on your DA.

All websites with a domain have a DA, Twitter, for example, has 100 as a lot of links are generated which makes the social media tool a highly valuable platform for marketing. The higher a websites’ DA the more valuable it is rated and Google will rank it in top positions. Every time a website with a high DA posts a link to your blog, Google will pick it up and evaluate your content, as the link from the reputable website has a high value - and Google 'trusts' high valuable websites.

For example, the Ben & Jerrys website has a DA of 52. They’ve posted a link to my blog which makes the link super valuable for Google. Not only is Ben & Jerry’s website very reputable, but Google ‘trusts’ the website to link to respective content that is relevant and of quality (and not spam). This link has created a strong pillar in my backlink profile. Getting a link back from a high DA website is, therefore, your goal in order to raise your blogs' DA.

offsite SEO and how to improve DA

Link = Link?

When it comes to DA, you have to build a strong network of links - on your blog and also outside of it. One has to make sure that the links that are generated from other websites to your blog are Do-Follow Links.

Do-Follow Links are quality links that drive and generate traffic and have SEO value. The counterpart are No-Follow Links which have a no-follow attribute in their HTML code. In blogger, when you insert a link in the link option, you can tick a box which adds the no-follow attribute to the link automatically. No-Follow links have no SEO impact and will, therefore, have no influence on your DA nor on your Google ranking.

Oh, and when you share your blogs' URL in your signature when commenting, the URL will always have a No-Follow attribute and won’t influence DA. This is to prevent spam and dodgy ways of increasing DA. Sorry guys, but leaving lots of comments will only provide you with visibility and drive traffic but not increase DA.

How To Increase Your Blogs' DA?

  • Get your domain as early as possible, as domain age is considered by MOZ.
  • Try to get natural Do-Follow links from high DA websites and blogs through posting quality and relevant content. Bloggers do share their favourite posts in weekly roundups and if you have a long history of reliable content creation for reputable brands through collaborations, then ask them to share your blog post on their website. I received a Do-Follow link from a stationery website I’ve worked with that has a DA of 45 and this has massively improved my DA and keeps my backlink profile strong.
  • Guest blog on high DA blogs and make sure the blogger shares a Do-Follow link to your blog, but be careful, a blog that takes money in order to generate Do-Follow links will be penalised by Google. I've linked in the link building guidelines
  • Do-Follow links to your blogs' generic homepage have less influence on DA as links to specific blog posts (this is called deep linking).
  • Make a backlink analysis of your blog and see which websites have shared a link to your blog. Spam websites are penalised by Google and can influence the quality of the link to your blog. In that case, write to the administrator of the website and ask to remove your link from their website. The SEO tool Majestics will give you access to a comprehensive backlink analysis and you can also see which keywords have been used as anchor texts to brand your blog (mine are at the moment predominately Caz, Carolin, Style Lingua. I need to improve this to fashion soon).
  • Interlink on your own blog as this will strengthen the internal structure and make your blog more stable. Interlinking shows Google that there is relevant content on your blog and the more Do-Follow Links you have to your content, the better for your DA. You can do so by sharing round-up posts, start a series or refresh old content. I did so in my recent post Content Ideas For Fashion Bloggers, where I summarised and interlinked (deep linking!) to previous fashion posts.
  • Regularly check all links that have been posted on your blog. This is a lot of work and requires at least a day to work out. I do blog maintenance once a month. I check all links if they are still relevant and working and if they are broken, I update or remove them. A handy, free online tool is BrokenLinkCheck
  • Have a mixture of Do and No-Follow Links but again, be careful when you post Do-Follow Links. Google’s guidelines are super strict and if your blog has an imbalanced link profile of Do and No-Follow Links than you may get penalised for it. 
  • Don't include more than three Do-Follow Links to the same website in one post, as this looks spammy. 

DA improvement through offsite SEO

How Fast Can DA Increase And When Do I See Results?

Depends. MOZ updates are always on the last Saturday of the month. When I started to use my DA, it was during my first week at the new job. I had barely time to post so at first my DA dropped and was super low at 13 (October). 

In the coming weeks, I posted next to nothing. I think I had two or three posts in November but at the end of the month, the DA increased by 3+, so did it in December and my blog was at a DA of 19. So based on that experience, I think the number of posts and how often you publish per month has actually not that much of influence - it is really all down to your backlink profile (the links that are shared by other reputable websites to your blog) and your interlinking.

My blog has hit a DA of 21 this weekend :) 

I’m not an expert and there are other factors that play into MOZ but as far as I have learned through blogging and my work, this is in very short how to influence and grow your DA. I hope I explained it well and you found today’s post useful. Maintaining a blog is hard work, takes a lot of commitment and is so much more than just writing a text and posting some pretty pictures. In the end, keep it natural and don't over-optimise. 

Please let me know in the comment section if you’ve enjoyed today's post and if you have any tips and tricks how to work on your DA, please share your thoughts!

Thanks and till next time, 

Monday, 11 January 2016

My Visit To The OBag Factory in London

O Bag Factory in London Crouch End

Let's face it: most women have a hoarder syndrome and excessively collect either clothes, shoes or jewellery. I'm guilty of it as well and have to confess that I'm obsessed with watches and handbags. Well, you can imagine that the sales after Christmas came in VERY handy for me, as I had my eyes set on the one or other clutch/saddle handbag for a while, so the objects of desire finally moved into my wardrobe (thanks 50% of at Accessorize). 

ASOS further encouraged my hoard, as they offered a Chloe handbag dupe, so that got purchased as well. The best belated Christmas present, however, was a customised shopper from O Bag which I won during Bloggerations Workshop with Penguin.

Here comes the full story: You may remember my Blogging Events - Are They Worth It? Part 2 post a few weeks ago. Lifestyle Blogger Sarah organised a workshop which was held at the OBag Factory store in Crouch End/North London. 

Not only did the brand support the event alongside numerous other sponsors, but they also invited bloggers to take part in a competition. For a chance to win your very own O Bag handbag, you needed to give the brand a mentioning in your round-up post about the workshop. Goes without saying that this was the ideal opportunity for me to get involved and ta-dah, my dream came true and my post WON!

So after Christmas, I made my way over to Crouch End and I got to select my O Bag handbag.

Handbags from the OBag Factory in London
O Bag Factory handbag accessories

The brand has been on my radar for a few months now. Already a massive trend back in its country of origin Italy, they do now slowly conquer the UK. Each handbag is made of a tactile material called 'EVA foam rubber', which is warm, waterproof, lightweight and resilient. This makes the bags' body soft, flexible and adjustable to your daily needs. 

The concept of O Bag is customisation on the next level: from choosing the body size (classic bucket, mini or basket), colour, interchangeable handles to accessories - the combinations are endless and as everybody has a different style, each handbag reflects a unique and special personality.

The day I went back to Crouch End to claim my awesome prize was a relaxed and chilled afternoon after Christmas. When I entered the store, you could tell the festive season had been a busy, yet successful period for the shop as the empty shelves on the one side were restocked with brand new limited editions. The other half of the store had the beautiful classic O Bag on display in all its glory and diversity. Time to get my creative hat on, as it was designing time!

Crafting my own O Bag handbag
O Bag handbag in the making
Me chosing my own O Bag handbag

Most of my handbags at home are either black or brown with a classy shape. This is mainly to play it safe when I put my outfits together. I rarely have anything quirky or massively over the top so when I got announced as the winner of the competition, I spent a good amount of time browsing OBags' range online. 

Virtually, I opted for a nude/grey shade and added simple but timeless leather handles. When I came to the store, however, there was this super chic mini O Bag in cherry red (you'll see it in my very last picture to my right!). I wanted that colour but it hasn't been manufactured in the classic size just yet :(

Anyway, suddenly there was this spark and I no longer wanted a boring dark-coloured shopper, so instead, I got attracted to a quirky bright yellow body. There it was in one corner of the shop sitting happily on the shelf, smiling over to me and I felt attracted to it immediately. The moment felt as magical as when I spotted that amazing sunflower field back in the summer. Since we have winter, it is dark most of the time and everyone is miserable, I thought this is perfect and most importantly the colour is fun. I had to have it! 

With the main body chosen, I went on to select the handles. They were all laid out on a table and the variety ranged from different sizes (long, short), via unusual materials (rope, leather, faux leather) to quirky styles (flat buckle, shoulder straps). I settled for a pair of brown faux-leather handles as they worked well with the bright yellow and underlined the colours of a sunflower. I then moved on and selected a light-coloured linen inner bag. 

All parts were very easy to bring together, as you simply connect them with plastic screw caps. Within seconds, you can literally change the overall look of your bag and have an entirely new style. That's why I added a super soft faux fur with a touch of green which makes my handbag look cosy in winter, whereas in the summer I can take it off and it will be my 'sunflower' handbag (hope that makes sense, I'm so in love with it).

Bright yellow O Bag handbag
Me with my customised O Bag handbag

And here it is, my amazing new O Bag and a happy me. I know the colour is very direct and loud, but as I've said it reminds me of summer and sunflowers, which makes me instantly smiley. This is definitely the most fun and exciting handbag in my collection and I can't wait to take it out soon or to work.

I'd like to thank Sarah from Bloggeration once again for running a fabulous blogger workshop and OBag Factory for selecting me as the winner. I had a great time designing my bag at the store.

Thanks so much for reading, 

Till next time,
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