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How to improve the Domain Authority for my WordPress website (what are DA factors?)

Ongoing live Case Study
January to December 2022

Written by Nadin Thomson

Started 12 Jan 2022

How to improve the Domain Authority for my WordPress website (what are DA factors?)

2022 Goals:

MOZ DA: 20

Backlinks: 100

Keywords: 500

The Koolya website is relatively new and in 2021 I didn’t do any link building. I started writing blog posts and building a small community on Facebook and Instagram.

For 2022, I want to focus on link building and increase my Domain Rating / Domain Authority.

What is domain authority (what are DA factors)?

This is a number value (usually between 0 and 100) and the higher the number is the higher the authority of your domain.

Your domain authority is a metric that was first developed my Moz and allows you to guess / estimate how well your website’s domain would rank in comparison to your online competitors.

In a nutshell, the domain authority takes your link portfolio into account, i.e. the quantity and quality of links from other websites linking to your website. 

Current Koolya.com figures

11 Jan 2021 Ahrefs

12 Jan 2021, Ahrefs, Moz



12 Jan 2021, Google Search Console

Google Search Console:

11 Dec 21 - 10 Jan 22

My SMART Goals for Koolya for 2022 (12-month project)

The SMART acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

  • Specific: DA 20, Linking Root Domains: 100, Ranking Keywords: 500
  • Measurable: As measured in MOZ and AHREFs (professional SEO software)
  • Achievable: yes
  • Realistic: yes
  • Timely: By Dec 2022 (i.e. over 12 months!)

How do I increase my domain authority?

The plan is to gather backlinks from other high quality and relevant websites, keep writing blog posts and promoting content.

Sounds super simple… but this will take time.

Step 1 - Keyword Research

In this step, I decide which keywords I want to be found for. Because currently the Domain Authority is VERY low, I know I need to aim “lower” and look for keywords that are not so difficult to rank for.

I have found topics that are not covered well by the competition and I will now create blog posts for them which include these keywords.

Step 2 - Decide which blog articles I will write

In this step I will categorise the keywords I have found into possible blog articles. So far I have found keywords for 5 possible blog posts.

I will aim to write a blog post every 10 days or so.

These posts are then published on my website as well as promoted on Social Media and my newsletter.

Step 3 - Promote Blog posts

The blog posts will then be promoted through Social Media and my newsletter.

Step 4 - Link Building, Guest Blogging

In this step I contact website owners to place a link to my website. This is either through guest blog posts or by asking them to link to my website. This works through relationship building with the website owners.

Step 5 - Keyword Research

Over time, my DA will increase and this will then allow me to aim at more competitive keywords. In May or June (or when my DA is 15 – whichever is earlier) I will repeat the keyword research step and find more blog opportunities.

Who will work on this project?

Just me – Nadin! For this project, I will undertake the work myself. I will write the blogs, promote them and work on link building too.

So there’s no team in the background I will delegate anything to for this project.

This is to demonstrate that one person can absolutely do this!

SEO Activity log:

2021 Submitted to Google Search Console

  • The Koolya Sitemap was submitted to the Google Search Console in 2021
  • Several blog posts were added to the website

12 Jan 2022

  • Sitemap submitted to Bing (5 minutes)
  • Used the Citation Builder on Brightlocal so that website is submitted to online business directories (cost: 90 USD for 25 citations) (15 minutes)

13 Jan 2022 Ahrefs Report

14 Jan 2022 Ahrefs Report

Checking today’s figures – as you can see this is not a linear process. I dropped a point on the DR in Ahrefs and a few numbers in the Ahrefs rank. But with more work, this will go up again.

17 Jan 2022 Ahrefs Report

18 Jan 2022 Link Added

Link added to local business directory. Website domain rating of their website: 28.

19 Jan 2022 Link Added

I am currently thinking about all the organisations I am a member off and if they allow a link to my website. I just added the Koolya website to one of the organisations and they have a DR of 39. So that should hopefully make a little impact too.

24 Jan 2022 Blog Post Added

I researched a topic that I can potentially rank for with my currently very low domain rating. I have published the article on my blog about Best Places for Divi Training (WordPress theme training).

28 Jan 2022 Guest Blog Post Written & Submitted

I searched in Google for:

Small Business “Write for us”

and wrote two guest blog post for a different website and submitted it. Fingers crossed they will accept it.

1 Feb 2022 Moz Report

Moz is now showing 2 more linking root domains. 

7 Feb 2022 Ahrefs Report

Ahrefs DR has gone up 2 points.


11 Feb 2022 Moz Report

Moz Domain Authority has gone up by 1 point.

11 Feb 2022 Google Search Console

Google Search Console – 11 Jan 22 – 10 Feb 22

11 Jan 22 - 10 Feb 22

Monthly Summaries – 11 Jan onwards

Here are the results of the first month of SEO on the Koolya.com website. Every tool has got slightly different names for similar things. The efforts are slowly paying off and an increase can be seen in all three tools.


AHREF DR Backlinks Organic KW
11 Jan 22 6 55 30
11 Feb 22 9 66 34
11 Mar 22 9 58 112
11 Apr 22 10 63 198
11 May 22 9 67 316
3 Aug 22 8 74 601
13 Sep 22 11 80 746
11 Nov 22 11 68 594


MOZ DA Linking Root domains Ranking Keywords
11 Jan 22 9 34 7
11 Feb 22 10 37 8
11 Mar 22 10 37 5
11 Apr 22 11 39 5
11 May 22 10 41 49
3 Aug 22 11 49 51
13 Sep 22 11 48 59
11 Nov 22 11 50 136

Google Search Console (always look at the last 30 days)

GSC Total Clicks Total Impressions Average CTR Average Position
11 Jan 22 23 1,160 2% 40.6
11 Feb 22 39 1,490 2.6% 43.2
11 Mar 22 55 3,210 1.7% 48.7
11 Apr 22 165 8,620 1.9% 46.4
11 May 22 112 14,100 0.8% 51
11 Jun 22 91 19,300 0.5% 51.2
12 Jul 22 89 26,000 0.3% 53.1
13 Sep 22 154 30,800 0.5% 51.5
12 Oct 22 270 59,600 0.5% 48.3
11 Nov 22 285 65,400 0.4% 47.2


Google Search Console Graph

2nd month activities on Koolya.com (11 Feb – 10 Mar 22)

11 Feb 22 - Live Case Study published

I started this ongoing live case study on 11 January 2022. I wanted to show you my activities to improve the SEO on the Koolya.com website. 

11 Feb 22 - New Blog Post published

I just published a new blog post about how to learn SEO. After extensive keyword research I found a few keywords I can rank for with my currently low domain authority. 

We will find out if Google picks up my article on how to learn SEO online for beginners.

14 Feb 22 - Moz Update

Moz has finally moved the needle to DA 10! 

15 Feb 22 - Working on E.A.T.

E.A.T. stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness.

When you publish content on your website, Google looks at the authority you have on a certain topic.

Here’s what I did today:

  • I added my university business degree, my postgraduate diploma in digital marketing (achieved in 2021) and my Google Analytics Advanced Course certificates to the About page.
  • I added an Author Bio below each blog post which confirms my experience in the area of web development and SEO. You can scroll down on this page to see what I added. I also added a link to LinkedIn to the bio section.

23 Feb 22 - Improving existing blog articles

Today I improved a few existing blog articles. I made sure they have the same format as this one (same width etc.), use the image in the correct size, added ALT tags etc.

Total time spent: 90 minutes.

27 Feb 22 - Google Search Console Impact after improving blog articles

Google Search console Impact after improving existing blog articles

1 Mar 22 - Ahrefs Report

As you can see in the below graphic, keywords are improving and the number of keywords has started to increase for Koolya. The rankings are still low, but it’s a good start.

7 Mar 22 - Google Search Console Check

Today I checked in GSC which keywords are on page 2 in Google. I simply filtered the keywords my website already ranks for and looked at the keywords that are in position 10-15ish.

google Search Console check for keywords

This then highlighted that people are searching for Free vs Paid email advice and I have a blog post about that.

I then ran the blog post through Marketmuse to improve the number of keywords in it. I will check again in a few days if this has made a difference to the position of the keywords.

Time spent today: 30 min


7 Mar 22 - Addition of new blog post about website product photos

I started writing the Ultimate Guide about product photos for your website about 2 weeks ago. I had spent maybe an hour on this before today. But I wanted to complete this as several people had asked me about this.

I probably spent a total of 8 hours on this blog post. Writing it was quick, but adding images and videos took me another 4 or 5 hours. But now I have a good source and I can even expand it in the future.


7 Mar 22 - Improved existing blog post Website Builder Price Comparison

I checked another one of my existing blog posts and amended a few things and included more keywords while keeping it readable. 

This is the one about website builder price comparison

Time spent: 30 minutes.

8 Mar 22 - Improved existing blog

I worked another 3 hours on the Ultimate Photo Guide today and added even more information about the correct use of images on your website.

Time spent: 3 hours.

8 Mar 22 - Celebrating small wins

Just got this email from Google that in the last 28 days I had 50 people click on on the Koolya website in the Google Search Results. It’s small, but it’s a step in the right direction!

Google Search Console Click Throughs in the last 28 days 

9 Mar 22 - Ahrefs Report - Keywords increasing

Even though the DR is down by one point (it will fluctuate over time), the keywords are promising. The blogging definitely helps.

Ahrefs report

The report confirms that my work on the Free vs Paid email blog post had an immediate impact on the keywords my website is indexed for now.

Ahrefs keywords report

9 Mar 22 - Updated existing blog post

I spent an hour today updating the existing blog post: Website builder price comparison.

3rd month activities on Koolya.com (11 Mar – 10 Apr 22)

16 Mar 22 - Google 1st page with blog post

Quite a few people asked me if you actually have a chance to rank in Google on Page 1 if you are in a very competitive market.

The answer to this is: yes, absolutely!

Check this out:

  • I wrote this blog article about Paid vs Free email accounts about 3-4 years ago.
  • It was never meant to for SEO purposes but for my web design clients who were using Gmail as their main business email account.
  • I optimised this article (A LOT) and today it was ranking in position 3 in Google!

Koolya’s domain authority is quite low at the moment still and I pusheed away Tech Radar which is a massive tech website website with a very high domain authority.

Conclusion: With good content and good SEO you can totally climb to page 1 in Google!!

Google Page 1 Free vs Paid Email

23 Mar 22 - Blog Contribution accepted

I get the HARO requests twice a day. HARO stands for Help A Report Out. Journalists use the platform to “crowdsource” knowledge when writing articles for blogs or newspapers or other publications. Get yourself a free account and start replying. 

Not every reply you send will be used in a blog inclusion, but you’ve got to be in it to win it…

One of my replies was used and got me a backlink to Koolya from a website with a domain authority of 60+

25 Mar 22 - Ahrefs Report

My Domain Rating has been up and down like a Jo-Jo in the last few days, so it’s good to see it “recovering” a little. 

28 Mar 22 - Moz Report

Finally Moz has moved the needle – the DA is now 11! Super happy.

20220328 MOZ

29 Mar 22 - HARO

I replied to two HARO requests today for the possible inclusion in their blog articles.

29 Mar 22 - Updated existing blog post

Today I updated an existing blog post (learn SEO online) and included more keywords and improved it generally.

Time spent: 20 mins

30 Mar 22 - Updated existing blog post

Today I updated an existing blog post (SSL benefits for SEO) and included more keywords and improved it generally.

Time spent: 20 minutes

28 Apr 22 - Moz Check

4th month activities on Koolya.com (11 Apr – 10 May 22)

Due to holidays abroad and other family events, I was “super lazy” on the Koolya website in April and didn’t spend much time on SEO. This sometimes happens – especially when it’s just yourself in the business!

So onwards and upwards for the next month!

5th month activities on Koolya.com (12 May – 11 June 22)

Back to the drawing board this month. 3 blog posts – that’s the plan! Time-consuming, but it makes ALL the difference!

The first blog post is How to get started with SEO – a Beginners Guide. It didn’t take me too long to write it, but the graphics were the time-consuming bit!

13 May 22 - New Blog Post added - How to get started with SEO

I just published a new blog post – how to get started with SEO – which explains the building blocks for your website in terms of SEO.

Time: 6 hours.

23 May 22 - MOZ Update

Moz is finally taking notice and updated the Domain Authority, Linking Root Domains and Ranking Keywords.

1 June 22 - MOZ Update

Until last month, MOZ was still showing a very high spam score for the Koolya website (52%). They have now re-evaluated and the spam score is only 1% which is fantastic.


3 Aug 22 - MOZ & Ahrefs Update

Summer & holidays got in the way of working on the website. But back int he seat now!

It’s good to see that Moz.com has now acknowledged that my website is not spammy. In Jan 2022, the Spam Score was 52%, now it’s 1%.

Ahrefs is definitely finding more keywords on the Koolya website and the backlinks are growing too.

3 Aug 22 - Blog Update

I am running a quick trial on trying to “move” a few search results from page 2 in Google to page 1.

  • I have updated 3 blog posts today.
  • All three rank on page 2 in Google and have a lot of monthly searches.
  • Additional text was added to each blog post.
  • Time spent: 45 minutes

16 Aug 22 - Blog Update

  • I have updated one of my blog posts today.
  • Time spent: 10 minutes.

16 Aug 22 - Ahrefs Update

25 Oct 22 - Update

9 Nov 22 - New Blog Article

 Finally added a new blog article to the website discussing website conversion rates.

Time spent: 3 hours.

11 Nov 22 - Update

Nadin Thomson

Nadin Thomson started developing websites in 1999 as a hobby and started her business as a web developer in 2004. She has 18+ years of experience in helping businesses of all sizes to create an online presence and improve their website. She's also worked as a photographer in Scotland for 15+ years. The majority of her customers found Nadin through Google as she's continually optimised her website for SEO.

Nadin Thomson has a University Business degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Marketing.

Find out more about Nadin Thomson.