Why Don’t I Rank Higher On This Search?

When someone searches for a term or phrase using Google or other search engines, how your site ranks in the results depends on both your site content and an overall concept called domain authority, a concept that describes how important your website is in relation to other websites.

Your ability to influence your rank on a specific search is dependent on whether the search term you are targeting is a broad search term like “San Diego News” or “Charlotte Weather” or if its specific to a news topic like “Governor Jones Trial.”

Broad searches rely heavily on domain authority ranking, which is something that must be slowly worked on over time, while more targeted searches for topics or specific news articles can be heavily influenced by following SEO best practices.

Understanding Domain Authority

When returning results for searches, search engines give preference to sites that have lots of other, trustworthy sites linking back to them on a regular basis and sites that follow SEO best practices themselves. Sites that have lots of links and a clean SEO site have high domain authority.

For example, Google and Wikipedia are some of the only sites that get a perfect 100 score on the MOZ domain authority score. Where big news organizations like CNN or the New York times will most likely score in the 90s. The higher your score, the more likely you are to rank high in search results.

Is there a way to see my domain authority rank?

Yes, there are several tools. The most common is the MOZ Open Site Explorer.

How do I improve my domain authority?

There is a fine art to increasing your ‘back links’ or links back to your site. However the primary methods are:

  • Content deals with high-ranking news sources that are willing to share your content links (CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc)
  • Linking out to others in article copy when warranted thus increasing the chances they will link back to you
  • Following all the good SEO writing guidelines so that your content is easily found
  • Having a strong social media strategy that includes linking back to your site and engaging with other content providers
  • Researching your analytics data to see who is already linking to you, so you can develop relationships and encourage ongoing linking

The other major concern for improving your domain authority is making sure your site isn’t doing anything that might flag your site as being untrustworthy. Some common things broadcasters should review include:

  • External link practices: Make sure you do not have a lot of external “sales” links in your navigation. If you do, they should include rel=nofollow code to tell the search engine that you are not ‘endorsing’ this link
  • Quality over quantity: If you are generating a lot of articles with very few ‘back links’ Google will question the quality of your site. It is better to write fewer articles of higher quality than more articles with just a couple lines of text that do not get picked up.
  • Ad best practices: Make sure you follow all ad best practices.

Note: You should understand your domain authority results as well other competitors in your market, to see what they are doing well.

Targeted or Topical Searches

While domain authority will always impact search results, there are other factors that can help you leap-frog competitors with a higher domain rank when it comes to news coverage. These include:

  • Speed to market: Search engines and social media like timely news content. If you’re first, your link can get traction before anyone else.
  • High-quality writing: Writing that adheres to SEO best practices can help you jump ahead of competitors.
  • Social media: Using social media to get other news organizations and content providers to link to your site builds traffic that can translate to better search rankings.