There are a number of ways to determine the quality and authority of a site. However, Domain Authority is one of the most commonly-used SEO metrics to evaluate a website’s overall caliber.
You can use a website’s DA score in a number of ways. Including to do more effective SEO.
Read on to learn all you need to know about Domain Authority!
What is Domain Authority?
Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking metric developed by Moz that predicts how well a site will rank in the search engine result pages (SERPs). Domain Authority scores range from 1 to 100.
The higher the score, the more likely that the website can be predicted to rank. The number of links and power of links are among the factors used to measure the strength of a website in terms of its DA.
How can I check my Domain Authority?
The HOTH provides a Free Bulk Moz Domain Authority (DA) Checker Tool that you can use to check the domain authority for multiple sites at once.
There are other SEO tools that also provide the DA for a given site.
How is Domain Authority scored?
Moz scores Domain Authority on a logarithmic scale from 1 to 100 points.
The strength of a DA rating increases exponentially on this scale. It’s easier to grow your website’s DA from DA10 to DA20 than it is to grow it from DA80 to DA90.
How is domain authority calculated?
The factors used to calculate a Domain Authority score include the referring root domains and total links pointing to a given website.
Links from other websites are like votes, and the more votes a website receives, the higher that website’s DA.
Not all votes are equal, however. The authority of each linking root domain and the number of individual links can help the ranking strength of the site they are linking to accordingly.
What is a “good” Domain Authority?
Websites that have a large number of external links pointing to them (such as Forbes or Wikipedia) from other high-quality sites are at the top of the Domain Authority authority scale at DA90+.
Smaller websites and businesses that have a lower number of links pointing to them tend to have a lower DA score (for example, DA10-DA30).
A site starting from scratch will have a DA score of one until it manages to attract more inbound links from other websites.
Why is domain authority important?
In general, a higher domain authority corresponds to a better ability to rank.
So while you do want to aim to have a DA for your website in the long run, what matters most in terms of getting your website to rank highly is whether your site’s DA is higher or lower than your competition’s DA scores.
You can use DA to break down the backlink profile of websites that have a higher position in the SERPs and aim for a better/stronger link profile by comparison.
Remember: Having a high DA score isn’t the main goal when it comes to ranking your website.
DA matters most relative to the direct competition you face from other sites that are currently ranking for the terms you’d like your website to rank for.
For example, if the competition for your keyword tends to have a DA in the 30-40 range, then you can aim to have a higher score than those competitors.
How to Increase Domain Authority
To improve your DA, you can build links to your website. Doing so strategically will create a healthy backlink profile that indicates to Google that your website is an authority worthy of ranking higher than the competition.
You can build a natural backlink profile through inbound links to you from an array of websites that have a good number of links themselves.
You can increase your Domain Authority through earning a higher number of high-quality links back to your website. As mentioned above, DA is calculated in part by the number of inbound links and the authority of the websites they originate from.
Links to your website are like votes that tell Google your website is authoritative, trustworthy and worthy of ranking higher in the SERPs. Sites and their pages that get shared and talked about naturally tend to attract backlinks.
You can use a number of link building techniques such as content marketing, blogger outreach, press releases, and social media to increase the number of backlinks pointing to your site. You can learn more about earning backlinks here.
There are best practices you can do that encourage an increase in the number of backlinks pointing to your site (and increase your DA from those inbound links). They include:
- Picking a Relevant Domain Name: An easy-to-remember domain name can help build your brand, but you can also try picking a domain with a niche keyword in it (such as “PetersDryCleaners.com”)
- Optimizing Your On-Page Content: Including title tags, image alt tags, and the content itself, as well as being sure to include variations of your main keywords
- Creating Linkable Content: Publishing high-quality content on a regular basis can help you earn more backlinks that increase your authority
- Improving Your Internal Linking Structure: This helps the user experience of your website by directing people to other content on it while also passing “link juice” around your site
- Removing Bad or Spam Links: Too many links from bad sources can have a detrimental effect; earn more about link relevancy
- Having a Fast Loading and Mobile Friendly Website: Page speed and a mobile site design are two big user experience factors that affect whether someone sticks around on your site.
- Becoming an authority as a brand: Boosting your reputation and authority through great content and an engaged audience will help your site get spread around.
- Posting Content to Social Media: Social signals produced by links to your content on sites like Facebook are a ranking factor, so post your content encourage social sharing.
Is Domain Authority a ranking factor?
There’s no data that Google or other search engines use Domain Authority as a ranking factor. Experiments by other companies in the SEO industry such as Ahrefs have indicated the authority of individual pages has a substantially higher correlation with rankings than the DA of a site as a whole.
Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, has confirmed that they “don’t have anything like a website authority score.” That being said, there’s evidence of Domain Authority influencing rankings indirectly.
Domain Authority is calculated in part by the number of backlinks pointing to a site’s pages. The power caused by backlinks pointing to one page can get passed to another page on the same site by using internal links.
For example, a page that doesn’t have any backlinks pointing to it from external websites may be able to rank higher from internal links from other pages on its domain.
You may sometimes hear the term “link juice” used to describe the practice of power given by one page to another through internal or external links. You can find more details about using links strategically here.
Why does domain authority decrease?
There are a number of factors that could cause your Domain Authority to change including:
- Lost links
- A change to the way Moz calculates Domain Authority
- Other sites gaining links (DA is a relative scale)
Domain Authority vs Page Authority
Page Authority measures the ranking power of individual pages on a website while Domain Authority measures the ranking power of entire domains or subdomains. Page Authority was also developed by Moz.
Keep in mind: When it comes to increasing your DA, increasing the Page Authority of individual pages on your site can help to raise the Domain Authority of your site as a whole.
For example, you could build guest post links to various pages on your website to increase their Page Authority.
Domain Authority vs PageRank
PageRank (PR) is an algorithm created by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to score a page’s importance on a scale from 0 to 10.
The PageRank calculation uses the number and quality of links pointing to a web page to measure its authority. Websites that have a higher number and higher quality of links will have a higher PageRank.
Toolbar Page Rank, as it’s colloquially called, no longer exists as Google stopped publicly updating it.
Like Domain Authority, PageRank is on a logarithmic scale. However, Domain Authority is calculated with a broader range of metrics than PageRank.
Moz uses a similar algorithm to PageRank, MozRank, as one of the factors to calculate DA. Like PageRank, MozRank looks at quantity and quality of linking pages to determine its score.
Domain authority vs Domain Rating
Domain Rating (DR) is metric developed by Ahrefs. Like Domain Authority, Domain Rating evaluates the quality and quantity of links connecting domains. DR doesn’t use the same calculations used by Moz.
Like DA, Domain Rating is frequently updated to allow anyone doing SEO to measure the effects of their SEO and link building efforts.
While these ratings aren’t interchangeable and can differ in their score, you can use them both reliably to assess the quality of a website.
Now you know everything you need to know about Domain Authority.
Anything else you’d like to know about Domain Authority? Anything to add? Leave a comment below!
Clayton Johnson is the CMO of The HOTH SEO company. He has over 8+ years experience in the SEO industry and has spoken at events like SEJ Summit. The HOTH has been featured in Inc 5000, Forbes, SMX, Pubcon, Content Marketing World, Affiliate Summit, Brighton and more.