TL;DR

  • Domain authority is a composite score between 0 and 100 representing the website’s relevance for a specific subject or industry.
  • You can check a site’s DA on Moz’s Link Explorer, SEMrush, or Ahrefs.
  • DA increases with high-quality inbound and outbound linking, rich and plentiful content clusters, and optimized SEO.

What is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority (DA) is a metric pioneered by Moz, and since adapted by many other SEO tools, that estimates the chances of a website's ability to rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). 

Domain Authority (also sometimes named Domain Rating) is a composite score, fluctuating between 0 and 100. The number represents the website’s relevance for a specific subject or industry. A higher score represents a stronger likelihood of clinching higher SERP rankings. 

Websites boasting higher DA scores are generally perceived as more authoritative, reliable, and are statistically more likely to rank prominently on search engines like Google. Please note that DA is not a metric that Google has created or endorsed, but instead is a rough guide (provided by various SEO tools) to estimate the authority of a website. In fact, some SEOs believe that tracking and analyzing DA can even be detrimental to one’s strategy because it focuses too much on a metric that is not a Google ranking factor and focuses on only a portion of the SEO equation.

The Mechanics Behind Domain Authority's Calculation

Moz didn’t conjure the DA score from thin air. The metric is the culmination of multiple indicators such as the number of linking root domains, the aggregate of inbound and outbound links, the MozRank, and MozTrust, among many others. With the integration of machine learning, Moz continually refines its model to ensure the DA score mirrors the evolving search ranking factors as closely as possible.

Elements Steering Domain Authority

  • Link Profile: A robust link profile enriched with high-quality inbound links is pivotal in shaping DA.
  • MozRank: This metric encapsulates link popularity, and it's inherently dependent on the volume and quality of links routed to your website.
  • MozTrust: A litmus test for your domain's credibility, it evaluates the caliber of websites linking back to you.
  • Content Quality: Rich, authentic, and engaging content isn't merely a preference but a mandate. It enhances user engagement and search engine perception.
  • SEO Mastery: The adeptness in deploying SEO techniques, especially on-page optimization, can turbocharge DA scores.

What Constitutes a Strong Domain Authority Score? 

While a score north of 50 is generally perceived as robust and anything exceeding 70 is stellar, it's crucial to interpret DA in context. Instead of viewing it in isolation, juxtapose it against competitors or peers in the same industry.

How to Track Domain Authority 

Knowledge is power, especially when it pertains to Domain Authority. Keeping a close eye on your DA score can facilitate strategic decision-making to fine-tune your SEO blueprint.

Tools of the Trade: Domain Authority Trackers 

The digital marketplace boasts a plethora of tools adept at gauging Domain Authority:

  • Moz's Link Explorer: The progenitor of DA analysis, this tool offers granular insights encompassing backlinks and the corresponding DA score.
  • SEMrush: Renowned for its comprehensive SEO analytics, SEMrush also offers insights on DA.
  • Ahrefs: Though it employs a Domain Rating (DR) metric, the insights garnered can parallel and complement DA analysis. Note, it is not uncommon to see differences between a website’s DA and DR ratings. While both are estimated scores of a website’s authority, tools use different methods for measuring it. Instead of comparing the two, it's important to analyze the two separately to see the impact of your SEO strategy on growing either one.

The Optimal Frequency for Domain Authority Checks 

Given that DA doesn't experience tumultuous daily upheavals, it's pragmatic to assess it on a quarterly basis. This cadence ensures that one can spot and act upon any pivotal shifts triggered by SEO tactics or external dynamics, while also avoiding the overanalysis of a metric that only shows macro trajectories.

How to Increase Domain Authority 

The Backlink-DA Nexus 

The symbiotic relationship between backlinks and DA is undeniable. Yet, the emphasis should be on quality over sheer volume. A handful of links from credible, high-authority sources outweigh countless subpar links. Quality backlinks come from websites that have a high DA themselves, but SEOs’ quality standards shouldn’t stop at the DA of linking websites. Authority isn’t something that marketers should “hack”. Instead, approach authority from a content, brand, PR, and backlinking perspective. As your brand grows, so will your domain authority.

Domain Authority vs. Page Authority

It's crucial to distinguish between Domain Authority (an entire website's ranking potential) and Page Authority (the ranking potential of individual pages). While they share foundational similarities, they cater to different facets of a website's digital footprint.

  • Scope: DA provides a macro view, spanning an entire domain, while PA offers a micro perspective, targeting specific pages.
  • Purpose: DA paints a holistic picture of a website's standing in SERPs. In contrast, PA offers granular insights, focusing on the ranking prospects of individual pages.
  • Metrics: Both scores are steered by link profiles, but PA can be more reactive to changes on specific pages, given its narrow focus.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Domain Authority stands as a testament to a website's credibility, strength, and ranking potential in the digital arena. It's more than just a metric; it's a compass directing stakeholders to strategic decisions that can enhance their online visibility and reputation.

FAQ

How quickly can Domain Authority change?

While slight fluctuations can occur, significant changes in DA typically manifest over more extended periods. It's a compound metric influenced by many factors. Also of note, as a website becomes more authoritative, it enters new realms of competition. It’s possible that quicker fluctuations can take place from, for example, a website with a DA of 20 to a DA of 30. As the DA increases, changes will likely slow down.

Is a higher Domain Authority always better?

Generally, a higher DA indicates better potential for ranking. However, it's crucial to view DA in the context of your niche and relative to competitors.

Can I directly influence my Domain Authority?

Directly? No. But by improving your site's overall SEO, creating quality content, and earning high-quality backlinks, you can positively influence your DA over time.

What exactly is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority (DA) is a score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). It ranges from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating greater potential to rank.

How is Domain Authority different from Page Authority?

While Domain Authority gauges the ranking potential of an entire website, Page Authority focuses on the ranking potential of individual pages.

Why should I care about my website's Domain Authority?

A higher DA suggests your website has a better chance of ranking higher on search engines, potentially leading to more traffic and business opportunities.

Is Domain Authority a Google ranking factor?

No, Google does not use Domain Authority in its algorithm. DA is a metric developed by Moz to predict ranking potential based on various factors.

How can I increase my Domain Authority score?

Improving overall SEO practices, earning high-quality backlinks, producing quality content, and ensuring a mobile-responsive design can contribute to a higher DA.

How often is Domain Authority updated?

Moz updates Domain Authority on a monthly basis, but individual scores might not change with every update.

Is it better to have a higher Domain Authority score, even if my business is niche?

While a higher DA is generally favorable, it's essential to compare your DA with competitors in your specific niche. A niche business might have a lower DA than a broader one but still be authoritative in its sector.

Are there other metrics similar to Domain Authority?

Yes, other SEO tools have their own versions of DA. For instance, Ahrefs uses Domain Rating (DR) and SEMrush employs Authority Score.

Can a new website have a high Domain Authority?

Typically, newer websites start with a lower DA. However, if they quickly earn high-quality backlinks and produce exceptional content, they can see growth in their DA score.

How do I check my website's Domain Authority?

You can use Moz's Link Explorer or other SEO tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to check your website's DA.