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What Is Domain Authority In SEO?

Published on 28 July 2023 - Updated on 18 September 2023

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What is domain authority, and why is it important?

Domain authority, often referred to as DA, is a metric developed by Moz. The scores range from 1 to 100 and aims to predict how likely a website is to appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

When discussing domain authority, it’s important to note that it isn’t a ranking factor. In other words, Google doesn’t use it to decide how high a website appears in search results. However, domain authority is still an important metric. These scores provide a good insight into how likely a website is to rank, with a website sporting a lower domain authority less likely to appear in results than one with a higher domain authority. So, while DA isn’t a measurement that can directly improve rankings, it does allow current performance to be assessed and compared to competitors – which is why it’s so useful in SEO. 

How can you check your domain authority?

Moz lets users keep an eye on their domain authority, through platforms such as the Moz Link Explorer, Domain Analysis tool, the MozBar and Keyword Explorer. One of the biggest benefits of Moz is that it offers free-to-use tools for checking domain authority; however, you’ll also find domain authority information incorporated into many other platforms.

In fact it’s worth noting that, while Moz first developed the metric, other SEO tools use their own domain authority scores as well. Alternatives include the highly reliable Domain Ratings provided by Ahrefs (which our team recommends!) Ahrefs uses more detailed and extensive backlink data than other tools in order to determine domain ratings, and is more accurate as a result. 

How is domain authority scored?

Domain authority is scored from 1 to 100, with higher numbers indicating more authority (and ultimately a greater probability of appearing higher up in the SERPs). In order to calculate a domain authority score, SEO platform Moz evaluates a number of different factors, consolidating this information into a single score that gives a real insight into a site’s current standing. 

The factors that make up a DA score include the number of linking root domains (how many separate links are redirecting traffic to the site in question), as well as the number of total links to the site. By evaluating these figures and comparing them to those of competitors, Moz can calculate a figure which predicts how well that site is likely to rank on search engines. 

What Is A Good Domain Authority?

In general, sites with an enormous number of high-quality external links, like Wikipedia and Encyclopedia, usually sit at the very top of the domain authority scale. However, small websites with fewer inbound links have a much lower DA score. New websites always start with a DA score of 1.

But here’s the thing:

DA score is a predictor of your site’s ranking ability, but having the highest possible score shouldn’t be your goal.

Instead, make comparisons with the DA scores of your direct competitors. The top website in your niche may only have a DA score of forty-two. Scoring a number close to that would be a “good” domain score, and your goal should be to do better.

Why did my domain authority change?

While we all want to see those domain authority scores shooting upwards, they can unfortunately move in both directions. Not only are domain authority scores relative, but they are recalculated regularly to ensure their accuracy. When this happens they can either increase or decrease. 

If your domain authority has improved, it’s likely down to the hard work you’ve been putting in. Moz is continually crawling the internet,allowing it to take note of changes to backlink profiles (whether for better or for worse) and adjusts DA  accordingly. 

With approximately two billion websites now being hosted online, there’s a chance of your website’s DA score may be impacted by a competitor’s. As mentioned earlier, domain authority is a relative metric. This means if a high-scoring website (like Google or Facebook) sees a big growth in links, this can impact scores all the way down the scale. 

There are other reasons why domain authority can move in the wrong direction, too. Sometimes this occurs when a site has lost backlinks, has links to spam or malicious websites or has broken links. Moz also continuously updates how domain authority is determined so a decrease in score may be a sign that newer content and links from relevant, higher quality sites are needed. 

How to increase your domain authority

There are many tips and tricks that you can use to increase your domain authority, and it starts with having a good strategy in place. 

Building domain authority relies on a website having backlinks. However, rather than focussing on the quantity of links, the key is to prioritise the quality. A single backlink from a high-authority, relevant domain is ultimately worth more than ten backlinks from an irrelevant one.

Gaining high-authority backlinks is also made a lot easier once you have good quality content in place. Think carefully about content and start creating the content you know your audience wants to see. Forget keyword stuffing, instead write well-structured, web-friendly content with punchy headings that’ll pique the interest of your target audience. Older content can also be repurposed and updated with fresh data and a new angle that can recapture interest. 

Competitors are a good source of inspiration for both content and link building. Competitor websites can provide insights into your own strategy, highlighting gaps that should be addressed in order to increase your website’s visibility. 

These are just some of the SEO tips that you can use to help increase your domain authority. To find out more about how you could use SEO to get your site ranking higher, talk to us

How to use domain authority in an SEO campaign

Before you embark on an SEO campaign, it’s always worth thinking first about what you’d like your campaign to achieve, and what the best possible results would look like for you. To do so, you’ll need real and measurable targets.

There are several metrics which can be helpful in measuring the success of an SEO campaign. Domain authority is one of them. This simple, yet highly valuable score will provide a good level of insight into how well your SEO link building efforts are working. 

For instance, if a piece of content created as part of a campaign gets linked to by various authoritative sources, domain authority is likely to increase.

Outside of link building campaigns, domain authority can be used in conjunction with other SEO metrics such as organic traffic, keyword ranking scores and click-through rates to provide a more holistic view of marketing performance. 

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