Domain Authority (DA) Definition

Domain Authority (DA) is a comparative SEO metric by, rated on a 0-100 scale, that measures the size and link strength of a domain.

Making your website shine brighter in the online world is no easy challenge. With tons of websites out there, how do you even compete? Surprisingly, a high DA score helps you stand out! It's like being the star quarterback on the school football team - it gets you noticed!

More than 40 factors can play a role in your DA score. Key among them are inbound links - places on the internet that show a link to your website.

What Are the Basics of Domain Authority?

Domain Authority shows how likely a website is to get a good spot on search engine pages. Scores can range from one to 100. So, if a website has a high score, this means it's likely to show up higher in searches.

The factors that play into this score are pretty simple. The more high-quality links you have to your site, the better your score. These links are called "linking root domains." To see a strong uptick in your score, try including various links from well-known sources.

Moz Link Explorer

Now, I need to let you know something; your score here can change. Moz, the company that handles Domain Authority, likes to keep its standards up-to-date. They use top-tier learning programs that get tweaked regularly. So, one week, you might see your score climb, and the next, it might dip, even if you didn't do anything to cause it. Feels kind of like a roller coaster ride, right?

One of the causes of this score roller coaster is the fact that even though Domain Authority can tell you how likely you are to show up higher in searches, Google cares about more than just your score. They're also paying attention to your keywords and how relevant your site is to a searcher's needs.

Okay, you're following me so far, right? I want to talk about this other feature of the score called "logarithmic scale." This basically means that boosting your score from 20 to 30 is way easier than bumping it from 70 to 80. Keep in mind that getting a score of 100 is a beast of a task. Even some of the top websites struggle to hit that mark. Many features work this same way, like Ahrefs' UR and DR scores.

So, here's the deal. If you want to master Domain Authority, you have to know a couple of things. You need to be aware of your linking root domains and how many links you have. You need to understand that your score can change. You also need to keep in mind that your score doesn't guarantee you a good spot on Google's search pages. And keep in mind that whole logarithmic scale thing? It means that as your score gets higher, it's gonna get tougher to keep pushing it up. Most important in all of this is to keep in mind that your score is more of a helper than a decision-maker.

It also helps to know the Moz Spam Score signals, which we wrote a post about here.

Does Google Use Domain Authority?

Do you know that the Domain Authority (DA) score by Moz is often misunderstood? It's true:

People think it plays a big part in how Google ranks websites. But that's really not the case.

Don't get me wrong, Domain Authority can be really helpful. It's like a health check for your website. It shares a lot about your site's standing in your specific field over time. But Google's algorithms, the systems it uses to rank websites, don't actually think about DA.

You might be thinking of DA as the top score in a game. But it doesn't work like that. Google's ranking systems aren't a game you can win with high DA points. They look at lots of things to rank sites, and DA isn't one of them.

So this can explain a tricky point. Why do some sites with high DA get lower rankings, and others with low DA come up higher in search results? Because Google's not using DA to rank sites!

The real value of DA comes in when you compare websites. It gives you an idea of where you stand within your industry against your competitors. It doesn't directly influence your site's position on Google's search results.

Moz DA History

Now, you might ask, if DA isn't the key to Google's ranking, what is? Well, there are a few big players: the quality of your content, the use of the right keywords, and providing a great user experience. Just think about what Google wants: they're all about organizing the world's info in ways that help people and are easy for everyone to use.

I've spent years working in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and I've seen many get confused about DA. The truth is this: DA is a guideline, not the rule of Google's search results. It's like a compass guiding you in the right direction, not a perfect map. A high DA score doesn't always mean a top Google ranking!

So, next time you're thinking about Google's rankings, don't get too hung up on DA. Focus instead on the things that really matter: great quality content, useful keywords, and an awesome website experience for your users.

Domain Authority vs Other SEO Authority Metrics

Let's keep things simple. SEO tools are really important. Top of the list includes Domain Authority (DA) by MozAuthority Score from SEMrush, and Domain Rating (DR) from Ahref.

  • Moz gives you the DA score. How? It uses a smart model that involves more than 40 signals found in search data. This gives a score anywhere from 1 to 100. The score shows how likely a website is to rank on search engine results pages or SERPs. More high-quality backlinks usually mean a higher DA score.
  • SEMrush calculates its Authority Score in a slightly different way. It uses backlink data like Moz but adds in some other factors, too. It looks into how users behave on the site - things like how long they stay and how quickly they leave. The score it gives ranges from 1 to 100, just like Moz.
  • Now, Ahref's Domain Rating is a bit different. It mostly cares about backlinks. It looks at how many there are and how good they are. This gives a score that goes from 0 to 100. Ahref doesn't really concern itself with what's on the page or how users behave there.

So, DA, Authority Score, and DR are all metrics. They help us understand how well a website is performing based on different measures. At the same time, DA takes a big-picture view using a wide range of data. SEMrush, on the other hand, looks into user behavior for its unique slant. Ahref focuses squarely on backlinks, offering a specialized but still unique method.

Ahrefs Site Explorer

Then there's the question of which one's the best. Isn't it funny? The answer really depends on how you do SEO. It could depend on whether you focus more on getting backlinks, engaging users, or a mix of both. Based on your strategy, you'll see which metric suits your goals best.

It's important to keep in mind that these are just tools. They highlight areas for improvement. They're not the final say-so as to how search engines judge websites. The goal is to balance all aspects of SEO. Each metric, in its own way, gives valuable insight. As for an anecdote, I once saw a site with a low DA score rank well; it's all about the balance, I guess!

How is Domain Authority Calculated?

It's all about what we call 'linking root domains.' And what does this mean? These are different websites that have links pointing to your website. Even if a single website has many links pointing your way, it only counts as one linking root domain. So, the more unique websites link to yours, the better your DA score gets!

But are all links the same? No way! Some are more valuable than others. Think about it like this. Would you rather get a compliment from a stranger or from someone you look up to a lot? I once received praise from a famous author, and Keep in mind, it meant a whole lot more! It's the same with links. Links coming from a website with a high DA score are much more valuable than links from a low-scoring site. So, a link from a site with a DA score of 80 beats a link from a site scoring 20.

Moz Top Pages Section

Let's also not forget about other website features. How old the website is, how popular it is, and how much content it has — all these aspects matter. Keep in mind – websites that have been around for some time have lots of content, and many visitors typically have better DA scores.

Is a DA score permanent? Nope! It keeps changing. Every time Moz updates their numbers, your DA score could change, too. Plus, the online world keeps changing every day, and this also influences your score. If you want your DA to grow, you can't just flip a switch. You've got to commit to it and keep at it, bit by bit, link by link. It's kind of like building a house - you can't do it overnight, but with time and effort, you can create something amazing!

How to Check Your Domain Authority

To check your DA, you'll have to use Link Explorer straight from Moz.

Give your website address to this tool, and it spits out a thorough report with your DA, a score that tells how well your site has built links with others. And if you scored high, that means you've done a great job! If not, well, you may need the help of our link earning service. Moz Analysis

But what if your DA score is low? You don't have to worry too much. Keep in mind that this score is about comparing how your site might perform in search engine results against other websites. It's not a sprint but more of a marathon that can see improvements with it.

I'd like to make it clear that it's both what you do on your site and how it links with others that will affect your DA. You can boost your site's DA by creating top-notch content, getting strong links from other websites, polishing your on-page content, speeding up how fast your site loads, and making sure it looks good on smartphones, too!

Again, we don't want to get too hung up on having the best DA score. Yes, it's helpful to draw comparisons and understand where we stand against our competition, but it's not the golden ticket to the top of the search results. At the end of your hard work, your focus should always be on developing great content and making sure your visitors have an easy time navigating your site. Do you know why? Because these are what truly help your site gain credibility!