Domain Authority: what it is and why it matters for your SEO

Posted by Abby Pearson on 13/07/17 14:10
Abby Pearson
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Domain Authority, or DA, is a metric that was created by Moz, one of the leading SEO solutions companies that provides software and tools to help businesses boost their search engine optimisation.

Here's a quick explainer for everything you need to know about it.

What is Domain Authority?

In brief, Domain Authority predicts a website's performance in Google search by giving it a score that can be used to compare the site against others.

The lowest Domain Authority of a website is 1 (all new sites start with this) and it goes up to 100, with the most authoritative websites like Wikipedia and Facebook having the highest numbers.

Overall, it is a score that gives a good indication of a website's authority and how likely it is to rank in the search engines.

How is DA calculated?

Moz uses a wide range of factors to come up with each website's Domain Authority score. However, as with many factors relating to SEO solutions, off-page links play a major role.

For example, part of the DA is calculated based on the number and quality of linking root domains (these are the different websites that link to your site).

However, over 40 other factors are also taken into account according to Moz, which includes other scores like MozRank (Moz's own version of Google's PageRank) and MozTrust (this measures the trustworthiness of backlink sources).

It combines all of these into one single score, the Domain Authority, that you can then use to compare websites.

How the scoring works

Domain Authority works on a 100-point scale where higher numbers show greater authority.

However, it is also a logarithmic scale, so it gets harder to increase your score the higher it gets. For example, it is far easier to increase your score from 1-10 than it is from 60 to 80.

If you start working on your SEO solutions to improve your rankings, you should see your DA start to increase over time. How much it increases is not only directly related to how many links you build, however, because DA takes other factors into account.

What this means is that if other websites also improve their SEO at the same time as you do, your DA might remain the same even though you have built many authoritative links in a certain time period.

How should you use Domain Authority?

There are a number of ways you might use Domain Authority. At its most basic, it provides you with an overview of how your website is performing so you can keep an eye on it as you work on your SEO solutions.

SEO solutions

If your DA starts to improve, you know you're doing something right.

However, you can also use Domain Authority to compare other websites for link-building purposes. For example, if you want to build links to a new resource you have published on your site, you may want to limit your outreach to websites with a higher Domain Authority.

By quickly checking the websites you are interested in building links from, you can pinpoint which ones you want to target first.

What you should not do is use DA as a definitive score. Instead, use it to compare your site, or the sites you want to build links from, with others.

Is DA the same as Page Authority?

Domain Authority is not the same as Page Authority. While Domain Authority measures the whole domain, Page Authority measures the authority of individual pages, which can vary throughout the website.

How to increase your Domain Authority

The most important concern for most website owners when it comes to the DA is how to increase it.

However, the answer to this is not that simple. DA is not something you can directly increase or influence because it is an aggregate of metrics that all have an impact on it.

Having said that, improving your SEO is a good way to improve your DA, especially when it comes to your site's link profile.

A stronger link profile will influence MozTrust and MozRank, and these will affect the DA of your site. So continue your efforts to build links from authority websites.

However, be aware that your DA may not change directly according to your SEO activities. For example, you may build a number of links over the space of a month yet see your DA stay the same.

One reason for this is that the DA of websites linking to yours might have gone up or down. Alternatively, the Mozscape index may not have included your most recent links.

But because DA displays how your website compares to other sites in terms of its overall authority, it may be that other websites have increased their own links in the same period, so your work is not reflected in your DA – even though your site is better optimized because of the links you built.

Use Domain Authority to help with your SEO

If you are focused on inbound marketing to drive leads and sales, SEO solutions are a big part of this. When you carry out link building and other SEO activities, keep a close eye on your DA because it can help you to build better links and it will give you a good idea of whether you are on the right track with your SEO.

Download our guide to inbound marketing to see how domain authority works together with inbound marketing...

Guide to Inbound Marketing

Topics: SEO