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What is Domain Authority? SEO Metric or Ranking Factor?

Domain Authority (DA) has become a vital concept in the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It serves as a crucial metric that determines the overall strength and authority of a website in relation to its search engine rankings. In this blog post, we will ask, what is Domain Authority? exploring its significance and the practical implications for your website and your rankings.


Domain Authority (DA) has become a vital concept in the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It serves as a crucial metric that determines the overall strength and authority of a website in relation to its search engine rankings. If you’re aiming to optimize your website, improve search visibility and search traffic, understanding Domain Authority is essential.

In this blog post, we will ask, what is Domain Authority? exploring its significance and the practical implications for your website and your rankings. If you run a small business, sell products or services, and you have a website, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and strategies needed to increase Domain Authority effectively.

First, let’s define what Domain Authority is. Developed by Moz, a leading SEO software company, Domain Authority is a numerical score from 1 to 100. It reflects the overall reputation and authority of a domain, with higher scores indicating stronger and more influential websites. While Domain Authority is not a metric used by Google directly, it offers an accurate indication into how well a website is likely to perform in search engine result pages (SERPs).

Why is Domain Authority important? Well, search engines like Google consider various factors when determining the ranking positions of websites, and links for other websites play a significant role in this process. Websites with higher DA have better chances of ranking higher in search engine results because it measures the quantity and quality of those links.

What is Domain Authority SEO Metric or Ranking Factor

How is Domain Authority calculated?

Domain Authority is calculated using a complex algorithm developed by the team at Moz. It takes into account several factors related to a website’s link profile. While the exact details of the algorithm remain a secret, we can explore the key aspects that influence DA.

Quality & Quantity of Inbound Links

The fundamental component of Domain Authority is the quality and quantity of links pointing to a website. Inbound links, also known as backlinks, are links from other websites that direct users to your site. The algorithm considers both the number of backlinks and the quality of those links.

The quality of backlinks is crucial for Domain Authority. Quality backlinks come from reputable and authoritative websites that have themselves established a high domain authority score. A backlink from a well-known industry leader or an influential website also carries more weight than a link from a lesser-known or low-authority source.

While quality is important, the quantity of backlinks also plays a role in determining Domain Authority. Generally, the more backlinks a website has, the higher its Domain Authority is likely to be. However, keep in mind that it’s not just about sheer numbers but also the quality of those links.

Relevance & Authority of Linking Root Domains

In addition to the quality and quantity of backlinks, Domain Authority measures the relevance and authority of the linking root domains.

The relevance of the referring domains is assessed based on their relationship to the content and niche of your website. When reputable websites within your industry link to your site, it indicates to Google that your content is valuable and relevant. Therefore, acquiring backlinks from websites that are topically aligned with your own can positively impact your site’s Domain Authority.

The authority of the linking domains is determined by their own Domain Authority scores. When high-authority websites link to your site, it signals to Google that your website is trustworthy and reliable. Such authoritative endorsements can significantly enhance your Domain Authority.

Link Profile Diversity & Natural Link Acquisition

A diverse link profile and natural link acquisition are important factors in calculating Domain Authority. Google’s aims is to ensure that a website’s link profile is natural and organic, rather than being manipulated. The DA score reflects this.

A diverse link profile contains backlinks from a variety of sources; different domains, different websites, and even types of links, editorial links, or directory links for example. Google values organic link acquisition over manipulative or artificial practices. Natural link acquisition; engaging in ethical link-building practices and creating high-quality content that naturally attracts links can positively impact your Domain Authority.

Moz Domain Authority Example

Why DA is Important to Your Business

DA is a crucial metric for businesses looking to establish a strong online presence and drive search traffic. It helps enhance search engine rankings, increasing visibility and attracting valuable traffic. Moreover, a high Domain Authority establishes credibility and trust, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.

By improving Domain Authority, through link building and content optimization, businesses can elevate search engine rankings, boost organic traffic, and build credibility among their target audience. Prioritizing Domain Authority as part of an SEO strategy is key to long-term business growth.

Is DA a Ranking Factor?

Domain Authority is not directly a ranking factor used by Google. It is a metric that provides an estimate of a website’s authority and potential to rank well in search engine result pages (SERPs). While DA is not used by Google itself, it is widely used and recognized within the SEO community as an indicator of a website’s overall strength and authority.

Search engines consider a multitude of factors when determining rankings, including the relevance and quality of content, user experience, on-page optimization, and many other elements. While DA does not directly influence rankings, it is widely accepted that Google does calculate the quality and quantity of links, and that this is a large part of their ranking algorithm.

What is Page Rank?

PageRank is a search engine ranking score algorithm developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google. It was named after Larry Page and is one of the foundational elements of Google’s search algorithm. PageRank aims to measure the importance or relevance of web pages by analysing the link structure of the web.

PageRank works by calculating a numerical score for each web page based on the quantity and quality of linking domains. The score ranges from 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest. The score is logarithmic, meaning it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve higher scores as the scale progresses. Pages with higher PageRank scores are considered more authoritative and may have better chances of ranking higher in search results. This similar to how DA works today.

It’s important to note that while PageRank was a prominent factor in Google’s early search algorithm, it has evolved over time, and Google now uses a more complex and sophisticated set of algorithms to determine search rankings. PageRank is still relevant and considered in Google’s ranking process, but it is just one of many factors that influence search results today.

What does Google Say about Domain Authority?

In 2020, John Mueller, head of search at Google, received a question about DA on Twitter. Someone asked if backlinks from high domain authority websites matter in rankings. His response:

“We don’t use domain authority at all in our algorithms.”

This answer was typical of Google’s public stance on DA. Unlike the ones before, this answer hints at a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.

“I don’t know if I’d call it authority like that, but we do have some metrics that are more on a site level, some metrics that are more on a page level, and some of those site-wide level metrics might kind of map into similar things.”

Small Business SEO

How can I increase my Domain Authority?

A Domain Authority score is a crucial metric that can significantly impact your website’s search engine rankings and overall online visibility. While improving Domain Authority takes time and effort, implementing effective strategies can help enhance your website’s authority.

Strategies for Acquiring High-Quality Backlinks

Backlinks from reputable and authoritative websites play a vital role in boosting Domain Authority. Consider the following tactics to acquire high-quality backlinks:

Guest blogging

Writing and publishing content for authoritative websites in your niche, and including a link back to your site. This takes a lot of time and effort (maybe money too) but can be a hugely valuable tactic for improving your Domain Authority score.

Influencer collaborations

Build relationships with influencers and industry experts who can link to your website. This can involve payment, but will always involve producing high quality content first.

Content promotion

Actively promote your high-quality content through outreach to relevant websites and influencers, increasing the likelihood of acquiring backlinks. Usually via email, tell people about your content and why their readers might find it useful.

Conducting a Link Audit & Removing Bad Links

A link audit assesses your website’s existing backlinks to identify and remove any low-quality or toxic links. Tools like Moz’s Link Explorer or Google Search Console can help you analyse your link profile. Removing bad links (spam, gambling etc.) helps improve the overall quality and reputation of your backlink profile, positively impacting your Domain Authority.

Publish Great Content

Creating high-quality, shareable content is essential for attracting natural backlinks and increasing your website’s authority. Focus on producing well-researched, informative, and engaging content that appeals to your target audience. Incorporate relevant keywords naturally, optimise on-page elements, and ensure your content provides a unique perspective or value that sets it apart from competitors.

At FutureProof Digital we specialise in SEO Copywriting, and its importance of good SEO copy cannot be overstated. Not only does it play a vital role in improving your website’s rankings and increasing your online visibility, but it also directly impacts your conversion rates. In other words, good website copy can make or break your online presence. Contact us for more information…

Link Outreach

Actively reach out to relevant websites and influencers to showcase your content and request backlinks. Personalised outreach emails that highlight the value your content brings to their audience can increase the likelihood of receiving backlinks. Building genuine relationships with others in your industry can also lead to natural link opportunities.

What is Domain Authority SEO Metric or Ranking Factor 3

Why did my Domain Authority change?

Domain Authority (DA) changes over time due to several factors. The primary reason for fluctuations in DA is the dynamic nature of the web, where new websites emerge, existing websites gain or lose backlinks, and search engines update their algorithms. As the link landscape evolves and new data is incorporated, the relative authority of a website compared to others can shift, resulting in changes to its Domain Authority.

Additionally, improvements or setbacks in a website’s backlink profile, content quality, user engagement, and overall SEO efforts can impact its authority and, consequently, its DA score. It is crucial for website owners to continuously work on their website’s authority and implement effective SEO strategies to maintain or improve their Domain Authority over time.

Domain Authority vs. Page Authority

Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) are two metrics developed by Moz that measure the strength and authority of a domain and individual web pages, respectively. While both metrics are calculated using similar factors; link quality, quantity, and relevance, they have different scopes. Domain Authority provides an overall assessment of a website’s authority, taking into account the cumulative strength of all its pages and the quality of its backlink profile. On the other hand, Page Authority focuses on evaluating the authority of a specific page on a website. While DA is useful for assessing the potential ranking power of an entire domain, page authority is more targeted and provides insights into the specific authority of a single page.

What's Your Site's Domain Authority Score?

Tools for Measuring DA

Several tools, such as Moz’s Link Explorer, SEMrush, and Ahrefs, can measure Domain Authority (others call it Domain Rating) and provide insights into your website’s authority. Utilise these tools to track and analyse your DA score and make informed decisions to improve your website’s performance.

Good & Bad Domain Authority Scores

Good and bad Domain Authority scores range from 1-100 depending on the industry, competition, and specific goals of a website. Generally, a good Domain Authority score is considered to be around 50 or above, indicating a strong online presence, high-quality backlink profile, and potential for better search engine rankings. However, it’s important to note that DA is a relative metric, and what constitutes a good score may differ based on the specific context. A low score, on the Domain Authority scale, typically below 20, may suggest a newer or less established website, limited backlink profile, or lower authority compared to competitors.

Time to Start Work on your DA

Understanding and knowing how to increase Domain Authority is essential for businesses who want to succeed online. While DA is not a direct ranking factor used by search engines, it serves as a valuable metric for assessing a website’s authority and potential to rank well. By focusing on strategies to acquire high-quality backlinks, conducting link audits, publishing great content, and engaging in link outreach, businesses can gradually increase their Domain Authority and improve their search engine rankings.

Remember that achieving a good Domain Authority score is a long-term process that requires consistent effort and a comprehensive SEO strategy. By prioritising Domain Authority and investing in its growth, you can enhance their online presence, attract organic traffic, and establish yourself as a trusted and authoritative source in your industry.


About Adam Bermingham
This blog is dedicated to helping you stay ahead of the curve, with insights into the latest trends, tools, and best practices. Whether you’re a business owner, marketer, or web designer, we have something for everyone. We bring you expert advice, tutorials, and case studies to help you optimise your online presence.

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