Content
1. What is Domain Authority

What is Domain Authority

Let us understand the meaning of Domain Authority. Domain Authority is a score given by Moz to qualitatively evaluate the probability of ranking on search engine result pages. It is an automated number generated by using complex machine learning algorithms by evaluating different RELEVANT websites on the internet which are pointing to that site.

Domain Authority infographic

Note: While considering a Higher DA for Website X than Y, the assumption is all the websites point to X and Y have similar DA/relevance.

The above image illustrates how a website with more links pointing to website X has a higher Domain authority compared to Website Y which has few websites pointing to it. While calculating Domain Authority, one important factor is Relevance. In the figure above, its assumed that A,B,C and D have similar DA and relevance to Website X and similarly, E & F have a similar DA and relevance to Y. Had there been a case, where Website E or F has a pretty higher DA like a wikipedia or a forbes, there would have been chances that Website Y could have a higher DA than X. So it’s not a volume game !! It’s a qualitative and a quantitative game.

Domain authority

DO NOT get confused between this score and ranking factor by search engines like google. This is just a score given by Moz and not a recognised ranking factor by any search engine. This is only a prediction/probability score given by Moz to determine the probability of a website to rank on search engine results pages. A higher domain authority has higher probability to rank higher on SERP. So every marketer should track DA but not consider it a ranking factor. Let’s understand this with an example

Lets go to google and search for the query: “What is Domain Authority”. Below are the top 6 results on the 1st page of Google.

DA

Now let’s create a table with Domain authorities of all these domains

Position Website Domain Authority
1 moz 91
2 bigcommerce 92
3 hubspot 93
4 searchenginejournal 89
5 wikipedia 98
6 digitaluncut 33

Notice how Domain Authorities vary with rankings. The top position is occupied by moz, the company that created Domain Authority. Obviously, google will rank it on the top. So no matter how much Domain Authority the rest of the websites have, the rest of the websites also recognize moz as the Domain Authority creator. So google will always rank moz highest on SERP. SO Moz might have lesser domain authority(91) compared to wikipedia(98), it still ranks higher because of the content and authority it has on the topic- ”Domain Authority”.

Also notice below how a website with a DA of 33 ranks in the 6th position. Though the Domain Authority is just 33, it ranks just below wikipedia which has a DA of 98.

 

DA

This is a really good example on Content plays a pivotal role in rankings. This webpage might have really good content which makes it ranks next to wikipedia.
Notice 2 things from this example

  • First 5 positions are occupied by websites with DAs which are in their 80s and 90s.
  • A website which has a DA 33 can still rank in top 6, considering that DA is considerably lower. Content takes a higher priority than any other score.
Learnings:
  • Always focus on qualitative, well-researched content.
  • Focus on increasing DA by getting links from highly authoritative sites relevant to your industry

How can you check domain authority

Domain Authority can be checked by using Moz. Moz gives an option to check upto 3 domains per day for free. Post that it prompts you to become a pro customer to continue using this option.

As a workaround, you can also install Moz Chrome extension and utilize this tool to check Domain Authority for free.

Different SEO tools use different parameters to come up with a number to allocate to websites. Like Domain Authority, ahrefs has a number called Domain Ranking. This number is different from Domain Authority. In the below image, you’ll see wikipedia has a DR of 96 as per ahrefs, as compared to moz which gives wikipedia a DA of 98.

DA

How to increase/improve Domain Authority

The only way to increase Domain authority is via earning links from highly relevant sites. This comes under link building activities under Off-page SEO where you dedicate some bandwidth only in getting backlinks from relevant websites. 

  1. Invest in getting your website listed on good quality directories and classifieds
  2. Spend time generating images and infographics which can be used to upload on some kick-ass image sharing websites.
  3. Invest in PR activities
  4. Collaborate with highly relevant websites for a link exchange/guest posts.

Link Building is a time intensive activity which yields good results over time.

Increase in Domain Authority is non-linear. Once it reaches a certain number, it becomes harder and harder to get incremental benefits in DA. Below is an example which illustrates just that.

Domain Authority vs Time

Domain Authority can increase/decrease/remain stagnant over time depending on how aggressive your link building strategy is. Even if you are aggressive but fetch links from bad authority websites, your DA can take a downturn. Please be very careful on how you are building your link building strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Domain authority is a metric maintained by which firm

Domain Authority is a metric maintained by Moz

2. What is a good domain authority

There is nothing as such called a good domain authority. Domain Authority is a comparative metric. Always compare it with your toughest competition. If your competition has a DA of 68, then anywhere in the 60s would be a good DA to compete with your competition for all relevant competing keywords.

3. Domain ranking vs Domain authority

Domain Ranking is a score measured by ahrefs whereas Domain Authority is maintained by Moz. You can easily login to either of the websites to find out DA/DR for any website.

4. Is a domain authority of 30 good?

30 means your website is not brand new but you have a decent start to your link building strategy. Compare it with your biggest competition in your niche. If that website has a DA of 90, then you have a long way to go and a DA of 30 is not too great. 

5. What is the difference between Page authority and Domain Authority

Page Authority is a score to measure the health of a webpage, whereas Domain authority is a score to measure the entire website. Feel free to drop in your comments below to ask any questions about Domain Authority. I will reply to the comments within 48 hours.
91656d06-5a09-437e-9fe3-9c03d28b2bb3

Anurag

9+ years as a digital nomad, Anurag is on a mission to travel the world and fund it using SEO and content marketing

Share this article
Subscribe for weekly updates