Domain Authority (DA) is a metric that was created by SEO tool creator MOZ in an effort to mimic Google’s defunct PageRank (PR) metric to determine the ranking power of a website.
Domain Authority is one of many third-party measurements provided by SEO tools that aim to measure the ranking potential of a website based on its backlink profile. The authority score system is intended to be used by site owners to measure the link gap that exists between them and their competitors.
In recent years, the term has been confused as a Google Ranking Factor, when in fact the term is solely used by MOZ when measuring websites. Google has denied that there is an official numerical ranking associated with a website.
Well known search engine marketing tools SEMrush and Ahrefs also have their own measurement systems known as ‘Domain Score’ and ‘Domain Rating’ respectively. These rating systems also provide webmasters with a tool for measuring domain ranking capacity.
While Google does not take any notice of Domain Authority, there is (in many cases) a positive correlation between Google rankings and higher DA scores.
How Is Domain Authority Measured?
Domain Authority is measured on a scale of 100. The higher a website DA score, the more likely the website is to rank in SERPs for competitive terms. For instance, a website with a Domain Authority of 50 is much more likely to rank for competitive search terms than a website with a DA of less than 20.
The DA ranking of a website is said to be constructed from a selection of the 200 different factors that Google uses in its ranking algorithm. Following the demise of Google PageRank in 2016, Domain Authority has become the most popular way for SEOs to track the ranking power of a domain.
What is a good Domain Authority?
While domain authority is not used by google to determine how websites will rank in SERPs, there is a strong correlation between high DA and high rankings. Sites with a very large quantity of inbound links (think: Facebook, Wikipedia, Quora) are at the very top of the Domain Authority scale, whereas smaller websites and businesses have a much lower DA score.
All websites will start with a DA of 1. While there is no official guide for scoring a good DA, the following list provides an indication:
0-10 – New Website
10-20 – Established Website
20-40 – Popular website with solid traffic, links and social share profile
40-60 – Popular Website with a lot of traffic and links
60-100 – Authoritative website with very strong ranking power
How Can I View Domain Authority?
Domain authority metrics are incorporated into multiple online marketing and SEM tools across the web.
For those with a subscription to Moz, Domain Authority can be accessed through Link Explorer. If you don’t have a subscription to Moz, you can sign up for a free account which gives you unlimited access to the MozBar which shows Domain Authority, Page Authority and Meta Data for any page on the web.
Can Domain Authority Go Down?
While it is common that websites will improve their DA over time as the link profile develops, new content is added and the domain is aged, it is also possible that it will go down. Blackhat SEO or a Google Penalty that lead to a reduction in traffic can harm the DA of a website.
How Can I Increase Domain Authority?
There is no way to directly influence the domain authority of a website. Moz measures Domain Authority based on a combination of different metrics including link profile, domain history, on-page factors, and other link data.
The goal should not be to increase domain authority, instead, the goal should be to improve on-site SEO and off-site SEO to increase SERP rankings. Focussing on the most important aspects of SEO will naturally increase your DA as a by-product.
Why Won’t My DA Change?
Tracking the progress of your website through DA can be filled with confusion and frustration. While Domain Authority is a useful measure of a website, there are too many external influences for it to ever be considered “reliable”. If your DA score isn’t improving at the rate that you are expecting, there are a number of factors that could be influencing it:
Your links are not being indexed and therefore not impacting your DA
You have acquired low quality or nofollow links that are not improving your link profile
Moz has changed the way that it crawls sites
High-authority websites have experienced substantial growth which is skewing the scaling process across the board.
TLDR? Here’s what you really need to know.
What is Domain Authority? DA is a proprietary term used by the web marketing company MOZ to assess the ranking power of a domain.
How Can I Improve my DA? Practice good on-site and off-site SEO and the DA of your website will naturally increase.
Does Google Value DA? Not really. Google does not look at the DA of a website when determining SERP rankings. There is, however, a strong correlation between sites with a high DA and strong search engine rankings.
Is DA Important? Yes and no. DA is an arbitrary ranking system that can indicate the ranking power of a website. Good rankings and traffic for relevant keywords is the most important thing.