What Is Domain Authority & Why Does It Matter?

February 7th, 2019 by Shelby Emens

Computer screen displaying domain authority metrics at Search Influence in New Orleans, LA

Your website has been live for some time. You’re past the development stage, so now you’re starting to think about the nitty gritty side of its performance. What does Google think of your content? Are your pages valuable? Why is your site ranking below competitors in search results?

Your website’s domain authority score can help answer these questions and provide valuable insight. But what exactly is domain authority and how can you utilize it to grow the number of visitors to your site?

What Is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority (DA) is a score given to your domain based on an algorithm developed by the SEO company, Moz. It is a projected numerical value of how well a site will rank in search engine results. The algorithm to determine Domain Authority takes into consideration link profiles (a list of all your website’s backlinks), content quality, SEO best practices, and more. Just as Google and other search engines must measure various front and back-end site features when fetching up search results, DA scoring tools also take numerous factors into consideration.

But, what is a good domain authority score? Domain authority is relative—there is no ideal DA score. Ultimately, you want your authority to be higher than that of your competitors. There is so much variation in search results that it would be difficult to say a higher DA will lead to better results versus a competitor; however, it is a good indicator that you are utilizing sound digital marketing techniques and providing high-quality content for your industry.

Additionally, there are tools that measure domain authority using different metrics than Moz, such as Ahrefs or SEMRush. In many cases, the DA measured by these tools is significantly different on a 1-100 scale and varies from tool to tool. Measuring DA requires a degree of relativity to the other results within that tool. Google claims it does not acknowledge or recognize domain authority score when serving up search results. The score is just an estimation based on several different factors of how well you will rank. As is common in the digital marketing industry, Moz announced a recent update to their process. They will release changes to their Domain Authority score calculations in early March. Algorithm changes can impact your score because it may change what Moz thinks is valuable about your domain. While the things being calculated in these scores may not directly correspond to how search engines are ranking your pages, there is still value in knowing your domain score.

How Do I Check for Domain Authority?

Now that you understand a little bit more about what a domain authority score is, how do you find yours? There are several tools available that provide you with your score and how your score ranks up among your competitors.

Ahrefs

This effective tool can provide extensive information about your domain’s authority score, as well as other insights into how your score is being calculated. With a paid subscription, you can see your DA score along with other statistics, like the number of healthy backlinks you have and how your organic traffic is doing. It will even show you how many points your score has gone up or down on a daily basis if there are any changes.

Moz

The originator of the DA score, Moz, offers a free Chrome extension, MozBar, to measure your Domain Authority. Subscription to a Moz Pro account gives you access to SEO campaign monitoring, as well as tools that can help increase your Domain Authority score overall.

SEMRush

Another leader in SEO tools for sites, SEMRush is a great option when monitoring your domain authority. Not only does it allow you to keep up with your DA score, but you can also use it to complete competitive research between you and your competitors.

These are just a few of the top tools you can use, but you may still be wondering why you should even bother checking your domain authority.

Domain authority metrics displayed across three laptop screens at Search Influence in New Orleans, LA

Why Does My Domain Authority Matter?

Knowing your DA score can help improve your overall domain value in search engines. Having a higher DA means that you are predicted to be higher in the search results than domains with a lower score. It can be a good benchmark on your site’s SEO and the value of information present on your site. If you have a lower domain score compared to your competitors, then it might be time to start searching for strategies to increase your score.

How Do I Increase My Domain Authority?

Since so many factors go into the calculation of your DA, there are a variety of areas you can focus on. Here are some of the few more valuable points:

Building Strong Backlinks

Backlinks are arguably one of the most important contributors to high domain authority. What we are talking about here are quality backlinks. For a quick refresher of backlinks and their value, check out our previous blog post. Backlinks coming from other sites with high authorities shows that you are also a reliable source of valuable content and information. By acquiring a multitude of quality backlinks, you are in turn raising your own authority. This also has the opposite effect if you acquire backlinks that are not high quality. It is important to note that Moz has updated their algorithm to devalue purchased links. In the past, people have tried selling links from sites that claim to have high domain authorities to sites looking to boost their own domain authority. However, this will no longer be beneficial; in fact, it could be harmful to a site’s domain authority. Getting backlinks from sites that can be considered spammy in turn tell the algorithms that your site might be spammy as well. It is crucial to your site’s health to disavow bad backlinks in Google Search Console with this tool.

Having Useful and Valuable Content

People use search engines to find information; so, if your website provides valuable content that answers people’s questions or provides them with the knowledge they are looking for, your authority will be higher. A valuable threshold for content quality is Google’s E.A.T. guidelines—expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness—so make sure your content hits these marks.

Using Overall SEO Best Practices

Engaging in Search Engine Optimization makes your content—therefore, your site—more easily accessible and reliable to search engines’ algorithms. Your site is more likely to have a higher domain score and display higher in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) if your content is more accessible to search engines. Learning more about SEO best practices and how to implement them can not only be immensely beneficial for your domain authority but also for your site’s traffic overall.

All in all, even if Google doesn’t calculate the domain authority of a site, it can still be a powerful estimation of how meaningful and reliable Google thinks the content on your site is. If you have a higher score than your competitors, then likelihood of you outranking them in the SERPs is pretty high. Working to increase your site’s DA authority can have plenty of positive SEO benefits. Still feel confused or overwhelmed? Request a free analysis from Search Influence to see how we can monitor your domain authority and help steadily increase it with a customized SEO strategy for your business.

Images:

Computer Screen With Metrics