What Is Domain Authority In SEO?
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
There are hundreds of factors that influence the success of Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, and one of them is Domain Authority. But, what is Domain Authority in SEO? Well, in this article, we will explain what Domain Authority is, how it is calculated and how you can use it to increase the success of your website.
What Is Domain Authority In SEO?
Put simply, every website has a Domain Authority, or DA, score on a scale of 0 to 100, which is a measurement of how authoritative a website is. The higher your domain authority score, the more ‘ranking power’ your website has and the easier it can rank for more competitive keywords in search results.
Every website begins with a Domain Authority score of 0, and the ultimate aim for any business or individual using SEO is to get their Domain Authority score to increase. The higher your Domain Authority is, the more likely you are to rank highly on Google.
Domain Authority VS Page Rank
Domain Authority is not actually an official measurement from Google. It was created by Moz, which is one of the worlds leading SEO tools and is used by SEOs as a replacement for Page Rank.
Page Rank is the official measurement of website authority, created and used by Google in their own algorithm. It works in the same way as Domain Authority, on a scale of 0-100, and is calculated by the number and quality of backlinks pointing to a domain.
As Google made Page Rank numbers public, it gave website owners insider information on how Google was perceiving their site and allowed marketers to shortcut their way to the top of the search results. Unfortunately, this also led to a lot of spam and black-hat SEO techniques coming about which eventually led to Google removing Page Rank scores from public view in 2016.
You can read more about the death of Page Rank here in this article: RIP Google PageRank Score.
Although Google still uses Page Rank in their algorithm, SEOs went on the hunt for an alternative way to measure the authority of a domain, once Google kept their scores behind closed doors. This led to all the top SEO tools creating their own versions, including:
- Moz: Domain Authority (DA)
- SEMrush: Domain Score (DS) and Trust Score (TS)
- Majestic: Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF)
- Ahrefs: URL Rating (UR) and Domain Rating (DR)
- SEO Powersuite: InLink Rank (IR)
Although each SEO tool’s scoring system is helpful and a useful way of measuring the authority of a website, Moz’s Domain Authority, or DA score, has become known as the closest method to that of Google’s own Page Rank system. This is why many link building and outreach experts will use Domain Authority as their preferred way of calculating the ‘power’ of a domain prospect.
How Can I Find Out My Website’s Domain Authority?
You can find out your website’s Domain Authority – and respective Page Authority, which shows the authority of a given page on your website – online, and there are many free platforms and plugins that allow you to do this. One of the most popular tools is Moz’s own Link Explorer.
Using tools like Link Explorer, you can also see how many other websites link to your own, known as ‘backlinks’, as well as their own Domain Authority score. And, as Domain Authority values pass from one website to another through backlinks, you can also find out how worthwhile it is to get links from a particular prospect website.
For example, if you’re looking to get your link featured on another website, you can calculate how valuable this would be to your own Domain Authority by seeing the value of their own score. If their Domain Authority is higher than yours, obtaining a backlink from them could help you increase your own.
How Can I Increase My Domain Authority?
Increasing your Domain Authority score is not an easy thing to achieve – it takes a long time and a lot of patience. This is because there are so many factors at play and as a result, you have to be continuously working on your website and marketing to ensure you are meeting the criteria and guidelines set out by Google.
However, despite there being many factors that can influence Domain Authority, the most impactful is backlinks. As Domain Authority is mainly calculated by the number and quality of referring backlinks to the domain in question, building an online marketing strategy that includes the regular increase of backlinks will help your score to increase.
There are many different techniques that you can use to increase the number of backlinks to your website. But, the first place to start is with your content. Think about it, if you link out to another website, you would do so because that page or website has something of value to your own audience. The content is probably well written, in-depth and interesting to your readers.
The same would apply to your own content if you want others to link to you. So, you need to start by producing linkable content on your website – i.e. content that is original, unique and of interest. Then, once you have that content, you can’t just expect people to find it. So, get out there and start promoting it and in time, you will find that people will start linking to it.
You need to ensure your backlink profile remains natural through a good diversity of different links, each being relevant and of good value. Spammy or links from low-quality websites should be monitored and removed if needed. And, as long as you are getting websites with a higher Domain Authority than your own to link to you, you stand a good chance of increasing your own score in time.
For more information on how link building works and some top techniques, you can use to increase your backlink profile, see our article on how does link building help SEO.
One thing that I do want to point out is that you should never be worried if your Domain Authority is not as high as you want it to be. Although increasing your score is a good indication that your website and online marketing is moving in the right direction, it is certainly nothing to become obsessed about.
This is especially true if your website is new. New websites will take many years to increase their Domain Authority – I have seen some websites take in excess of 10 years to get a really healthy score, which is why SEO is a long-term investment.
Ultimately, the main thing to remember about Domain Authority in SEO is that the scale is logarithmic. What this means is that it’s pretty easy to go from 0 to 20, but a little more difficult to go from 20 to 40, and so on.
If you would like more information on Domain Authority or advice on how you can increase your own score, leave me a comment below and I will come back to you.