Domain Authority is a score from 1 to 100 that predicts any given domain’s ability to rank well in search results. Coined by Moz and measured by their internal systems, it analyses the overall health and performance potential of a website.
In theory, the higher the score, the better the authority of that domain (your root URL). Factors like domain age, size and popularity are used to calculate the score.
The Flaws in Domain Authority
Your domain authority is a combination of three factors: MozRank, MozTrust and your Link Profile. If you know our stance on backlinks, then you’ll understand why we’re wary about the legitimacy of Domain Authority and it’s practical applications to measure your real success.
You need to think of your DA as a score on a standardised test – there are a number of checkboxes, some worth more than others. The more checkboxes you get, the closer you get to a score of 100%. However, that doesn’t reflect how your site will actually perform when directly up against your competitors, nor how your site will really be perceived by human readers. All it does is tell you how well you scored on a standardised test!
While the higher scores are harder to reach and sites achieving them certainly deserve them, it doesn’t place any factor on the relevance of content in search results – just how ‘healthy’ the overall site is perceived to be.
The Correlation between Domain Authority and Rankings
When it comes to Google, Moz’s Domain Authority score is not a recognized metric of Google’s Algorithm. Google uses over 200 signals across each page to rank your content against similar content across the web. While some factors may overlap between DA & Google, the best way to get your blog ranked in Google is to follow Google’s guidelines!
Google has placed a significantly reduced level of influence on backlinks recently, and considering that not only is most of the advice to improve your Domain Authority based on link building but the actual score focuses on backlinks, there is a disjoint between the intent of DA, and what it actually measures – leaving it as an outdated metric.
Domain Authority does not measure your potential to rank for specific keywords, nor even your strength in a specific niche or field. Your DA score also isn’t a comparison – it’s simply your result out of /100 on a ‘checklist’. In no way does it compare you to your competitors, which is exactly what Google does. There is no evidence to suggest DA measures & compares marketwide – it simply analyses the URL you plug in at that exact moment.
Improving your overall SEO and tidying up your site will help increase the authority of your content as well as improving the user experience on your blog – two things Google LOVES. And hey, it’s a nice bonus if SEO improves your Domain Authority along the way!
Domain Authority VS PageRank
If you’re concerned about your DA score for Google’s sake, you can shake those worries off right now. Domain Authority measures the perceived strength of your URL – as in bloggersseo.com and ALL the content on our site, as a whole. Google however, ranks individual posts and pages on their relevance and usefulness to a specific searched term.
Domain Authority predicts how your blog as a whole will perform in ‘search results’. DA doesn’t take into account the individual strength of each and every page & post on your blog and the individual relevance to your target keywords – which is exactly what Google does.
So in theory, DA is irrelevant in SEO. DA is based on improving your site quality and authority as a whole, and gives you an indication of how much work there is left to do. SEO is based on improving the performance of each post or page, so it ranks well and is easily found by readers who desperately want what you have to offer. While some SEO improvements are felt site-wide (such as changing hosting companies or site audits), the measurable impact comes down to how those changes affect individual page performance.
When Does DA Matter?
When it comes to the general running of your blog, there may be a time when Domain Authority comes into play – say if you’re going for a guest posting or influencer opportunity.
While we’d strongly recommend anyone relying on Domain Authority to evaluate business opportunities to reconsider, we know that a lot of companies are unsure what metrics really matter to the success of their partnership. Instead, they choose a trending buzzword that may not be the best indicator of performance in the real world – hence why DA is still so strongly present in the industry.
Other than that, DA is just a number. While it may be a helpful indicator to track & monitor your progress, in the larger scheme of things it is meaningless. DA doesn’t convey directly to proven results – EG a DA of 90+ doesn’t guarantee you a #1 ranking. You may happen to rank #1 because of the improvements you’ve made to your site that have also improved your DA but remember: it’s correlation, not causation.
Focus on metrics that deliver tangible and meaningful results for your blog – more on that below!
How Can I Improve My Domain Authority?
If you’re serious about improving your DA, I can only say this: make improvements for your readers, that happen to also influence your DA. Below are a few methods you can use to improve your DA – with a twist from what you’ll see elsewhere!
- Improve your SEO: the important takeaway here is that your Domain Authority score is designed to predict your performance in search rankings. While there are a few problems with the overall system (see above), if it’s based on SEO, then the best thing to do is, well, improve your SEO!!
- Create amazing content: great content is essential to building a devoted & engaged audience and improving your overall SEO.
- Evaluate your links: this is by no means encouraging you to build backlinks. Instead, use Search Console to take stock of sites linking back to you – are there any unhealthy or malicious sites linking to you? These could be harming Google’s perception of your site (and your DA score).
Proceed with Caution
Domain Authority is not as easily influenced as page rankings is with SEO, and can quickly become a sore point for many bloggers who become focused on achieving a great DA score – losing sight of truly relevant results along the way. We recommend focusing on issues like improving site health, building your networks and creating great content that is going to have a meaningful effect on the experience readers have on your blog, and in turn your rankings.
Ask yourself this: “If it wasn’t for my Domain Authority score, would I be doing this? Is it something that will greatly impact the experience readers have on my blog or my key metrics, or am I doing it simply to boost my score?”
When it comes to making any improvements designed to increase DA, they’re often things you should already be doing to improve the SEO & user experience of your blog. Which is really all just about helping humans out anyway!
Don’t think of improving your Domain Authority as a standalone improvement and goal – consider it a byproduct of simply creating a great blog.
Will A Low Domain Authority Score Impact Opportunities?
If you’ve been approached for or are seeking out a new opportunity and are worried that a low DA score will see you miss out, consider everything you’ve already created and how it all comes together to create your blog’s true strengths.
Consider other aspects of your blog’s success, and relay these statistics to external parties – this is particularly useful if the content is going to be hosted on your blog – after all, it’s your readers and you know how to serve them best!
Utilising Your Strengths
Below are some of the most useful stats to convey your blog’s growth:
- Your Google Analytics data: Give a summary of your recent statistics (traffic to your site, time on site etc). Compare this data to the same period last year to show your real growth. Actual people coming to your site & interacting with your content, rather than a technical score. Even when it comes to SEO and Google’s PageRank, a strong brand can see your blog achieve amazing results, regardless of any current technical setbacks.
If you’re new to blogging, compare data over the last few months – you’d be surprised at how much you’ve already grown!
- Email Marketing: Have you spent forever building a stable email list & delivering great content? Don’t forget to leverage the success of your email list – how engaged are your readers? Are they actively reading your content & clicking through to your content?
- Social Media: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube… chances are you’ve got at least one account for these, plus the hundreds of other Social Media platforms that exist – you’re a blogger after all! Create a summary of each platform’s success – growth, interaction, measurable leads/sales to back you up.
- Previous Opportunities: Sometimes it’s all about who you know – mention any prior collaborations, particularly any that are relevant to the opp you’re going for, or really show your strength. Select a handful of your strongest work & its results.
Which Metrics Really Matter?
There are a million metrics out there you could use to measure the perceived success of your blog – but only a handful of them will matter to you, and these may change over time.
A high Domain Authority score is worth nothing unless you’re seeing results that are meaningful to you – whether that’s online or physical product sales, affiliate income, being accepted for guest posts or speaking opportunities, increasing your traffic & readership, or simply filling up your inbox with interesting conversations.
As with any metric (even rankings) consider this: do you really want a great Domain Authority score, or do you actually want all the things it promises to bring? Increased traffic & revenue, a devoted readership… Use technical metrics to help map your path to your goals, but don’t let them become your goals.
Our motto (even as pro-SEOs) is that rankings aren’t the final goal – they’re simply a means to reach an end. Rankings bring you more traffic, and other SEO techniques build User Experience on your site, leading to more sales & building a great relationship with your readers – this is what’s really important.
We love busting SEO myths – if you’re wondering about Domain Authority, you might have a few questions about Backlinks too.