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What is Domain Authority?

Need to learn about domain authority and how you can use it to boost the performance of your website? Here’s a simplified guide on all that you need to know.

Photo of Stephanie Salud
Stephanie Salud

Have you been searching for ways to increase your website traffic or to rank higher in Google search results lately?

Then you must have come across the term domain authority several times. After all, it’s a pivotal factor to consider for improving the overall performance of a website. But grasping this concept isn’t like passing a hot knife through butter since there are several layers to it, plus different terms and techniques that you need to understand.

What Is Domain Authority

That’s why we thought of compiling this extensive guide to help you get the hang of it. So, let’s get started!

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What The Term Actually Means

Domain authority is a ranking score for websites brought about by the software development company Moz. It aims to predict the likelihood of a particular website ranking in search engine result pages (SERPs).

Formed based on the Link Explorer index of Moz, this score is calculated using several factors. Notably, the calculation process uses a machine learning model to find an algorithm correlating the link data of Moz with the rankings across lots of actual search engines used as the scaling standards.

DA scores can range from one to 100, with a higher score implying that the site is likely to rank higher in the search engine.

What Is Domain Authority Graphic

Why Is It Important?

To help your site reach more people, you’ll need to get it higher up the search engine.

But the problem is that often you might not be able to understand how well the website is performing. And even though you feel you’re proceeding the right way to enhance its popularity, it might not rise to the desired position in the SERPs.

In such situations, you can utilise the domain authority (DA) score to understand how the website is genuinely perceived. Domain authority is why finding out the score can help create a site to which customers and clients will want to log on. It may even help you figure out the areas that might need more improvement.

For instance, the algorithms and other methods used by Google to decide how websites are ranked in relation to keywords in the search query is still a mystery. Though it shares some ranking factors and highlights some of the best practices it adopts, it never divulges the exact process of how it ranks the website.

But Domain authority can represent the search results landscape with the best possible accuracy. Hence, it’s a great way to understand why specific sites on Google appear higher up in the SERPs than others.

How Domain Authority Helps Ranking

How Will You Improve The Domain Authority Score?

When you’ve just registered a domain, it will take a while to create considerable domain authority.

Several factors are at play in determining the domain authority score, such as maintaining the content quality on the website, on-page SEO, the loading speed, mobile-friendliness and more. But the most crucial requirement for increasing the DA score is the link profile.

The DA score of a website can be considered as a measurement of the strength or weakness of its link profile.

That’s because it helps the site rank higher in the SERPs and enhances search traffic.

Considering these points, here are the methods you can adopt to increase your domain authority score.

1. Minimise Or Eliminate Spammy Links

Earning strong links is not the be-all-and-end-all of achieving a good domain authority score. It’s also essential to ensure you don’t link your site to lots of spammy websites.

Thus, it would be best if you cleaned up your site’s link profile periodically using a periodic link audit. You can either do this by denying to support any such link or removing them manually.

How Bad Links Impact Your Rankings

2. Getting Links From Websites With High DA Scores

Using backlinks from websites with high DA scores is crucial for enhancing the domain authority of your site and improving its page authority.

There are many ways to achieve this is how you can get such authoritative backlinks. One of these is guest posting, which requires you to exchange some content for one backlink. Remember that the higher the other website’s DA score, the stronger the backlink will be, and the more link "juice" will be passed onto your site.

3. Getting Links From Authentic Websites

Though there are many genuine websites with high domain authority in the cyber world, encountering sites faking DA scores can’t be ruled out as well. The latter entities either try to sell less worthy backlinks at higher prices or come with an excellent yet inactive link profile after the owner ceases to work on them.

As such, some site owners might end up buying domains such as these to build a website network with high domain authority but no traffic. Keep in mind that this is a major red flag concerning creating a sound link profile. Plus, tools such as Google and Moz are gradually becoming more efficient at identifying such websites without attaching any value to them.

This is why the best way to recognise a vital link in today’s cyber world is to check the organic traffic that you might get by linking your website to that link.

Factors Used To Determine The Score

Moz utilises as many as 40 different factors to develop the domain authority scores. Though all are not known, some of the most significant ones are as follows:

1. Search Engine Friendliness

The user-friendliness and structure of the website are used to determine the site’s search engine friendliness. As such, a site with a poor structure will be complex for Google to crawl through, thus affecting its ranking scores.

2. Linking Root Domains

The number of unique backlinks of a website is its root domain. For instance, if your site has 1000 links from just one website, it will be considered one link from a single root domain.

But there’ll be three root domains for a site with three links from three different sites. And by earning links from several websites, you can achieve a higher domain authority than by earning a bunch of links from a single website.

3. MozTrust

Moztrust calculates the quality of each backlink, making an in-depth analysis of how closely the website is related to trustworthy ones.

4. MozRank

This is another metric for determining the strength of the backlinks of a website. For this purpose, it considers both the number of external links on the site and the quality of each link. But quality is emphasised over quantity, implying that having an excellent external link is more advantageous than having several mediocre links.

What Is Domain Rating?

Domain Rating is a ranking metric brought about by Ahrefs that solely determines the quantity and quality of backlinks that your website’s domain has acquired. This score is measured on a scale of zero to 100, with a higher score demonstrating the strength of a website’s backlink profile.

However, Google doesn’t consider the domain rating as a ranking factor. That’s why the DR score of the site doesn’t always imply that it will rank high on the ranking algorithms of Google. Instead, the DR is an efficient measure of the link popularity of a website and its capacity to attract more traffic from a Google search.

Coming to its calculation procedure, Ahrefs determines the DR of any website using several variables. These include the number of domains with at least one dofollow link to your site, the DR scores of such linking domains, the number of sites every referring domain links to, and many more.

Nofollow Link Infographic

Domain Authority Vs Domain Rating

By now, you might’ve understood that both the domain authority and domain rating scores of a website impact its overall usability for the target audience. But each of them tells you about a different aspect of its usability. While the domain authority score helps you develop an idea about its ranking on SERPs, the DR reveals its link popularity.

Another significant difference is that while the former is calculated using several important factors pertaining to a website, the latter is primarily determined using its backlink profile.

How To Get A Good Domain Rating?

You can enhance the domain rating of a website by building more "followed" links to the site. That said, it’s equally important to ensure that you don’t build links to random pages that aren’t up to the mark in terms of quality. That’s because it might not always help increase the organic traffic on your site.

As such, to improve the DR of a website, you’ll have to adopt three efficient yet straightforward methods that are briefly described as follows.

1. Pitching Relevant And Authoritative Websites

If you want other people to link to the website content as it’s relevant to theirs, you must let the site owners know about it. Thus, it’s important to pitch your website content to relevant and authoritative websites.

But how can you find relevant contacts to do the same?

At the start, we’d suggest going through these groups:

  • People featured in the articles on your site
  • Authors of similar articles
  • People who’ve linked to similar articles

An effective way of reaching out to such people is by sending them personalised emails, where you can request them to link to your website and talk about it. The text of the emails should give some value to the targeted prospects, making it seem relevant, engaging, and worthwhile.

2. Create Content That Others Want To Link To

To create content that other website owners will want to link to, you need to keep in mind some important points.

Firstly, you must ensure that the content doesn’t seem too commercial. That’s because the owners of relevant, good-quality websites are likely to go for content that’s not just targeted towards making money. Another significant aspect to consider is the utility of the content, as you should always create something constructive for people engaged in relevant fields.

Last but not least, the topic of your content must have a large number of referring domains to the top-ranking sites, which translates to a history of getting links.

Increasing Your Domain Authority

Now that you’ve learned about domain authority and several other related concepts and factors, it’s time to use them wisely to improve your website’s overall reach.

But before we call it a day, here’s a last piece of advice so that you can proceed the right way. Make sure you never take metrics like DA and DR merely as ranking factors. Instead, it would be best to use them to create robust linking strategies and measure the SEO efforts you’ve invested in.

It’s time we signed off for today. Till next time, take care!

Photo of Stephanie Salud

Stephanie Salud

Stephanie comes from a background specialising in off-page SEO, from link building, citations and strategic brand placements to increase search rankings. Stephanie brings to the team a unique approach to off-page and on-page optimisations for our clients.

Find them on their website: sitecentre™ and LinkedIn.

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