Understanding Domain Authority

Google is incredibly tight-lipped when it comes to how they determine how well a website will rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Because of that, Moz, a company that is an authority in search engine monitoring, developed their own proprietary search engine ranking score to give companies a means by which to predict where they might rank in SERPs.

What is Domain Authority?

This score is called Domain Authority. While it can be helpful as a guide, it is not a metric used by Google to determine rankings and does not directly influence the SERPs. It is best used as a comparative score and not an absolute metric on the effectiveness of SEO efforts. In short, the score is largely based on the number of external sites linking to a given site, which is only a single aspect of an overall SEO strategy.

A Domain Authority (DA) score ranges from one to 100. Higher scores typically correspond with an increased likelihood to rank in the SERPs relative to other sites. Since Domain Authority is a comparative metric, it’s difficult to determine what is a “good” or a “bad” score. It all depends on how the competition is scoring and what they are doing to change that score. DA score is best used when doing research in the SERPs to determine which sites might have better linking strength than others.

Worth mentioning is Page Authority (PA) score. This score is similar to Domain Authority but on the page level rather than domain or subdomain. Page Authority measures the link strength of individual pages.

What determines a Domain Authority Score?

Many factors determine the DA score, but a large influencer is the number of quality external links from popular sites such as Wikipedia or Google.com. Smaller or newer sites with fewer inbound links will typically have a lower DA score.

What is the best way to use Domain Authority?

Finally, Moz is very transparent in saying how DA and PA are best used: a comparative score to be used alongside other metrics. Lately, focusing on domain authority has come to be something of a scare tactic that some agencies use and should be treated with caution. A robust SEO strategy will consider metrics like DA/PA while ultimately appreciating the overall picture of a healthy and effective website.

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Written by Kyle Warner, Digital Marketing Specialist at Ecreativeworks

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