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What Is Domain Authority?

What is DA

Your domain authority is a number that can help you determine how well your site will rank with search engines like Google. While this number isn’t a direct factor in your search engine rankings, it does offer some powerful information that you can use to improve your web page and ultimately draw the audience you’re after.

Where Domain Authority Came From

Image via Flickr by devriesm

Domain authority (DA) is a ranking system developed by Moz to help predict how a website will perform in search engine results. In general, the higher a page’s domain authority, the higher its position on search engine results pages (SERPs). This score is a number between one and 100. The higher your page’s number, the greater its ability to get a high page score. It’s important to keep this inverse relationship in mind because a DA of one does not equate to a number-one page ranking.

DA rankings gained popularity when Google stopped publishing its PageRank. Without this scoring system in place, developers were left at a loss as to how they should best proceed to optimize their sites for high rankings. The SEO experts at Moz came to the rescue with a system that helps marketers better evaluate their page performance so they can target key areas for improvement and launch their sites onto those coveted first SERPs.

Where to Find Your Domain Authority

You can find your DA ranking using the Moz toolbar or Moz Link Explorer. Follow these steps to find out where your current domain authority lies.

Moz Toolbar

  • Download the MozBar extension.
  • Log in to your Moz account.
  • Click the blue gear icon in the top right of the MozBar to access the toolbar’s settings.
  • Make sure the DA metric is on and toggle other metrics as desired.
  • Visit your webpage and view the DA ranking in the MozBar.

You can also use your MozBar extension to view the DA of other sites. When you conduct a search in Google, you’ll see a custom ranking bar beneath each search result giving you that page’s DA ranking. You can see the DA in the top toolbar for pages you visit directly, as well.

Moz Link Explorer

  • Log in to your Moz account.
  • Open the Link Explorer tool.
  • Choose root domain, subdomain, or the exact page you want to evaluate and enter the web address.
  • View the domain authority as well as link data for the desired page.

The Moz Link Explorer tool was designed to replace the company’s previous Open Site Explorer. This is a powerful tool because it provides insights into much more than just your DA. You’re limited to the number of times you can use the link explorer each month, based on your subscription level.

What Determines Your Domain Authority

Moz calculates domain authority using a logarithmic scale with more than 40 metrics. The higher you are on the scale, the harder it is to move up. Thus, it’s relatively easy to increase your DA from 20 to 30, but much harder to get it from 50 to 60. By the time you reach the higher echelons of DA rankings, it becomes painstakingly difficult to move up even a notch. Thus, going from 90 to 91 is far more difficult than making leaps and bounds at the bottom of the scale.

Your DA relies on a number of factors. Here are some of the things that influence your DA:

  • MozRank: This ranking ranges from 0 to 10 and is based on the number and quality of links on your site.
  • Outgoing links: If you link to poor-quality sites from your page, you will suffer a penalty. Directing visitors to high-quality sites is rewarded.
  • MozTrust: This is your degree of separation from highly trustworthy sites like .gov or .edu pages. You’ll enjoy the highest MozTrust rankings if one of these pages links directly to your site. If a .gov page links to another site, but that site, in turn, links to you, you have only two degrees of separation. The closer you are, the better.
  • Domain age: The longer you’ve controlled your domain and the older the domain itself is, the higher your ranking.
  • Other domain registrations: Moz evaluates the quality of all domains registered under the same information and will penalize your site if you maintain a number of low-quality sites, as well.

How Domain Authority Impacts Your Search Rankings

Your DA ranking doesn’t actually impact your search rankings directly. Google and other search engines don’t use Moz’s DA algorithm. However, your domain authority is a good predictor of your search rankings because it looks into many of the same factors as Google’s own algorithms. Increasing your DA should give you a boost on search engines, but it’s not guaranteed to do so. It is possible for a site with a lower DA to command a higher search engine ranking. This number is informative but it’s not the final predictor of your performance.

How to Improve Domain Authority

If your domain authority is disappointingly low, there are several things you can do to help boost this number. Try these tactics to bump your DA up and improve your chances of getting those coveted search results.

  • Evaluate your outgoing links: Make sure you’re linking to high-quality sites and including plenty of these links throughout your pages.
  • Evaluate incoming links: If you’ve engaged in any type of link-building scheme in the past, you may have a number of low-quality links pointing to your page. Disavow any unwanted sites that are linking to you.
  • Create great content: High-quality content is what ultimately earns high-quality organic links to your page. Create some stellar content and market it well to draw the right kind of attention.

Improving your content and cleaning up your link profile will go a long way toward helping you ultimately boost your DA.

Understanding your domain authority will give you another way to evaluate your web page and see how it stands up to the competition. With the right information in hand, you can take smart steps to improve the future performance of your site.

About the author

Mandi Rogier