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What Is Domain Authority & Why Does It Matter? Blog Feature

Melissa Smith

Web Team Manager / Sr. Front-end Developer, 8+ Years of Web Development Expertise, 2x Recipient of IMPACT's Helpfulness Core Value Award

March 22nd, 2019 min read

It’s no secret that every brand is out there trying to outrank its competitors in search engines and be that person/company that shows up #1.

We are all trying to figure out the algorithms to get ahead of people/companies who are in our same industry to be that go-to thought leader.

One of those metrics to look at is how your domain will perform in search.

What metric is that you might ask? You guessed it, Domain Authority.

What Is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority or DA for short is essentially a website’s relevance or quality according to search engines.

The term was developed by popular SEO SaaS Moz and it predicts the ranking ability of a website as well as how it will perform competitively in search engines against others in your niche.

A DA score ranges from one to 100.

A higher DA indicates a higher chance of ranking in search engine results while a lower DA score can indicate low ranking and a possible loss of traffic.

Domain Authority between 40 and 50 is considered average, 50 and 60 is considered good while over 60 is considered excellent.

Why DA Is Important?

Your Domain Authority is important because it is representative of how you rank on search engine. It helps you better understand your site’s credibility in the eyes of the search engines and you can see how you compare to your competition.

With being able to see how you compare to your competition, you can fine-tune your strategy. For example, a link from a website with high authority is more valuable than a link from a site with little or no authority, so knowing your authority and that of others in your industry will help you determine whom you should target for backlinks and guest blogging opportunities.

How Does Moz Determine Your DA Score?

According to Moz:

Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and number of total links, into a single DA score. This score can then be used when comparing websites or tracking the "ranking strength" of a website over time.

Moz also made a point to say, “Domain Authority is not a metric used by Google in determining search rankings and has no effect on the SERPs.”

However, the company recently announced it was going to roll out an update on how it scores Domain Authority, that it believes will more closely align with how search engines order search results.

The SaaS company has made substantial improvements to both the quality and quantity of their link index and their ability to create relevant signals from the data. It uses over 40 different factors to calculate your score.

Here are some of the most important factors to keep front of mind:

  • Linking Root Domains - The number of unique backlinks your website has earned. Note: Two links from the same website will only be counted as one linking root domain.

  • MozRank - A metric used to score the strength of your website external links.

  • MozTrust - A metric used to help determine the quality of your external links.

  • Quality Content - As we all know great content is key. The quality of your website’s content is another factor in determining its domain authority.

  • Social Signals - Just like Google, Moz uses social signals in identifying good quality content.

  • Search Engine Friendliness - Includes the use of SEO, as well as the site structure and user-friendliness of your website.

What Tools Can I Use to Get My DA Score?

DA scores are available in the following Moz tools and features:

Here are a few items to keep in the back of your mind when evaluating and working on your DA score.

Do. Use DA as a comparative metric between sites of a similar caliber, category or industry,

Don’t. Don’t look at your site’s Domain Authority score in isolation.

Do. Look to see how your competitors’ DA scores fluctuated in light of any updates.

Don’t. Don’t mistake Moz’s 0-100 for an F-A grading. You should not be aiming for 100 to get an “A.” You should really be aiming for a score that is higher than your direct competitors (those who show near you in search results for your target keywords).

Do. Expect regular fluctuations in your DA score as both your site’s link profile and the rest of the web change over time.

Don’t. Don’t mistake DA for PageRank. DA was created by Moz, and Google doesn’t factor the score into your site’s ranking.

Source: Moz Domain Authority 2.0 Slides

How Do You Improve Your Domain Authority?

This is great and all Melissa, but how do I improve my DA score? Here are a bunch of different tips from the very early stages to ongoing maintenance that you can take to increase your domain authority score.

Pick a good domain name. If you are starting at the very beginning, it is important to choose a good domain name that is relevant to your website. The clearer, the better.

Optimize your on-page content. SEO isn’t just for Google search engine ranking, it also affects your Domain Authority. Make sure that your page is fully optimized including your title tags, meta descriptions, image alt tags, and content.

Create linkable content. Be that thought leader in your industry, create high-quality content that is published regularly, so that it is more likely to be linked to from another site. This will help you earn those high-quality links from multiple domains that both MozRank and MozTrust use are important factors.

Improve your internal linking structure. Internal linking is just as important as external links. Internal links help to direct visitors to different parts of your website, by having an easily accessible internal link, it will help with their user journey. Internal links help keep visitors on-site and engaged for a longer time.

Remove toxic and bad links. You should be doing an audit of your website every once in a while and search for any backlinks that are bad or toxic. It is important to do this because you could potentially remove links from bad sources that could end up hurting your domain authority instead of helping it.

Not sure what backlinking is or what it does for you? Our very own Lexie Ward, explains what backlinking is and how does it help marketers.

Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. I feel like a robot now after saying this so many times, but if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s really time to jump on this train.

It’s 2019 so many of everyone users are accessing their website on mobile devices.

If your site isn’t mobile-optimized by now, not only are you hurting mobile search engine rankings, but imagine how many visitors you are losing because they don’t want to deal with a website that works properly on mobile or tablet.

Improve your website speed. Does anyone really have the time to sit there and wait for a website to load? Not really. Having a slow website that load slows can have a horrible effect on your bounce rate. Here is how you can improve your bounce, and 5 ways to improve website load time and performance.

Become an authority within your industry. This is something IMPACT is constantly working on. By boosting your reputation as an authority, you will strengthen your brand identity. Not only will this help increase traffic, but it will help to increase the number of external links. Create that great content and engage with your followers. Here is why IMPACT decided to make the shift into becoming a media publisher.

Promote your content via social media. As mentioned above, social signals are one of the important key factors in your DA score. Make sure you are promoting your content on social media in order to obtain those signals.

In a nutshell, don’t neglect your Domain Authority. DA is important because it allows you to take a look at the overall performance of your website and it lets you compare the score to competing websites to see where you stand.

What have you done to help improve your Domain Authority score lately?

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