There are so many factors and tactics that go into building and maintaining an effective search engine optimization strategy. You know you need to choose keywords to include in your website and content marketing, build a link network on your site, and work toward external links to your site to establish yourself as an expert in your space.
Like any other marketing tactic, you need to be able to measure your performance and understand how your competition is doing. You might have seen the phrase “Domain Authority” or “DA” get kicked around in SEO conversations, especially in competitive analysis.
But what is Domain Authority, really? We’ve gathered up everything you need to know about this key SEO metric but were too afraid to ask.
What is Domain Authority?
According to Moz, the organization who developed the metric, Domain Authority (DA) is a value that “predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs).” DA is a relative metric, represented as a numerical score from 1-100, that compares your website to other websites. The score is based on a variety of factors, including linking root domains, total links, and link quality, all of which are factors that Google and other search engines deem important to determine site quality and authority.
Your Moz Domain Authority score is not a factor directly used by Google and other search engines to determine your search engine placement. Rather, it’s a tool that can be leveraged to better predict your search engine performance and the value of internal and external links to/from your site and comparative SEO performance.
If your DA increases, especially in relation to your competitors, it’s generally a good indicator that your site is improving link quality and volume, adhering to SEO best practices, and will perform well in search engine results.
How is Domain Authority calculated?
DA is calculated using machine learning technology by comparing your site’s ranking factors against the rest of the internet. There isn’t a hard-and-fast algorithm to calculate it on your own — it’s a more complex, subjective score that relies largely on comparison to similar sites.
In early 2019, Moz updated the DA algorithm to include additional factors, including Spam Scores, traffic, and link quality in addition to crawlability and number of links. In addition to additional metrics, the calculation methodology now works on a neural network, which is a far more sophisticated machine learning technology that better approximates ranking performance and evolves over time alongside Google’s search algorithms.
It’s also worth noting that the DA scale is logarithmic, meaning that increasing your score becomes more difficult the closer you are to 100 (for instance, increasing from 25-35 will be far easier than increasing from 50-60).
How can I increase my Domain Authority?
It can be extremely difficult to impact your Domain Authority score directly, as it compiles a large number of metrics and compares them to other sites — not unlike how Google determines which search results to display first. The tactics that have the greatest impact on Domain Authority are the ones that build your backlink profile. This can include improving your site navigation, regularly updating your content and removing bad links from your site, guest blogging, and (most importantly) creating valuable content that frequently gets linked on social media and by other websites.
An average DA is typically between 40-50, with anything over 60 being considered excellent. However, keep in mind that DA is comparative rather than qualitative. When determining your Domain Authority goals, you should look directly at competing websites rather than aiming for a perfect score.
While Domain Authority is a critical metric in determining your site’s SEO performance, it’s far from the only performance indicator that matters. It offers a great comparative benchmark to see how your efforts are paying off overall, especially compared to your competitors.
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