Some companies and brands use Domain Authority (DA) to study and evaluate the results of their digital strategies.
But what does this metric really mean? Should we really strive to improve it? Will a high domain authority help us rank better on Google?
Domain authority can be a very useful metric to know the status of a website in relation to similar competitors, but we must emphasize that it is not a ranking factor for Google.
In this post, we're going to define what domain authority is — and what it isn't — and what you'll want to take into account to optimize it.
What is domain authority?
It is really important to define what domain authority is and what isn't in order to point your digital strategy in the right direction.
Domain Authority (DA) is a metric first developed by Moz that predicts how likely a domain is to appear in the SERPs compared to its competitors:
It's important to highlight that Google doesn't use Domain Authority as a ranking factor to decide how to rank websites. So it isn't a metric that will improve your ranking in the search engine results page (SERPs). However, domain authority is a good indicator that will help you assess the performance of your website in relation to competitors.
Nowadays, this metric is not only used by Moz. Different SEO tools such as SEMrush have developed their own Authority metric — which is an algorithm that uses data from backlinks, referring domains, or search traffic, among others, to decide the Authority score. So, although it isn't an official ranking factor used by Google, it's a useful metric to know your site health in relation to your competitors.
What's a good domain authority score?
Moz's Domain Authority search engine ranking score ranks from 1 to 100, with the higher numbers meaning probability of better results in the SERPs. To define this metric, the SEO tool takes into account both the quantity and quality of links that a webpage receives.
If a page has backlinks from pages with a high authority — such as Google, Wikipedia, governmental pages, renowned newspapers or magazines — it will have a higher probability of having a better score.
Depending on the type of industry or the characteristics of the website, it will be more likely — and more useful — to get some backlinks over others.
For instance, a training center may seek links from national newspapers, universities, and academic articles or government sites. A local business website, on the other hand, likely prefers being linked to by regional newspapers or industry magazines, since those backlinks are more valuable to the business' target audience, even if they don't have the highest domain authorities.
Determining good domain authority, then, is different for each business. Ultimately, it's important you analyze your top competitors and draw conclusions tailored to your own website, based on your ranking as well as the rankings of your competitors.
How can I check my Domain Authority?
On Moz, you can check your website’s Domain Authority for free through Link Explorer. You just need to enter your domain’s root URL (like HubSpot.com) and your webpage’s Domain Authority score will appear automatically.
The digital tool provides other features, as well — such as the number of unique external linking domains (Linking Domains), the number of unique pages linking to a page (Inbound Links), and the total number of keywords for which this website is ranking within the top 50 positions on Google (Ranking Keywords), among other metrics.
Domain Authority vs. Page Authority
While Domain Authority measures the probability of an entire web domain to rank in the SERPs, Page Authority focuses specifically on the probability of ranking each of the pages of the website individually.
This enables you to determine the performance of individual pages — such as blog posts or product pages — to analyze which ones might need some fine-tuning to obtain a higher score.
The Page Authority indicator can help you prioritize and define the next actions to develop within your digital strategy based on the pages with the most scope for improvement.
How to Build Domain Authority
Now, let’s take this into practice: how can you build domain authority and rank better than your competitors?
As Google points out, It isn't just about the total number of links to your site or the total number of domain links, but the quality of those links, the ones that are relevant to understand what your website is about.
To build Domain Authority, here are a few tips to keep in-mind:
- Quality, before quantity. Prioritize relevant backlinks, before thousands that aren't significant.
- Analyze your backlinks, and make sure that all the interesting sites with backlinks have a do-follow.
- Create quality content, which makes it easier for you to get natural backlinks.
- Generate content focused on your core audience, which can be attractive to them and go viral.
- Update your older content. Go through those pages with unindexed content or with a low page authority score and add new information of interest for the user.
- Identify your competitors and compare yourself to them. Analyze things that you do and don’t do that can help you increase your website's visibility.
- Study where your main competitors get the backlinks from. Can you get similar ones, too?
- Spread your web content, in an original and unique way, through other channels such as social media or newsletter.
Building your Domain Authority is a long-term strategy — it takes time and you don’t see immediate results. However, following these practices will help you increase your website visibility on SERPs with the aim of increasing traffic to your site.
Work on these actions to focus on increasing the quality and quantity of leads rather than just your Domain Authority score.