You don’t have to be in the digital marketing industry long to hear the phrase ‘Domain Authority’ mentioned. So what is Domain Authority (DA)?
Domain Authority is a metric which is calculated by Moz.com for the benefit of its customers to provide them with a quick assessment as to the authority of a website. The score is calculated by applying an algorithm developed by Moz which makes a prediction as to how well a domain (website) will rank in Google search results based on the links which Moz has found in its linking profile.
Moz will take into account the perceived Domain Authority of all the other websites that are linking to this domain to predict how well this particular site is likely to rank in Google Organic Listings; hence its “authority” online or ability to be visited and/or influence general web users.
The Moz DA score is represented by a number between 1 and 100, with domains which have a higher score being the most authoritative. This is a relative score, which compares the domain to others which have been detected by Moz across all industries and sectors. So if bbc.co.uk were to suddenly accumulate a couple of million good quality links, then the perceived authority of all other domains would ultimately decrease.
The Moz DA Score therefore regularly fluctuates which is why it is so important to always compare your website to others competing on similar search terms rather than simply looking at your own DA in isolation.
This is a tricky one to answer as it depends on a multitude of factors.
Websites such as Wikipedia, Facebook and Google will naturally accumulate the most links and are therefore the barometer by which all other domains are assessed.
Domains which have a DA score of 1 will be held by new websites or those with an almost non-existent linking profile. However, there will be occasions where a company will decide to set up a new domain and redirect their old domain into their new online home. Moz won’t immediately pick up on this, so it can take some time before it ‘catches up’ and reflects a DA score which is more representative.
Equally, you may sometimes find a relatively unknown blogger who has a DA score of 70 or higher. Again, this may be an illusion if the blogger is hosting their website on Blogspot (i.e. mrblogger.blogspot.com) as the DA score will represent the authority of the root domain rather than the individual website i.e. blogspot.com.
It is therefore always best to view your score in comparison to other domains that you are competing with on your target keywords. Some industries, such as plastic cup manufacturing, are unlikely to receive all that many natural links, so a DA score of 11 might be quite reasonable as long as your score is higher than those of your competitors.
Moz’s Domain Authority does have its uses in that it provides a ultra quick overview as to the likely authority that a particular domain would pass onto your own if it were to provide you with a link.
However, this does need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Not only for the reasons noted above, but also due to the fact that it is a representation of Moz’s view of the internet. These scores are calculated based on the websites which have been detected by Moz’s spiders and then assesses by their algorithm.
Google will have a completely different, and almost certainly more advanced algorithm in place by which to assess websites. Only Google will know which linking domains have been:
Google is also likely to have a feature of its algorithm which devalues the authority of any bloggers with a Blogspot domain. You can only imagine that Moz will have a similar feature in its own algorithm, but who is to say the authority demotion would be of a similar level?
Both Google and Moz are also likely to have detected varying links in each domains linking profile. This is why you will often find links noted in Google Search Console which are not featured in a similar list exported from Moz.
Similar metrics are now available via rival SEO software packages, with Ahref’s Domain Rating score being an equivalent metric which is becoming used increasingly frequently by industry experts.
Ultimately it is always best to trust the experts when it comes to interpreting metrics such as DA. Only an experienced hand can identify the telltale signs of a website which is merely set up for link selling and/or has been subject to a Google Penalty.
If you require any more digital marketing advice, why not get in touch with our experts who between them command decades of experience of helping clients succeed online.