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Domain Authority (D.A.)

TL;DR

Domain Authority is a metric for evaluating domain names, from 0 to 100, in order to determine their relevance. It was developed by Moz.com. It is a strong indicator of a websites’ relevance and is correlated with the results in the SERP. A high domain authority is likely to bring better positions in search results.  

About the Domain Authority

Domain Authority is a metric for evaluating domain names, from 0 to 100, in order to determine their relevance, either for the whole internet in general, or for a specific area of activity. It was developed by Moz.com. Although the score itself is not directly used by Google in its’ algorithm, it is a strong indicator of a websites’ relevance and is correlated with the results in the SERP. A high domain authority is likely to bring better positions in search results. 

The algorithms search engines use are not limited to evaluating the page content and functionality of a given website, but also include elements that concern the reputation of the domain. A new domain will score 1 on the Domain Authority metric, since it cannot have any reputation yet. More popular websites, with a proven track record of reliability, are therefore more likely to score higher in the Domain Authority metric.

A factor that greatly influences the Domain Authority is the number and quality of the web pages and web domains that are linking to that domain, in comparison with others from the same subject area. For instance, Wikipedia might be the most referenced web domain in the world, with a huge number of other websites linking back to it, which brings its’ D.A. to 98. Such a domain will also help other websites grow their own D.A. by linking to them. For instance, if you own a small hotel and your website is referenced, with a backlink to your address, by Lonely Planet (D.A.=92) and National Geographic (D.A.=93), your relevance and D.A. will likely increase significantly. Having numerous backlinks from lower D.A. domains may also be beneficial, as long as they have some relevance for your activity. A high number of backlinks from irrelevant, low D.A. domains, will most likely not help increase your D.A. and could even hurt your rankings.

What is a good Domain Authority score?

The D.A. is mostly used as a comparative score between competing websites, not as an absolute one. A score of 20 might be good, if you are competing with websites that are below that. Improving your SEO and implementing a backlinking strategy are good ways of improving Domain Authority. While it is easier to grow from a score of 1 to a score of 20, it is then increasingly difficult to significantly improve your score above that. Elements such as domain age and frequency of updates may come into play when determining the D.A. This goes to show that it is difficult to surpass websites that have been active for a lot longer than yours and the entire process takes a significant amount of time.