The Domain Authority (DA) is a numerical metric that indicates the authority of a domain, where the greater its value the greater should be the chances of ranking higher in the search engine results (SERPs) and therefore obtaining more organic traffic (at least this is the goal of who created it).
The metric was developed by Moz , but other companies have created similar metrics that rank domains based on a number of factors and assign them a rating from 0 to 100.
The idea of classifying domains according to their authority is based on the emulation of a system similar to PageRank , an algorithm introduced by Larry Page (one of the founders of Google) and is still used today to evaluate the importance and the positioning of pages and sites.
- What is the Domain Authority (DA)?
- How is Domain Authority calculated?
- What is the Page Authority?
- How to improve and increase the Domain Authority
- Conclusions on the Domain Authority
What is the Domain Authority (DA)?
Moz’s Domain Authority is a score between 0 and 100 that determines the likelihood with which a domain ranks well on search engines.
The DA is therefore comparable to PageRank, but with the difference that the latter can actually influence the positioning on Google.
This is because DA depends on the data that Moz has on your site, which is not as accurate as that available to Google, which naturally collects and analyzes much more information.
For example, it is normal for a domain with a low Domain Authority score to rank well in search engines.
Other things you should know about DA:
1) The DA does not take into account any penalties . A domain subject to a Google downgrade loses rankings and traffic, but this is not necessarily rated by Moz. Therefore the Domain Authority of a penalized site could still be high.
2) Google’s ranking algorithms take into account hundreds of factors (which no one knows exactly), while the Domain Authority only takes into account 40 factors.
3) It is not easy to change your DA score. It’s not something you can do by simply tweaking a few elements on your site today and immediately seeing a Domain Authority rise tomorrow.
4) The DA is based on a logarithmic scale. This means that it is easier to improve your DA score from 20 to 30 than it is to go from 70 to 80. As you move higher up the ladder, it becomes more difficult to increase your score.
5) DA is not a metric created to evaluate the progress of an SEO campaign. Rather, it is a metric to be used for domain comparison purposes.
How is Domain Authority calculated?
According to Moz’s documentation, the Domain Authority is calculated by taking into account a number of signals (40 in total), including:
- the number of inbound links pointing to your site;
- the quality and relevance of inbound links;
- the quality of the content on the pages of your site;
- social signals intended as the popularity of your domain on social media;
- the SEO performance of your site in general.
How to check the DA of my website?
To find out your site’s Domain Authority:
- go to https://moz.com/link-explorer ;
- register a free or trial account;
- type in your domain name and see the result.
If, on the other hand, you need to know the DA of many domains you will have to use tools that allow you to bulk using the Moz API (one of these is Scrapebox, but there are several).
What is the Page Authority?
The Page Moz Authority (PA) is a score from 1 to 100 which determines the probability that a single page is positioned well in the search engines.
The higher the PA, the greater the chances for that single page to rank in the top positions of search engines.
The PA is therefore similar to the DA, but instead of considering domain-level factors, it uses specific signals to determine the authority of a specific page on a site.
Typically a site that has many pages with a high PA will also have a higher Domain Authority (DA) score.
How to improve and increase the Domain Authority
Now that you understand what Domain Authority is and how it is calculated, let’s see how you can improve it.
These are the steps to follow to practically increase a domain’s DA score:
- Link profile and off-page SEO
- On-page SEO optimization
- Technical SEO aspects
- Compatibility with mobile devices
- Page loading speed
Link profile and off-page SEO
The link profile is the factor that most affects the Domain Authority.
Sites with a strong profile made up of links from authoritative domains will have a higher DA score than sites with a profile featuring backlinks from low authority domains.
How to tell if a site has a strong link profile?
The aspects to check about a domain to understand the quality of its link profile are:
- presence of backlinks from high authority domains;
- the backlinks come from sites that deal with the same topics;
- absence of sitewide backlinks;
- does not receive many backlinks with transactional anchor text;
If you are not familiar with the points listed or are not clear to you, I recommend that you consider the basic SEO course.
How to improve your link profile?
To improve the link profile, you need to invest in off-page SEO and therefore in the link building techniques used to acquire backlinks to your site.
To improve your link profile and your Domain Authority, you can follow these directions:
Once you have identified the bad backlinks, you need to contact the owners of the site they come from and ask them to remove it or add the “nofollow” rel.
If you don’t get feedback from the site owner, you can use Google’s Disavow Tool to repudiate toxic backlinks.
2) Get backlinks from sites that are relevant and dealing with the same topic as yours – this is the hardest and most challenging part of a Link Building campaign.
If you don’t do SEO on a professional level, I highly recommend you to consider the advanced SEO course, where I explain the most advanced strategies and techniques for doing link building.
In the meantime, to give you some ideas, here are two basic methods for obtaining quality backlinks:
1) Link Earning: This technique is based on the theory that if someone finds your site and thinks your articles are interesting and useful, they may decide to link them spontaneously on their site.
Of course, the success of this technique depends on the quality of the content you propose and above all on the skill in sponsoring them to make them known.
A good example of how link earning works is the article you are reading right now. My articles tend to be spontaneously linked from other sites in the industry.
This process works and is very useful, but you have to be patient as it will take some time to reach enough readers for someone to decide to link to you.
2) Guest posting: this second method to get quality links consists in contacting other sites in your sector and offering them to link to you.
Of course you will need to be very convincing and explain why they should link to you.
On-page SEO optimization
The next step in improving Domain Authority is to work on on-page SEO. The most important factors are:
- Optimize title and meta description tags ;
- Proper use of header tags (mainly H1 and H2) within the content;
- SEO friendly URL structure ;
- Optimize images, videos and other multimedia elements;
- Naturally inserting keywords in content (avoiding Keyword Stuffing);
- Adding internal links to other pages of the site;
It is necessary to remember that the quality of the content is the most important ranking factor of all and that you have to produce both new content, but at the same time update the information of the old ones.
Technical SEO aspects
The technical SEO aspects should be taken care of at the beginning of an SEO campaign or, better still, during the development of the site, precisely to avoid having to deal with them in the future and above all to start off on the right foot.
However, if a site presents technical problems from an SEO point of view, this can have a huge impact both on the Domain Authority and above all on positioning and visibility.
The basic settings are as follows:
- Verify your site in Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools ;
- Create and optimize a sitemap in xml format ;
- Check the robots.txt directives and use features like GSC’s URL Inspection Tool to make sure crawlers can crawl your site smoothly;
- Consider migrating your site to https protocol;
- Add structured data to help search engines understand the context of your content;
- Make sure you use the breadcrumb on all pages;
- Properly implement hreflangs if you have a multilingual site.
Compatibility with mobile devices
Having a site optimized for mobile devices is no longer optional or just “cool”, but it is literally necessary.
If your site is not fully optimized for mobile devices, the best way to start is to go to the Mobile Optimization Test and check all the pages on your site (not just the Home page).
If not, Google will provide you with a detailed report with various tips on how to make your site mobile friendly.
Page loading speed
One of the most important aspects of a site is the loading speed of its pages.
Increasing the speed of loading pages will not only improve their ranking and Domain Authority, but above all improve the browsing experience of users and this translates into more sales, turnover and profits.
Several technical issues are involved to speed up page loading and if you are not a competent developer, it can be very difficult to achieve actual improvements.
However, if you don’t have these skills and can’t afford to hire a developer, you can start by following these tips:
- Remove unnecessary plugins;
- Update the CMS and its plugins to their latest versions;
- Optimize images to proper lossless quality;
- Use a streaming service (such as YouTube) for videos;
- Avoid cheap hosting;
Conclusions on the Domain Authority
The rise of the Domain Authority is not something that can be done quickly. It will take some time for Moz’s crawlers to evaluate your site after making any of the above changes.
So you need to be patient and systematically work on improving your site to have a positive effect on AD as well.
In conclusion, I don’t recommend focusing too much on Domain Authority as well as other authority parameters. It’s just a score that shows how strong your domain is compared to other domains that exist in Moz’s database and not Google’s.
A low DA score does not mean that your site will not get traffic, and I assure you that it is common for sites with low DA to generate more traffic than sites with high scores.
For example, although my site has an average high DA, it is one of the most positioned sites in Italy in the SEO niche.
Still, a high DA score means you’re on the right track, but it’s just a prediction and doesn’t guarantee you’ll get better rankings or more traffic.
Instead, try to always think about the big picture and don’t limit your SEO activities to achieving a score, whatever it is.