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What is Domain Authority, And Why Should You Care?

by DiTesco on July 15, 2013

google domain authority
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You’ve probably heard about this already before. High quality sites, authority sites, domain authority (DA), page authority (PA), trust flow, and just about anything else that measures a sites importance, strength, influence and relevance.

PageRank, as you know, is a good indicator of authority and Google does take that into consideration when returning results on the SERPs (search engine results pages). However, in today’s heavily populated interwebs, PageRank alone won’t get you there, specially if one of your monetization models is selling ad spaces, sponsoring reviews, and even consulting services. Although there are chatters around the web that says search engines do not count domain authority as a ranking factor, I believe that “indirectly” perhaps it does. In any event, that’s really not what I want to share with you today, but rather, explain what DA is, and why it may be important for your online endeavors.

First let me give you an example. I have a client who has a travel blog. Due to a NDA (non disclosure agreement) that I have with them, sadly, I won’t be able to say who they are. Anyway, one of their monetization models is to attract advertisers (display, reviews, sponsored giveaways, etc..). The site has a great content, a PageRank of 5, and has an Alexa closing in on the 200K level and improving. Traffic is not bad (hovering 25K page views, with bounce rate of approx. 35%). With all that, one would think that they are definitely a prime candidate for advertisers, media buyers, etc. Your first reaction will probably be – WOW, with that kind of PR and a rapidly increasing Alexa, it should be no brainer. Provided the pricing is right, they should have a lot of proposals, considering it is a highly competitive niche. If you were thinking along those lines, well think again.

Gone are the days when those numbers would be good enough reason for a blog/site to make some decent money on those monetization methods I mentioned above. Thing is, not anymore. That site has sadly not getting any advertisements, and if fact even being declined in some networks, due to a very low Domain Authority. Yep, the site has a DA of 13. Don’t get me wrong though. All those metrics combined are extremely important. PageRank, Alexa, a sites responsiveness, etc. are good to have and should be ignored. Another factor which is equally important is the sites speed. Slow sites will obviously have problems, and couple that with some countries having slow internet connections, and a site may be doomed. Yeah, slow connections still exist as not everyone can have access to services such as bt broadband, for example. Nonetheless, you should know that, DA is now a metric that a lot of people are looking at. The above example is just one reason why DA is something you should be looking at.

What Is Domain Authority (DA)?

Not going to go around the bushes with this as this method of measurement is clearly defined by Moz.org, which to my knowledge has been introduced by them.  So what does Moz say about DA (technical definition)?

Domain Authority is Moz’s calculated metric for how well a given domain is likely to rank in Google’s search results. It is based off data from the Mozscape web index and includes link counts, MozRank and MozTrust scores, and dozens of other factors. It uses a machine learning model to predictively find an algorithm that best correlates with rankings across thousands of search results that we predict against.

It’s best to use Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) as comparative metrics when doing research in the search results and determining which sites/pages may have more powerful/important link profiles than others. While specific metrics like MozRank can answer questions of raw link popularity—and link counts can show the raw quantities of pages/sites linking—the authority numbers are high-level metrics that attempt to answer the question, “How strong are this page’s links in terms of helping them rank for queries in Google.com?”

Here’s a video from Rand, that is a bit old, but nonetheless, provides a deeper understanding of what trust and DA is.

Why Is It Important?

As I mentioned earlier, DA is something that many “people” are now looking at. If you read the technical definition above and watched the video in its entirety, you may come to a conclusion that a good DA is synonym to having a good link profile, strength of a website, popularity, etc.

All that is good for:

Sites Credibility (reputation) – a good DA is indicative that a site is “not spammy” and trustworthy.

Google Rankings – If DA is measured in part due to a good link profile, then one would assume that a site with a high DA has many quality inbound links. If inbound links is “one of the most important SEO factors (see below *)”, then it is safe to say that in general, a site with high DA, is most likely to rank better on SERPs, right? Makes sense..

Link Building (Ex: Guest Posting, Commenting, Content Syndication, etc.) – Links are still important, and if you have any doubts, read this recent interview of Matt Cutts conducted by Stone Temple Consulting. For the purpose of this post, the key takeaways are these:

Links are still the best way that we’ve found to discover that, and maybe over time social or authorship or other types of markup will give us a lot more information about that.

…The challenge with guest posting is that people have different conceptions about what it means. And so for a lot of people, a guest post is something that a fantastic author has thought deeply about, labored over, polished, put a lot of work into and then publishes on a highly reputable domain name.

Posts like that can be a great way to get your name out there, to build your reputation, to make yourself more well-known, potentially build links or traffic or help with your SEO

So, to cut this short, if you are an advertiser, a guest blogger, etc., you probably would like to be involved with sites that have a perceived high authority, simple.

How Do I know A Sites DA and PA?

I’ve seen quite a few DA checkers out there, but my favorite, aside from using Moz’s Open Site Explorer, is a nifty Chrome extension (Moz Bar), that lets you see a sites (or page) DA and PA instantly. In addition, the MozBar also gives you some other info on the fly, like dofollowed and nofollowed links, internal and external links, etc. It’s free! You can install the MozBar Chrome extension from here.

Here’s how it looks like on a specific page or domain (click to enlarge)

mozbar extension searchengineland

On search results

domain authority search

As you can see, the tool provides some quick info about a sites DA, PA and more. This is particularly interesting to use when you are looking for sites to guest post on. If you are an advertiser, a media buyer, or looking for sites where you can extend your reach, making use of this tool is also something you should consider.

What Is A Good Domain Authority?

It is hard to speculate on what would be a good DA. Nonetheless, and based on some research I’ve done, I believe that 20+ would be a good start (from a scale from 0 – 100).

How Do You Increase Domain Authority?

Once again, I will let Moz provide you with some helpful hints. Note that it is not an easy process, otherwise, it would be easily gamed.

Unlike other SEO metrics, Domain Authority is difficult to influence directly. It is made up of an aggregate of metrics (MozRank, MozTrust, link profile, and more) that each have an impact on this score. This was done intentionally; this metric is meant to approximate how competitive a given site is in Google.com. Since Google takes a lot of factors into account, a metric that tries to calculate it must incorporate a lot of factors, as well.

The best way to influence this metric is to improve your overall SEO. In particular, you should focus on your link profile—which influences MozRank and MozTrust—by getting more links from other well-linked-to pages.

Here’s also a nice infographic put together by VerticalMeasures.com. As you can see, although doable, not really that easy.

domain authority building machine

That’s it! Do you know what you Domain Authority is? What importance, if any, do you think that domain authority has today, in comparison to what it was before?

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+DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone.com. iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Consulting Services.

Francisco has written 700 articles at iBlogzone.com

1 Anh Le July 15, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Your post gives a great insight into the topic of domain authority. I’ve heard about it but don’t really know how it actually works. Now things get clearer for me. Thanks for a useful post!

2 Josh October 14, 2013 at 9:19 am

Thanks for sharing these tips. Useful.

3 Akhil Pulotil July 16, 2013 at 12:56 am

Hello DiTesco,
A very well-detailed article about Domain Authority, its significance and importance :-)
I really liked the infograph that you placed in this blog post. It’d be great if you could write down a comparison post between Domain Authority and Google Pagerank. :D
Keep Posting !

4 Juan July 16, 2013 at 4:54 am

i already check my DA, thanks for sharing about this topic

5 Stephen Moyers July 16, 2013 at 9:15 am

Hey nice article on DA. But Ditesco what your view Google is considering DA as one of factor in organic ranking as DA is purely concept of Moz and not Google. But you have provided good insight of domain Authority. Thanks for Sharing!!!

6 Kiesha Canori July 16, 2013 at 9:24 am

Really nice infograph which will cover almost all aspects of authority building. Good to hear about the Moz concept of Domain authority. Thanks for info :)

7 Web Development July 16, 2013 at 10:13 am

Good to hear about MOZ. Inforgaphics are simply awesome. I think you are a good designer.

8 Caleb July 16, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Since it is tied in to so many other metrics to me it makes no sense to concentrate on it alone. Just keep doing your best as usual by putting out quality content and structuring it properly so search engines can find it easily without overdoing it of course.

9 DiTesco July 18, 2013 at 11:21 am

Hi Caleb.. That’s precisely it – it is tied to so many metrics, which means that doing your best on “everything else” is what will make your DA improve :)

10 Toby July 17, 2013 at 10:53 am

Hi, Nice explanation. I literally didn’t know about the domain authority and its importance. That is new to me. I really liked this post which has explained each and every pin point.
Thanks for the post.

11 Purbita Ditecha July 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

Domain Authority will never bring traffic as it is known to all that traffic is the fuel of any website (domain). If any website has DA very low but it gets huge traffic then there is no doubt, the site is successful. Because we create website or blog for readers/ audience , don’t for machines / alogorithms.

12 carl July 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Very informative post Ditesco, I found you on twitter.
DA is very important especially when you are planning your Search Engine Optimisation campaign, also Page Authority.
In my experience of building website and test that I have done, to summarise sharing links with websites that are related to your business and sites that have higher authority than your own help boost your DA value. High ranking sites have high DA value.
I use Moz, its a good tool though you pay for full access.

13 piyush001 July 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Thats a pretty impressive piece of information :) as a blogger I am your fan now

14 Nick July 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm

yes, Domain Authority is very important. thanks for sharing this stuff.

15 Nithin Upendran July 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Yea well said bro i totally agree with you.Domain authority is of the main scale which every blogger should be concerned about.Nowadays every bloggers are keeping an eye on domain authority rather than page rank.Open site explorer is a great tool which features all important scores of a blog.Thanks howdy for sharing this :)

16 Ron July 19, 2013 at 1:47 am

I am new to the whole website/blog game(haven’t had one in years), but this Domain Authority seems pretty hard to wrap my head around.

Does the old cliche “Content is King” still apply today? I am just wondering if working on solid content, allowing links to develop naturally, and participating on forums/social media is enough to grow a web pretense. I am not trying to achieve a high PageRank or anything, I just want to enjoy what I do and share my thoughts with others.

Do you have any tips or links to other content on your site dealing with SEO in 2013? Thanks again!

17 DiTesco July 19, 2013 at 11:43 am

Hi Ron. Yeah I can totally relate on you about “things” being overwhelming. Essentially what you just said is the right way of going about how to develop authority.. Good content (specially those that are problem solving), and participating actively on major social networks will induce to naturally build your links and ultimately improve your authority.. As for SEO tips for 2013, just hit the “SEO” item on the menu above and you will find plenty of info there :)

18 James July 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Good information about Domain Authority ! Open Site Explorer is very helpful website! helped me alot… Thanks!

19 Jimmy July 25, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Hi

I have a website/blog with a PA 77 of and DA of 72, PR 6 and Alexa rank of 80k which i seo related, but I’m having a hard time turning that into $$. So if you have any tips that would be greate.

Can I use website to boost another of my sites(the link on this comment), which is a health site without damaging them both.?

20 DiTesco July 26, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Hi Jimmy. Which site are you referring to? With those kind of “numbers”, you should be able to monetize your site quite good. Maybe the “model” you are using right now is not the best fit.

21 Jimmy July 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

Hi

The site is w3blog.dk
Siteexplore: http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/links?site=w3blog.dk

Adsense, infolinks doesn’t give anything…

22 Christopher Simmons July 30, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Of course, one major change which makes the infographic less accurate is Google’s announcement this past week that they will now deprecate anchor links which are “overly optimized” in press releases, due to rampant abuse by SEOs, and the dearth of crappy “free news posting” sites around the world, intended solely to post spammy SEO releases which are nothing more than “news spam.”

23 DiTesco July 31, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I agree and sadly the abuse has been in such a way that soon, it will be even more difficult for small businesses to gain authority. Makes me think that the “paying field” GAP is widening once more. Oh well…

24 kapil heera August 3, 2013 at 6:40 am

hi DiTesco you posted a great and helpful article. I visited on this blog via blogger kid and got to read very help full article actually I know little about Domain Authority but after reading your post I understand whole concept of Domain authority.

Thanks & regards

25 Susan Velez August 3, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I never really thought that domain authority was still a big thing now after all the updates.

I guess I need to check my domain authority on my site. Although it is still fairly new I am sure that it does not have any authority.

I will check out the Google Chrome extension, thanks for taking the time to share this tool.

26 DiTesco August 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Hi Susan. Welcome and yes, do check your DA and slowly but surely, try to build it up. It is now more important than ever, specially if your business model requires to have such a DA and PA. Good luck and let me know if there is something I can do to help. Thanks for stopping by

27 Ajit Tiwari September 25, 2013 at 8:37 am

Hello DiTesco,
Now a days i saw a lot of Updates from Google and PR is still not updated for a long time. That doesn’t mean its Gone, wait for the update..everything will rolled again.

InfoGraphics was extremely Good, and the more am reading about DA more am exploring new ways to increase DA….
But still confused with one point mention in it…..
Do Press Release will help from now on…as i heard a lot of guys telling press release is not a good option for backlinks…..your suggestions are very important for this, hope to hear soon.

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