Domain Authority: What DA is and how it is calculated

Building a successful website isn’t an easy task. It takes time and energy to get a site ranked at the top of search engines. The easy and fastest way to improve your rankings across your website is to increase its Domain Authority (DA). A website’s DA or domain rating evaluates its overall backlink profile of it and gives it a score between 0 and 100.

For many online businesses just getting started, you may wonder if the domain authority of your website matters that much and if it is worth working to increase it.

For competitive niches, it will be essential for a company to increase its DA score as well as page authority across its site in order to compete on Google SERPs.

DA is important not just to rank better on search engines, but also to increase website traffic and click through rates on your website. A website’s domain authority is an important metric that will help webmasters to know the status of a website in relation to similar competitors.

In this article, we go over everything related to domain authority, including tips on how to increase it and check your website’s DA. 

Let’s dive right into it, what is domain authority?

Table of Contents

What is domain authority (DA)?

Domain authority is a measure of how important a website is in the search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s calculated by averaging the number of links from high-quality domains to a website.

The higher your domain authority, the better. Domain authority is especially important if you’re looking to rank highly in Google search engine results pages. It’s also important if you want people visiting your website to be impressed and persuaded by what they see.

First developed by Moz, domain authority (DA) is a metric that predicts how plausible a domain is to appear in the search engine results compared to its competition. 

It’s important to note that Google states that it does not use domain authority to decide how to rank a website. However, countless SEO industry leaders have conducted research regarding the top ranking sites across multiple topics and keywords, and have found that websites with a higher domain authority typically rank the best. To dive deeper into some of these studies, check out Brain Dean’s Backlinko study on over 11.8 million Google search results.

It does not matter if domain authority is a direct ranking metric or not, search engines put significant weight on a website’s backlink profile and thus domain authority while ranking websites. 

Let’s have a look at what Google thinks of domain authority.

Does Google care about domain authority?

Google does not care about domain authority. DA is not a ranking factor for Google. Domain authority is an SEO metric that was created by Moz to analyze the backlink profile of a website. Additionally, DA is most often confused with Google’s PageRank metric.

So where does the confusion come from?

Domain authority as a concept is different from the website rating metric that different SEO companies like Moz, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and SEMrush measure.

The concept of DA is more than likely true as studies like Backlinko’s point out, that the more high-quality backlinks a website has, the better it will rank. Moreover, more backlinks typically mean better domain authority.

However, the domain authority ranking algorithm being used by SEO businesses is an arbitrary number that Google’s search algorithm doesn’t use to rank websites.

Moz, the creator of domain authority and all of this confusion even states the following on their domain authority blog:

Domain Authority is not a Google ranking factor and has no effect on the SERPs.


So, Google does not necessarily care about DA when it is ranking websites. However, SEO experts are pretty sure that the concept of it does exist and there are different elements of it built into Google’s algorithm.

All this raises the question: Does domain authority still matter then?

Does domain authority still matter?

Yes, domain authority is still an important ranking factor for websites. It usually determines how successful your web page will be at appearing in search results.

However, there is growing debate over whether domain authority still matters when it comes to SEO. This is because Google has made it clear that they want to stop putting so much weight on the backlink profile of websites and move to an algorithm that values high-quality content over everything else.

The shift to more high-quality content and information that provides value to the users can be seen in some of the Google algorithm updates. Whereas, most recently, during mid-August, Google released the ‘Helpful Content Update’ which is emphasizing quality over quantity when it comes to content and ensures the reader gets the best experience possible.

Additionally, with emphasis on bounce rate, time spent on a page, engagement rate, and so forth, it seems that Google is trying to shift away from being so reliant on domain authority, page authority, and overall backlink profile as a ranking factor.

That being said, even though Google wants to move away from DA, it doesn’t seem like it will be happening anytime soon.

If Google doesn’t care about domain authority that much, does it really affect search engine optimization SEO that much?

Does domain authority affect SEO?

It’s generally agreed that higher DA levels lead to improved SEO results. This is because search engines rank websites with high DA levels and better backlink profiles higher in their search engine results pages (SERPs).

Domain authority is a measure of how well a website ranks in the search engines for particular keywords. It’s important because it affects a website’s ranking in the SERPs, which can lead to higher traffic and increased revenue. 

One of the most important things to remember is that domain authority is not static; it changes over time as new content is added to a website and old content is updated or removed. 

Finally, off-page SEO which deals with building backlinks and citations which help influence a DA score is an important part of building a well-performing website. That is why countless studies have been conducted to understand the effect of domain authority on overall SEO and ranking. However, domain authority is not the only metric that should be monitored. Whereas, page authority also influences the performance of a single page in SERPs.

Let’s take a look at what page authority is.

What is page authority?

Page authority (PA) is the relative rank of a single web page compared to all other pages on the same website. PA is calculated on a scale between 0 and 100 and influences how a particular page will rank on SERPs.

Generally, higher page authority means that the page will rank higher in the search engine results pages. This is because it has more weight when compared to other pages. Typically the higher the PA of a web page, the more important it is on the website.

PA can be influenced by building backlinks to it, or by sharing the page rank of other web pages on a website through internal linking. Internal links are an underutilized digital marketing and content marketing tool in link building to influence the website authority of your online business. Whereas, internal links are the only part of a website’s link profile that a webmaster can directly control.

It is important to note that page authority was developed by Moz as well, and it is not an actual ranking factor for Google. However, there is significant evidence that points to pages that have a better PA usually rank better than pages that do not.

Page authority can be important for two main reasons: 

  • It can help your website rank higher in Google SERP for certain keywords. 
  • It can help you increase organic traffic and conversion rates.

Now that we have covered the ins and outs of domain authority as well as page authority, we will dive into how domain authority is calculated, what a good DA looks like, how to check DA and how to increase it.

How is DA calculated?

Domain authority is calculated by assessing the number of backlinks and citations as well as their overall quality of them. Each SEO tool providing a domain authority or page rank authority calculates them differently. This means depending on the tool you use, you will have a different score.

Since DA is based on machine learning calculations, your website’s score is likely to fluctuate sometimes more or less depending on different data points’ availability and incorporated into those calculations. For example, if acquired a billion new links, then every other site’s DA would automatically be lower as compared to Twitter’s. 

As more established and authoritative domains like Twitter will have larger link profiles, they acquire more of the high-DA position, leaving less room at the higher slots for other domains with stronger link profiles. Therefore, it is easier to grow your website score from 10 to 20 than to grow from 70 to 80. Hence, DA is rather used as a comparative metric rather than an absolute one.

What is a good domain authority score?

Moz’s Domain Authority search engine ranks a website from 1 to 100. The higher numbers indicate the probability of better results in the search engine results. The metric takes into account both the quality and quantity of links that a webpage receives. 

If a website can build backlinks from a high authority page – such as governmental sites, editorials, renowned newspapers, or other websites with a high domain authority – it will have a higher probability of passing on more ‘link juice’ and positively affecting your website’s score. Additionally, if the website linking to your website is extremely relevant, with content that is similar to yours, it will provide more benefits than a site that is in a completely different niche. 

For instance, a newspaper publication may seek links from government sites or academic articles. On the other hand, startups will probably prefer being linked to regional newspapers or industry-related magazines, since those backlinks add more credibility to the startups’ target audience and goal, even if they don’t necessarily have the highest domain authority. 

Therefore, determining a good domain authority differs from industry to industry. However, it’s vital to analyze your industry competitors and come up with solutions tailored to your website, based on your ranking as well as of your competitors. 

How to check domain authority?

There are multiple sites that can help you check the domain authority of your website as well as your competitors for free. In this section we provide two of our favorite tools to use to check DA.

Moz domain authority checker:

You can find Moz’s free domain authority checking tool at: Moz’s free DA checker. You just need to enter your domain’s main URL and your web page’s domain authority score will appear automatically. 

free Moz domain authority checker
Moz domain authority checking tool

This analysis tool will also provide additional information such as unique external linking domains which are linking root domains, the total number of keywords the website is ranking for (within the top 50 positions on Google), and spam score which represents the percentage of sites with similar features found to be penalized or banned by Google. In simple words, a spam score shows the number of meaningless and spammy backlinks that actually do more harm than good. 

Domain authority example, moz domain checker

Ahrefs domain checker tool:

Ahref also provides an easy to use domain checker. Their tool allows you to check any site’s DA, you can find their domain checking tool here. Additionally, if you are looking for a more in-depth report about your own website, we strongly recommend that you sign up for a free Ahrefs account which will give you a deep dive into DA and PA, as well as a bunch of other SEO tools that can help your website thrive!

Ahref domain authority checker tool
Ahref domain authority checker tool

How to increase domain authority?

Now, taking into account all that we’ve learned: how to build domain authority and rank better than your competitors?

Google has mentioned that it isn’t just about the number of links to your website but rather the quality of those links, that are relevant to your site and easier to understand what your website is about. 

Here are a few tips you can use to build domain authority for your website:

  • Quality over quantity: Your priority should be focusing on quality white hat backlinks instead of gathering hundreds of links that add no value to your website or content. A high quality backlink or external link pointing to your website from a unique domain is much more influential than a thousand bad links or spam links.
  • Analyze your backlinks: Check where your backlinks are coming from and ensure that all interesting and informative sites with backlinks have a do-follow.
  • Content is King: Highlighting the importance of content is never enough and plays a key role in how you can increase website traffic. Create quality content that will make it easier to get natural backlinks.
  • Audience-focused content: As mentioned above, content is everything and is the easiest way to attract your audience. Generate content that your audience would love and go viral quickly! The best way to do this is to focus on the key elements of content writing for SEO.
  • Update your content: If you don’t have time to produce new content, you can go back through your older content and update those pages. You can also focus on updating content on pages that have low page authority or pages with unindexed content.
  • Identify your competitors and do a comparison: You can conduct a competitor analysis to understand what kind of backlink profile you will need to outperform them.
  • Study your competitors’ backlinks: Where do your competitors get their backlinks from? Is there a way that you can get similar backlinks too?
  • Spread your web content: Use different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to create a variety of content. You can also do guest posts and write a newsletter for different online publications. Don’t limit yourself to blogs and create unique content to increase visibility.

Key takeaways: Domain authority

Domain Authority single-handedly will not increase the quantity and quality of your leads. However, working to build domain authority as well as backlinks will send signals to search engines that you are a trusted domain. Additionally, it is important to remember that every backlink you can build will help increase your website referral traffic.  

Building a good domain authority will take time, is a long-term strategy and you won’t see immediate results. However, consistency and following these guidelines will eventually help you increase your website’s visibility on search engine results to increase traffic to your website.

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