Why Should You Care About Domain Authority?

SMS Text

We’ve all heard of Alexa and Google Page Rank, but how important are they really? Everyone has their own standards of what they like to hold their web sites to, but one statistic starting to mean more and more to people is “Domain Authority.

Domain authority was created by Moz and they explain it as the following…

Domain Authority represents Moz’s best prediction for how a website will perform in search engine rankings. Use Domain Authority when comparing one site to another or tracking the “strength” of your website over time. We calculate this metric by combining all of our other link metrics—linking root domains, number of total links, MozRankMozTrust, etc.—into a single score.

To determine Domain Authority, we employ machine learning against Google’s algorithm to best model how search engine results are generated. Over 40 signals are included in this calculation. This means your website’s Domain Authority score will often fluctuate. For this reason, it’s best to use Domain Authority as a competitive metric against other sites as opposed to a historic measure of your internal SEO efforts.

In short, a bunch of different calculations, scores and metrics make up the domain authority score for your web site. This rating is on a 100 point scale and it’s much easier to boost your score from 20 to 30, then it is to jump from 70 to 80. This all makes perfect sense as you will have a much higher level of competition of great sites in the higher rating scales.

A few examples of web sites and their current domain authority score are:

There are actually a decent amount of sites that have a domain authority score of 100; Google, Facebook and ESPN to name a few.

So now the big question is, what can you do to increase the domain authority of your site?

Before we jump into what steps you can take to improve your domain authority, let us give you some references for where you can check your DA and also learn some of the basics on SEO and site rankings.

Moz recommends that you use Open Site Explorer or the MozBar, Moz’s free SEO toolbar for monitoring your DA score.


Two additional resources for learning about SEO and Domain Authority are below.

How to Increase the Domain Authority of Your Site

Since the domain authority number for your web site is created based on a wide range of variables, it will be hard for you to increase your score just based off a few methods. For this reason, it is important for you to focus on the overall progression and quality of content of your site. By doing this you will be creating an environment that provides value for your audience, while also building a long term link building and content solution as well.

Here are some quick tips for you to steadily improve your domain authority score over time. 

Get Active on Social Networks

It seems like every day social networks are becoming more important in the way they influence and help search engines to rank web sites and blogs. Facebook and Twitter have paved the way for how people can share their information and favorite web content. Never has it been easier to connect to over a billion users worldwide and start a following of your own. Social networks are a great way for you to engage with your audience, while also building community and fan pages for your sites. There has also been a lot of talk about how/if Google+ will influence search rankings. If you currently do not have a social profile for each of your web sites, it is advised that you start thinking about making one.

Write High Quality Guest Post Content

If you look at every successful web site out there, at the end of the day it all comes down to quality content. What do the largest news, sports, financial and media sites have out there that others don’t? A constant supply of amazing content! This is what you need to focus on to create a successful brand and site on the internet. People love content that is catered to them and when it provides insightful or amazing information, they will usually share it with their friends, social networks, and even back to it if they have a web site or blog.

Being an amazing writer can really get you far in the world of online marketing and web sites. If you can write well, you can get exposure anywhere… even from some of the top blogs on the internet!

Connecting with Well Known Bloggers

Speaking of top blogs on the internet! With millions of new web sites and blogs going live every day, how are you supposed to compete with the other high level sites out there? There is no reason for anyone to link to your site and give you a chance… or is there? One of the best ways to bring new audiences and high value links to your web site is by connecting with well-known bloggers within your industry. It’s not just internet marketing and SEO that has well-known players with high level blogs, every industry has them and it’s just a matter of searching them out and providing them with amazing quality content that they will want to publish on their site. Follow these best guest blogging practices and in exchange for your time and content, you will usually get a backlink from their site back to yours.

Focus on Natural and Strong Link Building

Last but not least… as amazing as the content is on your web site, we still need juicy backlinks to keep the traffic flowing and the search engines happy. The good news is that you don’t need a lot of trashy low quality links, and the truth is you actually don’t want them. Instead, you should be focusing on SEO best practices. Focus on creating quality content that people will link to naturally. Don’t flood your sites with low quality and specific anchor text-based links. This is exactly what the search engines are looking for and they will penalize sites that are running off of these practices.

There you have it, an awesome breakdown of what “Domain Authority” is, how to find the DA of your site, and four quick tips to increase your score over time. The common theme among all of these tips is that quality content and backlinks are king. Focus on your long-term goals and build a legitimate plan for your web site and your domain authority will rise right alongside with the success of your site!


*Editors Note:  This post went up under someone else’s bio but has been changed back and corrected.

Krystal Shannon

Krystal Shannon

SEO Consultant
Krystal Shannon is an SEO consultant based out of Boston. She specializes in SEO, SEM, and Online Branding. If you want to connect with Krystal... Read Full Bio
Krystal Shannon
Krystal Shannon

Latest posts by Krystal Shannon (see all)

Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • Really???
    MOZ results are imaginary metrics that are not remotely in sync with Google search results.

    Look at the #2 item in the list, foxnews.com
    With an authority figure of 97 one would think that the domain would at least come up in the top 3 but it is at #5.

    Google does factor “authority” but it is part of their PageRank metrics and has little discernible influence on search positions.

  • Domain authority is just another key metric that is going to keep playing a part in how web sites are rated. It looks like Google PageRank is making it’s way out the window.. so DA will be even more important.

    As the owner of multiple large web sites, I will agree that it does take a massive amount of time and effort to build up sites with a massive DA that actually competes against other leaders within your industry. Through the use of all the mentioned tips and methods you will be able to take widespread action in the growth of your site and see results across the board.

    • Why does my rss feed show first Krystal as the author then Zac as the author of this post?

      Who actually wrote it?

      • It’s under Krystal! Was a messup that’s been fixed! Good catch.

  • Krystal Shannon

    Reg- actually domain authority does play a huge factor in where things rank on Google. As we all know there are hundreds of factors that go into why results rank where they rank, but authority of the domain where a piece of content is hosted on is a huge factor.

    I agree Zac, thanks:-)

  • Is there a detailed analysis of the factors that affect domain authority, like a research paper or 101 from moz that goes into depth on these factors.

  • I agree with you krystal that doamin authority is one of the main KPIs of google ranking and i wanna add one more point that is page authority of the page you are linking with.

    I want to add one of my personal experience that domain authority increases by increasing the numbers of likes, retweets, +1, reshares, etc. of your content not by increasing the number of backlinks. might be i’m wrong but it’s my personal opinion. Anyhow you cannot avoid quality and natural link building to get higher SERPs,

    At last nice post Krystal Shannon

  • Quantum PC Support

    I am a big fan of MOZ Bar because it shows instant the Domain authority and page authority to users. In earlier days we have to measure a site with many parameters. But now by moz tools bar domain authority we can decide which domain is good or which is not. And thanks for mentioning the tricks for obtaining or gaining domain authority.

  • With PageRank’s future uncertain, I think DA is the only good metric to look foreword to. Nice article, am pretty much doing everything that is mentioned on the post and with every strong guest post that i publish – i see the over all traffic going up.

  • Buddy

    Well if domain authority plays such a huge role explain why websites with zero DA can rank on first page of google?

    “What do the largest news, sports, financial and media sites have out there that others don’t?” huge numbers of content writers and a budget to match

  • Souvik mallick

    Very nice post @Krystal Shannon. But you didn’t mentioned anything about page authority, its linked with domain authority and also carries great importance. Gives you a instant preview of the quality of the page your backlink is actually residing. PA metrics comes very handy when you are doing manual backlink removal.

    Another point is Trust flow and citation flow of majestic seo, Both are same as DA and PA of Moz but its only used by majestic seo. Would have loved to see that mentioned on the post but nevertheless its a very good post. Oh BTW, would love to add one point to your guest blog posting topic. Content is of very good importance in guest blog post but the site on the guest blog post is made should be checked properly along with its authority profile check before doing the guest blog post. Sites with better authority than your site is always better to do the guest blog post rather than doing guest blog post on 10 low DA sites, its of vital importance when it comes to backlink.

  • I think there is nothing to do to improve domain authority only we you have to keep your domain active.

    There is not any strategy to increase domain authority upto 80 within 1 or 2 years.

  • Rajesh Namase

    Google has not updated their PageRank from last 7-8 months, that’s why people started using DA as major factor to check site quality.

    Thanks Krystal for sharing a ways to increase Domain Authority, building quality backlinks is main thing.


  • Howard

    I am still under the impression that Domain authority is not the be all and end all of SEO, I use MOZ and compared many sites within the same sector targeting the same keywords.

    Moz may show a site as high ranking with lots of linkage. In reality within google that site may perform considerably worse than the site will low domain authority.

    I am sure that this is down to freshness of the site, it seems the more a sites content is updated the more prominent it will be in google.

  • James H.

    Great thoughts and resources, Krystal! When it comes to building Domain Authority, I like what David McSweeney from Top5SEO had to say about getting traffic — “To build your Google traffic, forget about Google.”

    In other words, he’s basically saying the same as you in a way. By not stressing so much about how to rank in Google, you’re actually helping yourself build strong links naturally. By focusing on quality content for your readers and not for Google’s algorithm, you’re also helping yourself rank with all of these new changes.

    It’s a great article with lots of good thoughts. I strongly recommend reading it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • johan hiltrup

    Thanks for your good information Krystal, I feel that the MOZ domain authority gives a transparent look at the state of your site, and with google I never know if I’m doing the right things …

    best Regards


  • I believe the fact with you krystal that doamin power is one of the primary KPIs of search engines position and i want to add one more point that is web page power of the site you are connecting with.

  • A simple question: What Domain Authority number would tell me that website is “good” – or at least not bad (fake blogs, dumb wordpress sites without any relavant content, websites with copy/paste articles from random sources). There must be a number. As far as I checked some sites I could say there is no 100% rule but seems that DA under 24 shows a website is “nothing special”. What do you think?

    • DA is a score given to your site’s root level domain based on its link popularity. It has nothing to do with site’s content like irrelevant content or copy and paste contents. Moz, doesn’t check site’s content to determine the DA, it check the link popularity and all other metrics contributing to your site’s link popularity. With DA you can just check a site’s domain trust and backlink strength but not that site’s content quality. Manually checking content quality would be a better option.

      Honestly mate, there is no exact number to point a site “nothing special”. The higher the DA score the better authority it has. Brand new site have zero DA and with the passage of time and quality backlinks it gains its authority and higher DA. However, every time higher DA doesn’t mean that site will have better ranking in SERP. If you still ask for a score then as per my observation 30-35 DA is a decent DA score and if the site has good trust, then its most likely to preform better.

  • Domain authority is just a small piece of the pie.

  • Hi Krystal, indeed many have noticed that page rank is no longer updated as frequently as it was. With that in mind it seems that domain authority is another solid indicator of all round domain strength.

  • Hi all, I’m a product guy at Moz. I see that there is a great discussion in the comments about what factors play a critical role in ranking a page in a Google SERP. Google uses over 200 unique factors in deciding how to order a search results page. We do a yearly survey of 100+ industry experts and ask them to stack rank the factors that they think correlate the highest to rankings. 18 out of the top 19 results all have to do with links pointing to a page/domain or subdomain. The one outlier is # of Google +1s (Google’s Matt Cutts has publicly rejected this claim). You can see the complete ranking factors here: http://moz.com/search-ranking-factors.

  • adhi

    I still doubt regarding the affect of Domain Authority, Page Authority, Trust Flow, Citation Flow and PR to Google SERP after Penguin 2.1
    Let me take one case study:
    Keyword: “baju hamil” (Indonesian Language, mean: maternity clothes)
    Search Engine: google com and google co.id
    Results about 12,600,000
    Site to be analized: “mimihamil (dot) com”
    Position in SERP with keyword: “baju hamil” is around 15
    Summary Site Profile:
    DA=1, PA=1, PR=N/A, Citation Flow=0, Trust Flow=0, Alexa Rank=N/A, Age < 1 year
    If you see at Google Result, you can find several site with much better DA, PA, Trust Flow, etc. below its position. Can you explain this phenomena?
    Best Regards,
    SEO Starter

    • Adhi – sounds like what you’re seeing is a search engine working the way it’s supposed to – rather than ranking results based on site credibility alone, they’ve taken into account keyword optimization to deliver what the user is really looking for. It could also be location based or customized results if you’re logged into your G+ account and are just searching yourself. It sounds silly but many people think they are ranked higher this way when really they are only seeing their own Google+ contributions thrown back at them.

  • What’s the difference between Domain authority and Page authority?
    Just checked on Moz and the same link have more PA as compare to DA,How’s that possible?

    • Both PA and DA are different metrics. DA calculates root level domain or subdomain authority, Whereas PA calculates authority for a particular page. Both the metric is calculated by combining all link metrics(over 40 signals and metrics are analyzed) like total number of backlinks, total number of linking root domain, MozRank, MozTrust and other metrics into a single combined score. So when u are comparing a site, its DA is shown based on root level domain(nothing attached to root level domain like http or www) and PA is shown based on that particular page(including all http and www). I have written a recent post on authority metrics. Check it out and you will know the difference between all the metrics.

  • It’s my prediction that DA/PA will replace PageRank beginning in late 2014/early 2015 after Google finally admits that visible PR is permanently broken and stops spending money to fix it. By the way, I get sick of hearing how “useless” all website ranking metrics are from daft commenters the web over – those who make such claims clearly have never sold anything online, advertising or otherwise. What makes the metric meaningful is only the prospective advertiser’s impression that it is meaningful. As long as PR, Alexa and DA mean something to the people who pay us, they mean something to us.

  • Nice explanation, but having a doubt that how much time it takes to update overall DA.

  • Is it possible that any domain having a few backlinks(around100) and it is on 1st page of SERP?

  • Thanks for great post. I had about given up on page rank from Google and now within the last few days, they did an update. Now I am trying to weigh
    -domain authority
    -page rank
    -trust flow
    to figure out how to judge expired domain purchases. Looks like I should give most weight to domain authority.

  • Like Buddy commented above, why is it that websites with no DA at all are still able to rank in first page above authority sites? It seems that nobody knows for sure what role does DA play in google ranking. At least in low competition niches.

  • I think that getting backlinks from high DA domains would greatly help to increase DA because i have seen sites with less than 20 backlinks having DA of 40+.

  • Domain authority is a great metric for conventional websites, and it should matter for app storefronts. App developers are expected to build ecosystems around their apps. Evaluating an app store’s DA can help developers determine which are most useful for submission, promotion, etc.

  • Thanks krystal for this detailed article. I like Moz matrices (DA and PA), but just like google PR I think they decided to hide the real formula (algorithm) to maintain its relevance. Its obvious that no one has the right information about them.

  • I think that getting backlinks from high DA domains would greatly help to increase DA because i have seen sites with less than 20 backlinks having DA of 40+.

  • I am not sure whether Google Page Rank is an accurate reflection anymore as this has decreased for my website, yet my domain authority has increased at pretty much the same time. I have focused on Google+ posts, writing quality content (more frequently) and being more active on Twitter and Facebook to echo some of your thoughts. At least I now know I am on the right track to increase my website profile as an ‘amateur’ webmaster by running a website and being self-employed at the same time. Some sound advice. Thanks. Nick