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Understanding Domain Authority, How It Affects Your Website, & How To Improve It

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Table of Content

  1. Understanding Domain Authority
  2. How To Check Your Domain Authority Score
  3. How Domain Authority Score Is Measured
  4. What Domain Authority Score Should You Try To Achieve
  5. Increasing Domain Authority Score
    5.1 Off-page SEO
    5.2 On-page SEO
    5.3 Technical SEO
  6. Conclusion

Understanding Domain Authority

Developed by Moz, Domain Authority is a metric to measure the ability of a domain to rank in search engines’ result pages (SERPs) compared to competitors. Domain Authority score is displayed between 1-100. A higher number means a better ability to rank higher. This is why increasing your Domain Authority score should be one of your SEO goals for your website.

For example, a website with a Domain Authority rating of 90 is more likely to rank higher than a website with a Domain Authority rating of 19.

Domain Authority is not the only metric that calculates the ability of a domain to rank on search engines. Ahrefs developed a metric called Domain Rating, while SEMrush developed a metric called Authority Score. Although all metrics similarly indicate how well a domain’s ability to rank. Domain Authority, Domain Rating & Authority Score have different calculations and indicators to determine their score, this is why your domain will receive different scores. A study by Moz reported that Domain Authority is the most correlated metric with websites’ ranking on SERPs. This is the reason why we are discussing Domain Authority instead of the other metrics.

The difference between Domain Authority to Page Authority is that Domain Authority measures the whole domain whereas Page Authority only measures individual pages.

Note: Domain Authority is not an official ranking indicator for SERPs (such as Google), however, it calculates and then predicts your website’s ability to rank on SERPs in comparison to your competitors. Hence, it is a beneficial metric to predict website performance.

How To Check Your Domain Authority Score

To check the Domain Authority Score of your website, your competitors, or any domain out there, you can simply enter a domain link on Moz’s Domain Analysis. If you are using a browser such as Google Chrome, you may download an extension developed by Moz; MozBar, which allows you to check the Domain Authority Score of most websites you are currently visiting with a click of a button. The only requirement is for you to create an account.

For Domain Rating, you may visit Ahrefs’ website authority checker. For Authority Score, you may use the domain section of SEMrush’s free analytic tool.

How Domain Authority Score Is Measured

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To put it simply, Domain Authority calculation is a very sophisticated process. This involves using machine learning algorithms to predict how often one domain is used compared to its competitors during a search in different SERPs. Factors such as the number of unique linking domains (backlinks – root domains), the quality of those backlinks, the overall quantity of backlinks (inbound links), and so on.

Domain Authority scores fluctuate a lot due to different signals received by Moz’s algorithm. For example, if your website’s backlinks remain the same while your competitors’ backlinks increase, you might see a decrease in your Domain Authority score.

Note: Blackhat practices such as spammy or paid backlinks will not increase your Domain Authority. Moz can easily identify which of your backlinks are legit.

Read More: The Dangers Of Using Black Hat SEO In Your Business

What Domain Authority Score Should You Try To Achieve

When it comes to the Domain Authority score, there is no black-and-white answer. Domain Authority score is relative, and ‘good’ or ‘bad’ should be determined by comparing your website to your competitors. A well-established authoritative website with loads of backlinks will definitely receive a high Domain Authority score while a newly launched site will always start with a score of 1.

However, increasing the Domain Authority score is much harder when a website already has a high score number compared to those with a lower score. For example, increasing a score of 80 to 81 is much harder compared to increasing a score of 30 to 31.

Tips: Instead of stressing out trying to reach a Domain Authority score of 100, you should instead focus on scoring higher than your direct competitors. See Domain Authority score as a Comparative Metric.

Increasing Domain Authority Score

Increasing Domain Authority Score
  1. Off-page SEO
  2. On-page SEO
  3. Technical SEO

1. Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO means optimizing elements that are not on your websites. Your off-page SEO efforts to increase Domain Authority should be focused on acquiring good-quality backlinks. Backlinks from highly authoritative domains such as governmental & educational domains will increase the trustworthiness of your website in the eye of SERPs such as Google, this is what we meant by good-quality backlinks. Building a good relationship with highly authoritative websites is important to continuously receive good-quality backlinks.

Spammy or paid backlinks (black hat practices) will not increase your Domain Authority score and may, in fact, be harmful to your domain. Google & other SERPs is very smart at identifying black hat practices while Moz developed a metric called ‘spam score’ to help you identify these back hat practices. Our recommendation is to remove spammy or paid backlinks. Finally, you should try to get backlinks that generate a lot of traffic. 


To learn more about backlinks and their best practices, we have written a blog for an introductory guide to backlinks, where we also discuss tips for acquiring good quality backlinks.

Tips: You should try to get good-quality backlinks instead of going for a high quantity of low-quality backlinks.

2. On-page SEO

On-page SEO means optimizing elements that are on your websites and usually visible to users. This includes your content, the title of your page, and so on. When off-page SEO is focused on backlinks, on-page SEO effort to increase Domain Authority score is focused on internal linking. Internal linking is hyperlinks directed at the same domain. For example, a website gives a hyperlink on a blog page to another.

The benefits of internal linking include sharing page authority with one another, giving SERPs crawl bot an easier time to find your pages, and improving user experience. Besides internal linking, you must make sure that your page’s title tag, meta descriptions, media elements, and content are SEO optimized.

To learn more in-depth about internal linking and its best practices, we also have a blog that introduces you to internal linking best practices.

3. Technical SEO

As the name suggests, this is the technical aspect of your SEO. Simplifying the goal of your technical optimization is for SERPs to understand your pages and index them. For increasing the Domain Authority score, you must first tell SERP that your website is secured or safe for users. To do this, you need to migrate your website to HTTPS.

Here are 3 things on your checkbox for your technical optimization: submit your website to SERPs webmaster tools, submit your XML sitemap to SERPs, and make sure your robots.txt doesn’t encounter any problems. Page speed is a direct ranking factor for google as it directly affects the user’s experience. Optimizing your page speed to have the lowest loading period will increase your Domain Authority score as well as potentially reduce your bounce rate.

Tips: Use Google Search Console to make sure that your pages are indexed, you may also request individual pages to be indexed on Google Search Console.

Conclusion

Just like the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, building your Domain Authority score does take a lot of time and effort. Domain Authority is a very important measurement for your SEO & website success, however, it should not be the only indicator. Comparing your Domain Authority score with your competitors and studying their websites & backlinks is a good way to improve your website. There are many opportunities that you can make by studying them!

TL;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read): Domain Authority should be a comparative metric. It is not an official ranking factor, but rather a prediction made from complex measurement by machine learning.

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