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  • What is Domain Authority? How to Increase Domain Authority

    What is Domain Authority? How to Increase Domain Authority

    Domain Authority, a number to determine the strength of a website, is a rating system developed by Moz.com.

    It’s not a ranking factor, but rather, a useful metric for evaluating multiple factors that predict search engine rankings. A higher score indicates a site will have better positions in search engine results pages.

    Like some other independent ranking systems, domain authority scores range between 1 and 100. Similar to Alexa, Ahrefs and Google PageRank (which was effectively shelved several years ago), Domain authority (DA) is a prediction that combines a variety of link metrics to create a score to show you how powerful, trustworthy and authoritative your website is. Domain authority also predicts how well websites will rank in the search engines. Search results tend to favor high authority domains, so it’s worth the effort to generate more authority.

    Specifics of Moz’s actual domain authority calculation are proprietary and are based on evaluating multiple factors. However, the results are pretty simple. DA scores range from 1-100, where 1 is a low score and 100 is the highest score possible. Domain authority is a score you want to be familiar with because it can impact your business in many ways, including your search traffic. It’s not a score search engines factor into ranking, but it is connected to how your pages rank in the search engine results pages.

    When it comes to ranking in the search engine result pages, website authority matters. Your domain authority score matters. As more and more webmasters begin to pay attention to their domain authority, many have wondered what it takes to increase their domain authority score. It takes more than a strong link profile to earn a high DA score.

    Earning a high DA score isn’t something you can influence like Google’s algorithm. For instance, with SEO, you want to generate high quality links to establish a strong link profile. Link profile growth is important, but you can generate all the authoritative backlinks you want and still have a low DA score. There are many other metrics involved in calculating a DA score and your site’s link profile is just one. Before we jump into the steps to achieve a high domain authority, let’s take a quick glance at how this domain rating formula works.

    In the SEO world, authoritative backlinks are important, but domain authority and page authority are the biggest indicators for how well a page of your site ranks in search engines for a relevant query. This is especially true of Google’s algorithm. Accordingly, search experts prioritize domain authority and page authority above all else.

    Sites with more authority (domain authority and page authority) tend to get better rankings. For the most part, there’s overlap here—a strong domain authority will lend itself to each of your individual pages, and any actions you take to increase the page authority of a specific page of your site will likely also contribute to your domain authority (in a smaller way).

    Authority scores are critical to track. Achieving a good domain authority score is easier to achieve when you track your score over time. It does take effort to earn more authority, and time is definitely a factor. The factors responsible for increasing your domain authority and page authority are diverse, and sometimes hard to improve. For example, the age and history of your domain is a major influencer in how authoritative it seems—but you can’t just tack on years to your experience to give it a worthwhile boost and expect a higher domain rating. Instead, most ongoing SEO programs rely on inbound, one-way link building as third-party indicators that a domain is valuable. The idea is, the more trustworthy the inbound links that point to your site, the more trustworthy your site will be. This is the basis for domain authority and page authority.
    Moz Link Analysis

    (Image Source: Moz)

    Domain Authority metrics report on domain performance rankings on Google search results. Moz Analytics campaigns as well as Mozscape API contribute to those rankings. Score compilation of over 40 signals, including reporting from MozRank, MozTrust and Mozscape web index inform Domain Authority correlation of rankings. Per Moz’s latest update:

    Rather than relying on a complex linear model, we’ve made the switch to a neural network. This offers several benefits including a much more nuanced model which can detect link manipulation.

    We have greatly improved upon the ranking factors behind Domain Authority. In addition to looking at link counts, we’ve now been able to integrate our proprietary Spam Score and complex distributions of links based on quality and traffic, along with a bevy of other factors.

    These fundamental improvements to Domain Authority will deliver a better, more trustworthy metric than ever before. We can remove spam, improve correlations, and, most importantly, update Domain Authority relative to all the changes that Google makes.

    Domain Authority Scoring Metrics

    Domain Authority score indices are a 100 point, logarithmic scale. Domain authority measures how well your site will rank in the SERPs. The more your domain authority score advances, the easier it is to improve it. Thus, growing a score closer to 100 rather than a score on the other end of the spectrum is more expedient. Comparison of search engine rankings offers a combined metric for aggregate performance modeling measure of your dedicated domain. The combined metric approach uses link scaling (i.e. linking root domains, number of links, MozTrust and MozRank) in reporting of a single score.

    MozRank provides the global link popularity score for SEOmoz compares the ranking power or relative link value between URLs. With continuous updates, MozRank outperforms Google’s PageRank metric in frequency and precision. Average MozRank for a domain: 3.00.

    The global link trust score for MozTrust measures link trust rather than value. The measurement between the distance of the seeded trust source on the Web, and a given page determines the trust score. Seed trust are generally recognized, lead institutions and organizations such as governmental departments, not-for-profit organizations, scientific associations and university websites.

    Other link metrics include measurement of total links, external followed links, LRDs, followed linking root domains and linking C-blocks. Metric analysis of total links reports on all links. With total links metrics, more than a single link from the same URL is still treated as a single page. External followed links are measured from the external RDs for pages on a domain.

    LRDs are the number of unique RDs containing at least a single linking page to a domain. Followed linking RDs are the number of domains with at least a single followed link for any page page signaled from the RD. Linking C-blocks or group domains are administrate clusters of domains and the links between them. More than one domain on the same C-Block indicates ownership by the same party.

    Domain Authority Reporting Analytics

    SERP results can be manipulated in co-efficient analyses in queries about domain wide rankings. Taken further, comparative frequencies in linear regression report median performance of domains across time. Prediction of SERP ordinals is also availed in Domain Authority, for reporting of higher to lower score values. Domain Authority has the capability to report on large aggregate datasets. For instance, aggregate metric reporting on 10,000 SERP can be analyzed for comparison of a single or multiple domains.

    If you’re using an official domain authority checker, the DA scores will be fairly accurate. When using a good DA checker, domain Authority accuracy ratings are said to be in the 70% range. While hardly a normal standard deviation from mean performance in the conventional sense, self-reporting by the application is actual rather than trending in comparison with similar search engine analytic providers. Best proximate scores to domain-specific link metrics are possible by eliminating keyword specific features (i.e. anchor text, and on-page keyword usage). Scoring will then report query-independent or non-keyword-based ranking inputs rather than random selection.

    If you’d like to learn more about domain authority and what other metrics go into generating a higher score, there are resources available. For more information about Moz Domain Authority Scoring and other Moz software products, visit: www.moz.com

    How Often Does Moz Update Domain Authority Metrics?

    Link analysis data in Domain Authority taken directly from the Moz Mozscape index which is updated every 3 to 4 weeks. However, now Moz is updating their Domain Authority metrics in real-time, as links are recognized. This means you can use their domain authority checker tool more often. The Mozscape index populates the data field with key information in the SEOmoz Web App for each campaign. Moz tracking in Domain Authority offers result on the top 50 rankings. Although there is some delay in data population updates due to the now over 20,000 campaigns currently tracked in moz tracks, users can also obtain new domain authority data from Open Site Explorer.

    Domain Authority is a marketing analytics software designed to assist in improving website domain and SEO advertising search engine ranking performance. Improve social media outreach and increase brand awareness connected to your domain with Domain Authority’s compendium of Web-based power analytics tools. Improve the position of your domain across search engines with Domain Authority.

    Moz members can join the 300,000+ community of SEO marketing specialists and Web analysts to find out more applications for Domain Authority scoring. Members have access to Moz support services, as well as industry experts in a Mozinar. Benefit from knowledge sharing about Domain Authority scoring and reap the most rewards from reporting of domain performance against competitors.

    Signs Your Site Has High Authority

    Site authority is invisible, and difficult to precisely quantify. Some companies have tried to produce a definitive “authority” score, like Moz’s MozRank, but since Google doesn’t explicitly publish its ranking algorithm, it’s tough to know exactly what goes into a calculation of authority.

    Moz’s domain authority checker is one of the most useful SEO tools around. Make sure you know what factors contribute to high DA scores before you make any changes to your site.

    That being said, since there are multiple factors that get considered in the domain authority rating system, there are some important signs that only indicate sites with high domain authority:

    1. Your Domain Is Old and Established.

    Google doesn’t exactly frown on new players, but it does favor older, more established domains over new, unproven ones. These sites are more likely to earn high DA scores. Like it or not, if you’ve only been around for a year or so, you’ll have a hard time ranking against a major competitor with 10 years of domain history (assuming all other factors are equal). There’s no real substitute for this quality, and you can’t push time forward, so remain patient and work on establishing the other qualities on this list while your domain gradually earns more experience here. Eventually, you’ll earn domain authority.

    While you wait, work on acquiring more linking domains and raising your search engine ranking score. A higher score will be essential for increasing your domain authority. Make sure all the backlinks you have are desirable and you have enough external links to other authority sites. Specifically, if you can’t generate more inbound links on your own, hire SEO specialists to get the best results and the high-quality links you want. They’ll have better access to high quality linking domains. With enough time and hard work, you’ll see your domain authority rise.

    Increasing your page authority and website authority should be part of your overall SEO strategy, as this will help you rank higher in search results and achieve a higher domain authority. DA is a score developed by Moz and isn’t part of Google. Google’s algorithm doesn’t care about domain authority. However, even though domain authority isn’t a Google ranking factor, it’s a good way to see how much authority you carry and how well your pages are expected to rank. Although actual search results vary based on personalization, domain authority still gives you a good indication of how well you’ll rank.

    Older domains tend to have a strong backlink profile with quality referring domains. Some sites even have multiple backlinks from the same linking domains. Quality inbound links are a major Google ranking factor, and they also impact your website’s domain authority. You can acquire high-quality, relevant backlinks over time with a good link building strategy.

    If you want to see what your backlink profile looks like, use our free backlink checker tool.

    2. You’ve Posted New Content Frequently and Consistently for Years.

    Google heavily favors sites that post new content on a regular basis. A site that has posted a new article every day for the past five years will have a much higher domain authority than a year-old site that occasionally and sporadically posts new content. However, be warned that quantity isn’t everything here—in fact, a site that posts occasional, yet high-valued content will likely earn more domain authority than a site that posts constant, yet low-valued content. Always opt for publishing high quality content. When you do this, you’ll start earning backlinks naturally from other websites.

    Quality content is relevant content, and relevant content is a Google ranking factor in the sense that Google recognizes and will suppress poorly written content. This is why content marketing plays an important role in earning domain authority. Google’s algorithm knows the difference between good and bad content.

    Also, be sure you also include internal links spread throughout your content. Internal links won’t impact your domain authority score, but they will help search engines index your content better, which can help your DA scores.

    Make an effort to create quality content and post new material consistently, but make sure it’s original, informative, or otherwise valuable to your users. This is the most reliable way to increase your domain authority score.

    3. You Link Out to Other Authorities.

    It’s impossible to exist as an authority unless you also cite outside authorities. Imagine turning in a research paper in college without a list of references; the same principle applies here. You can certainly post your own thoughts, opinions, and knowledge, but if you want to exhibit yourself as an authority – if you want a high DA score – you’ll have to occasionally cite valuable outside sources. University and government sites, with .edu and .gov domain extensions, are good here, as are major industry experts. To increase your domain authority, try to back up all of your claims with pre-existing research, even if those claims are original.

    4. Other Authorities Link Back to You.

    To increase your domain authority score, even more important than your links to outside sources are the links your outside sources point to you. Quality backlinks are a major ranking factor. An external domain linking to yours is an indication that your domain has provided original value worth citing, which immediately factors into your overall domain authority. Of course, not all links here are equal—links from high-authority sites, sites within your niche, and relevant backlinks from a diverse range of sources are all more valuable. Try to get multiple links from multiple authoritative linking domains. Work to increase the value and volume of these links over time by syndicating your greatest content and offering guest posts for external blogs. Your domain authority should rise naturally as you acquire more of these authoritative links.

    5. Your Content Is Concise, Informative, and Specific.

    Onsite content can factor heavily into your overall domain authority, so make sure each of your pages is up-to-date and well-written. Improving your domain authority depends on this. The three most important factors for onsite content are conciseness, which means you can’t include any fluff, informational appeal, which means your content must be valuable, and specific, which means your content should be written for your industry and target audience. To get a higher domain authority, you need great content.

    Look at other websites in your industry for ideas. To achieve higher ranks for certain topics, you’ll have to pay attention to your precise phrasing, but for domain authority, good, descriptive content is plenty. This will also help improve your search engine ranking score.

    6. Your Coding Structures Are Modern and Properly Formatted.

    The technical structure of your site needs to be up to modern standards if you want a high domain authority score. Proper code isn’t a ranking factor, but poor code will have a negative impact on your SEO strategy success. Your site map and navigation should be clear and decipherable. Your title tags and descriptions should be adequately and concisely filled out. You should also be including org microformatting, to ensure Google can pull rich snippets from your site. If you’re concerned you aren’t providing Google what it needs from a technical perspective, you can always log into Google Webmaster Tools and run some auditing scripts to see if there’s anything that needs correcting. Although it won’t directly impact your domain authority, it will contribute.

    7. Your Site Is Fully Functional on All Devices.

    This is a big one, especially now that the majority of online search traffic comes from mobile devices. To score high on domain authority your site needs to be responsive, or at least optimized for mobile, and all your images, video, and content should load quickly and completely across all web browsers and devices. High domain authority sites work across all devices. If Google detects any hiccups, errors, or ridiculously slow loading speeds, it could cause your domain authority to take a hit. On the other hand, if your site loads fully and quickly on every conceivable device, you’ll enjoy a much higher domain authority.

    Don’t skip building a high domain rating

    Once you’ve gone through and used all of the free SEO tools to get an idea of where your website stands in the search engine result pages, it’s time to focus on your domain rating. Although the actual domain authority calculation hasn’t been revealed to the public, and domain rating isn’t a Google ranking factor, it’s an important predictive metric to watch.

    Increasing your domain rating will only happen over time. You can’t just generate a bunch of links from high authority referring domains and expect to get an immediate high score. Moz domain authority is something that must be earned by your trustworthiness in the search engines. To improve your domain score, improve your site’s elements related to trust. Your website’s domain authority will naturally increase as your site becomes a more trusted resource on the internet.


    There are no shortcuts when it comes to building your Domain Authority. By implementing these tips, you should hopefully be able to see an increase in your domain authority score over time.

    Want more information on generating inbound links? Head over to our comprehensive guide on building backlinks here: SEO Link Building Guide

    Chief Marketing Officer at SEO Company
    In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International. As a technical SEO strategist, Sam leads all paid and organic operations teams for client SEO services, link building services and white label SEO partnerships. He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building. Connect with Sam on Linkedin.
    Samuel Edwards