Earlier this year there was an update to the Domain Authority “algorithm” that has caused a fair amount of confusion among SEO’s and marketers alike and though you may not be directly involved in the on-going optimization of your site, it is important to at least have a cursory understanding of what is happening.
What is DA?
Let’s start by identifying exactly what a domain authority (DA) is. DA is a score that is attributed to a page on a website. That score is from 0-100 with the highest possible DA score being 100.
The score is based on a couple of factors, two of which are the number of backlinks coming to your site and the quality of those links.
There are even some that say that a DA is impacted by social media signals as well. The more followers or more importantly the more engagement you get on your social profiles the higher your DA will be.
DA also looks at things like how easy your site is to use and the quality of the content across your site. After all, even the term indicates that they are looking to see how much of an “authority” your site is on a topic.
Why Is This Important?
There seems to be some confusion about DA and it’s role in SEO. The Domain Authority score was conceived by a company called Moz a number of years ago and a number of people, even SEO companies, wrongly assume that DA is a ranking signal that is used by Google.
It is not!
The Domain Authority score is a metric that website owners can use to have some kind of a tangible score that will help in determining the “rank-ability” of a site or a website page. The challenge with DA is that it can, in some instances, be more of a distraction than a help. It’s easy to get distracted because it’s one of the few “rank-ability” type tools that seems to be relatively close to what Google is looking for, even though the DA algorithm is no where near as encompassing as Google’s Rank Brain.
How To Use DA
The Domain Authority score is a comparative score. That is to say that you should always use your DA score in comparing your site to competitors sites or as a trend analysis. Is your site’s score going up or going down.
Used in this manor, DA can help you with improving your site’s rank-ability.
Here’s an example. Let’s say that your site has more backlinks to your site than your competitors. But, your competitors site has a higher DA. In this scenario you could make the assumption that your competitor probably has better quality content on their site. That information would then lead you to the decision to improve the quality on your site.
Again, when used comparatively, DA is a valuable tool.
With the update to DA, we’re starting to hear from a number of in-house marketers and business owners that their phones are ringing with SEO’s calling trying to get them to buy services that will “boost DA” framing the service as if it will help your SEO rankings.
Don’t fall for this. Paying someone to improve your DA could help your site, but it won’t increase your ranking positions, directly.
What’s Your DA?
With all of this talk about Domain Authority are you curious what the DA of your site is? Here’s a link to the Moz tool that measures the DA of a website or a website page.