Domain Authority is often used by businesses as an SEO health-check KPI, but what does it actually mean? Does it help boost your Google rankings? What tactics help improve it?
What is your Domain Authority Score?
Domain Authority was originally created by Moz as a modelling tool that predicts how likely a domain is to rank highly on search engines such as Google.
Today, other Digital Research tools such as SEMRush and Ahrefs have developed their own models, but it’s worth noting that the algorithm is different on each platform, so using one digital research tool consistently to measure your Domain Authority Score is more valuable than using multiple platforms. To illustrate, here are the results for the above website in Ahrefs :
Does your Domain Authority Score help improve your Google rankings?
It’s important to note that Domain Authority is not calculated by Google, so is not in itself a ranking factor. However, it is a useful site health metric, particularly as these tools make it easy to compare your Domain Authority versus your competitors.
A low Domain Authority Score is a call to action to review your SEO activity.
What is a good Domain Authority Score?
Websites are scored 1-100, with 100 the top score. At time of writing, even Google’s own score is 94, but YouTube does score 100 – only the top websites in the world score over 90.
New websites will score in the single figures, so need SEO strategies in place to build their score. If you are a completely new business, here’s our blog on Digital Marketing for start-ups
Otherwise, 20-50 is the range we see most frequently for established sites, but what good looks like varies from industry to industry, so you should always benchmark against your competitors and not the mode scores.
One of the key factors driving your Domain Authority Score is backlinks – with quality assessed as well as quantity. If you are in the kind of industry where you win backlinks from high authority sites such as Government sites, Google, Wikipedia or Statement of record newspapers, your site will naturally score higher. If you are a local business, a backlink from your local Chamber of Commerce may be more valuable to your readers – always think useful to your readers as the priority.
What is Page Authority?
Domain Authority looks at the overall site, however, Google surfaces results a page at a time, so understanding the page authority of your key landing pages can give you great insight into where you need to focus some SEO attention.
How to improve your Domain Authority Score
Backlinks are the key component, so building quality backlinks is the priority for improving your score. Google explains that it assesses relevancy of backlinks to your site content above the quantity of backlinks – it’s looking for links that help understanding of your site. Here are some tips to consider :
- Quality over quantity when it comes to backlinks. Audit your backlink profile regularly.
- Seek out partners who give “Do follow” high authority backlinks
- Create good quality content that other businesses will want to refer to
- Focus your content on your target personas – the more relevant it is to them, the more likely they are to share it
- Collaborate with other relevant businesses – guest blogs and jointly written content are a great source of both valuable content and backlinks
- Refresh your content – revisit your best content and make sure it stays relevant
- Spread the word. Google looks for Social Signals, i.e. that your content is being shared across multiple platforms.
- Regularly check your score versus your competitors and analyse the results
Improving your Domain Authority takes time, so don’t expect immediate results.
Domain Authority is a useful measure of your SEO performance, so is worth tracking month on month and versus your competitor set. It doesn’t show the whole picture though, so don’t stop monitoring your other SEO KPIs so that you have a complete picture as to where you can improve.