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What is Domain Authority? How does it work?

When you visit a webpage for information, how do you know that you can trust the source?

After all, anybody can start a blog, or post on a forum sharing anything they want. So how do you know if something is valid and actually has true relevance to you?

Usually, you will depend on the search engines to give you the best results. One of the key factors that will determine how well a website ranks is ‘domain authority’.

Domain Authority (also known as domain rank) is the ‘value’ that a search engine gives to a specific website address (called a domain name). Page Authority is similar, but it focuses on a specific page ranking in the search engines.

How Domain Authority was invented

The term domain authority was coined by SEO consultants Moz, who put together a tool to track over 40 different ranking factors that show the likelihood of a specific website ranking higher. Essentially, Moz domain authority ranks a website on a scale of 1-100 (with 100 being the highest and 1 the lowest). So the higher the domain authority of a website, the higher it’s ranking in search engines tends to be.

Domain Authority is Comparative

It’s easy to see that your site has a domain authority that is lower than 50 and assume that you are somehow ‘failing’. But the reality is that your ranking is being compared to similar domains in your field. So if you have a ranking of 40, and a close competitor has a ranking of 35, that’s good. It means your website will likely rank higher in search results than theirs. But the reverse is also true if you are ranking 30 and a competitor is at 50, then you likely to rank lower.

Ranking Factors for Domain Authority

Moz’s own search algorithm gauges the quality of any given site based on a huge combination of factors. Without getting into technical minutiae, it looks at how the SERPs rank your site and then compare it against backlinks and a whole range of other machine learning factors. If this sounds confusing, don’t worry, there are simple things you can do to grow your domain authority.

Backlinks help build better Domain Authority

Just the same as word-of-mouth in marketing is the most effective source, online you can count on backlinks to show the authority of certain pages. This means that if a lot of people find a particular page valuable and relevant, they are more likely to link to it. The better the authority of the pages that link to it, the better the domain authority becomes. It’s like an expert saying that someone else is also an expert. You are more likely to trust the judgment of an expert in a field.

Relevance and value should come first

Despite the temptation to try to grow your domain authority through a lot of random backlinks, remember that Google’s algorithm today is incredibly smart. It will be able to tell whether the posts you are gaining links from are actually valuable themselves, or whether you’re just gaining them in an attempt to rank.

The quality of the sites that link to you matters. For this reason, it always goes back to making your website content as useful as possible. This means answering your customer’s questions and satisfying their needs when they visit your site.

The more a person wants to revisit and share your content, the more likely you are to grow your domain authority.


If you have questions about Domain Authority and want to talk with an experienced SEO agency team, we are here to help. Brandastic is an Orange County-based SEO agency that specializes in helping businesses grow their online presence. Contact us today to see how we can help you increase traffic and conversion for your business website.

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