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 ranking) is the ‘value’ that a search engine gives to a specific website address (called a domain name). Essentially, it is Google’s way of giving your website an authority score based upon several factors that they decide including content quality, inbound links, domain age, etc.
Page Authority is similar, but it focuses on a specific page ranking in the search engines.
How Domain Authority Originated
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. Today sites like Ahrefs will also measure Domain authority (calling it domain rating) as an important ranking factor.
Today, a higher domain authority score is something most websites aspire to as it is a key SEO metric that helps with ranking better in the SERP. All things being equal in terms of high quality content, and the backlink profile, a site’s domain authority will help raise the organic traffic quicker.
Domain Authority is Comparative
What is a good’ domain authority? That is a subjective question to answer. It depends greatly on the competition in your niche, and how well other websites are ranking on the SERP.
Ideally, the closer to 100 your domain authority score, the better chance you have of showing up high in the search result.
Rather than get hung up on your website’s domain authority, it’s better to focus on quality content and growing the number of referring domains.
Remember that the domain authority score is your site compared to similar domains in your field. So, for example, if you have an authority score of 40, and a close competitor has a ranking of 35, that’s good. This domain score means your website will likely rank higher in search results than theirs.
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.
Ahrefs uses their own domain authority metric, which they call domain rating. According to Ahrefs domain authority checker: ‘Domain Rating (DR) shows the strength of a website’s backlink profile compared to the others in our database on a 100-point scale.’
If this all sounds confusing, don’t worry, there are simple actions you can take to grow your domain authority.
Backlinks Help Build Domain Authority
Just as word-of-mouth in marketing is the most effective offline source, online you can count on a high quality backlink to boost the authority of certain pages.
This means that if a lot of people find a particular page on your website valuable and relevant, they are more likely to link to it.The better the website authority of the pages that link to it, the higher your domain authority grows.
A high quality backlink is 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, and the same process works online as well.
Relevance and Value 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 savvy.
The algorithm 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 want to boost your Google ranking, growing your site’s domain authority is an excellent long-term method to do it.