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Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Last Updated November 13, 2023
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Domain authority (DA) is a scoring system developed by Moz that determines how likely you are to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). Learn the basics of domain authority, along with its pros and cons, in this overview!

What is domain authority (DA)?

Domain authority (DA) is a scoring system developed by Moz that determines how likely you are to rank in SERPs. This score is on a scale from 1–100, with 100 indicating the highest chance at ranking. You want your website to score at least between 50 and 60, with anything above 60 falling under the “excellent” ranking.

Is domain authority a Google ranking factor?

Expert Insights From Google logo

“Google doesn’t use Domain Authority *at all* when it comes to Search crawling, indexing, or ranking. This is pretty clear on their site.” (Source)

John Mueller, Google

It’s crucial to note that DA is not a Google ranking factor, and it has no actual bearing on the SERPs. It is only an analysis of how well your website is following the criteria that do contribute to rankings.

An alternative to DA is domain rating (DR) by Ahrefs. You can learn more about how Moz and Ahrefs compare in our Ahrefs vs. Moz breakdown.

How your DA score is calculated

Moz calculates DA based on data from their Link Explorer web index. This number is also based on machine learning that automatically calculates your DA score. Even though it would be easier to see the list of ranking factors, the complete list is private.

While the formula and complete list of 40 factors for DA aren’t publicly available, there are a few confirmed factors that impact DA, including:

  • Inbound link quality and number
  • Content quality
  • Social signals
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) performance

If you want to check your DA, you can use Moz’s Link Explorer to see what your score is. You can also use the MozBar or the SERP Analysis section of Keyword Explorer.

DA pros and cons

DA is a complicated tool for tracking your website’s performance. On the one hand, your DA score is a valuable metric for monitoring your site. However, it might not give all the information you need.

Here are a few pros of using DA to rework your website:

  • DA can improve rankings: Using DA can help you improve rankings over time. As you make changes to your site for SEO, you can use your DA metric to gauge your progress.
  • DA incorporates SEO tactics: DA is based on important SEO factors that are proven to affect rankings, which can help guide your SEO approach.
  • DA is a free analysis: If you don’t have the budget to do an SEO deep dive, you can use DA as another tool for improving your site.

On the other hand, some cons of using DA include the following factors:

  • DA is unaffiliated with Google: Though DA can help predict rankings, optimizing for DA does not necessarily mean you will rank higher.
  • DA ranking factors are private: It can be challenging to optimize for a system with private ranking criteria, especially when many of Google’s ranking factors have been tracked and observed for years to give businesses an edge.
  • DA is hard to improve at times: When you have a high DA score (above 70), it is harder to improve it than if you have a lower one (around 30). That means that even if you try new, successful marketing plans, the effect will be minimal on your score.

How to increase DA

So, how can you get the best DA score for your website? Here are three different tips for improving your DA:

  1. Earn high-quality backlinks
  2. Create solid content
  3. Optimize for user experience (UX)

Read on below to learn more!

1. Earn high-quality backlinks

The most important factor for your DA score is your backlinks. Backlinks are links to your website from another, authoritative website. These links show Google and Moz that other people find your site valuable, so they should as well.

When earning backlinks, you should aim for quality over quantity. In general, it’s better to have one high-quality backlink from a reputable site in your industry than 10 low-quality backlinks from irrelevant, non-reputable sites.

Some ways to earn backlinks include the following:

  • Reach out to related sites
  • Write guest content on other sites that promotes your site
  • Find backlink sources for competitors and ask them to link to you

Of course, creating content is another way to earn backlinks naturally.

2. Create solid content

Content is essential for SEO and improving your DA. If you want to grow your website and improve your chances at ranking, you should create content consistently and incorporate keywords tactfully.

Your content can include anything, like:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Videos and images
  • Product descriptions
  • Newsletters

3. Optimize for UX

Above all, your site should prioritize the end user. If you create content and optimize your design for users, both Google and Moz will notice. UX will ensure a quality experience and even help you garner leads for your company.

If you want to use DA for your website, be sure to account for the pros, cons, and tips above while creating a website suited for your users and search engines.

P.S. Want to learn about other SEO terms and phrases? Check out our SEO glossary!

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