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Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine score originally developed by Moz that predicts how likely a domain is to appear in the SERPs compared to its competitors. Domain Authority is one of the top Google ranking factors when working on SEO.
Your DA is not technically analyzed directly by Google, the measurement serves as an approximate to determine the likeliness of ranking for your targeted keywords based on your website’s current performance. For most websites, your DA will vary as you become more active on your website and create new content – it also helps when you generate new backlinks to your website.
According to Moz, your Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). Your DA score ranges from one to 100, with a higher score corresponding to a greater likelihood of ranking. Moz bases your DA on data from their Link Explorer web index and uses dozens of factors in its calculations.
Your website’s DA is always related to the DA of other websites on the internet. Multiple sites can have the same ranking, but it is still established in a hierarchy. When a website has a drastic change in its DA, it means that a currently existing website(s) has experienced a change in its ranking/DA.
For example, if Instagram were to gain a couple hundred new backlinks or began ranking for new search terms, other website’s DA would decrease while Instagram’s DA would go up.
While domain authority ranks/rates your entire website on how well it would rank for search terms, page authority ranks/rates how well that specific page would rank for search terms. The two terms overlap in meaning but refer to different aspects of your website. Both can be utilize in your SEO strategy and when determining what keywords you can target.
Page authority in combination with domain authority is a great way to analyze SERPs and determine if you can compete against the top-ranking competitors for keywords. If they have a high PA but low DA or low PA but high DA, you have a fair chance at working your way into the top rankings. But it’ll be harder to compete if they have a high DA and PA or average DA and PA.
Honestly, it depends on the size of your website and company. A huge corporation like Amazon should have a higher DA – and aim to have a higher DA – than the sandwich shop down the street. For online business owners whose bread and butter rely on how well their websites (or marketing efforts) perform, a “good” DA would be around 40.
That being said, it takes time and effort to grow your DA to 40. It’s unlikely that without an SEO strategy, your business will reach 40 naturally. For new websites, it’s natural to range from 1-15 in your first year(s) based on your SEO efforts (or lack thereof). Once your website has hit the five-year mark, 1-15 is no longer an “acceptable” DA, instead, your domain authority should be closer to 20-30.
Your DA can fluctuate, meaning it can both increase and decrease over time. Your domain authority decreasing does not mean that your website is “getting worse,” instead it means that your competition is getting stronger – or that it’s time to put more effort into SEO.
Every website has a DA, no matter how long it’s been online. You can check your domain authority using one of the free SEO tools on the internet. I highly suggest using Ubersuggest or Moz. Your DA updates regularly, so it wouldn’t hurt to create a habit of checking and monitoring your DA monthly.
There are a few aspects that are utilized when analyzing and establishing your DA which involve both on-page and off-page SEO. Part of having a high DA is ensuring your website is optimized for usability and SEO. This includes page speed, responsiveness, navigation, and more.
Next, you will need to ensure you’re working on your off-page SEO. This means generating high-quality backlinks to your website and landing guest posts. While guest posting on and getting do-follow backlinks from websites with high DAs helps, working with lower DA websites doesn’t hurt. When working with websites with a low DA (in comparison to your own DA), look at the website’s spam score.
Sadly, not all backlinks are good backlinks. When there are too many “spammy” backlinks, it can be worth the time to go back and remove bad backlinks. First, you’ll need to look through what Google considers a link scheme.
As I mentioned before, any website with a higher DA (40+) is typically safe. You will need to pay attention to backlinks that are from sites that are lower than that.
The whole purpose of a DA is to help you understand how well you have a chance to rank for certain keywords. Keywords are what drive most of your SEO content strategy. When planning content for your website and blog, it’s important to target keywords that you actually have a chance of ranking for vs. keywords that have strong competition.
For example, if I’m in the mental health field and I’m starting a brand new website with an SEO content strategy, I need to target low-competition keywords. I’ll have a better chance of ranking thanks to the lower competition and when I do rank, I’ll build my authority on Google allowing me to target higher-competition keywords.
If I went straight to the high-competition keywords with large companies with high DAs currently ranking – we’ll use BetterHelp for our mental health example – my own post would simply be pushed out and not have a chance. Since I wouldn’t have anything ranking, my site’s reputation with Google wouldn’t be increasing nor would my DA. If my website is not improving, I won’t have the chance to rank for other keywords as easily.
Domain Authority is just one of the aspects we track and work to improve when focusing on your SEO strategy in our SEO Support. If you’re ready to get started, reach out to The Comma Mama Co. today!