What Is Domain Authority (DA) ? – A Complete Guide For Beginners

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Domain Authority score is not a new phrase in the world of SEO, but there are many bloggers who are unaware of domain authority and it’s significance.

Following is a detailed guide in which you will learn what you need to know about “domain authority” (including how to check your domain’s authority score!),  as well as some additional related terms which are important to understand.

Domain authority is one of the main factors that define how well your website will rank in search engines.

In the “old days”, a website was weighed based on its page-rank. Now, domain and page authority play a major role in the ranking of any domain.

I wanted to share this important topic with you because once you understand what domain authority (DA) is, you can start focusing on creating an authoritative blog.

What is domain authority?

Domain authority is a metric which was created by Moz (SaaS company), for the purpose of rating a website on a scale of 1-100, (100 being the best and 1 being the worst). So the higher the domain authority of a website, the higher its ranking in search engines.

Instead of thinking of domain authority as a measure of your SEO effort, think of it as a competitive metric against other sites.  So if you compare your website’s DA score with that of your competitor’s site, the site with the higher DA score is likely to rank higher in search engine searches!

DA consists of 40 ranking signals such as the number of links pointing to the site and the number of linking root domains – essentially the number of other sites linking to your site!  (See MozTrust, MozRank , etc.)

DA measures the authority of the complete domain.  Similarly, PA (page authority) is the measure of an individual page.

How to check domain authority? 

There are a few domain authority checkers available online which you can use to check your website’s DA. The first is the official Moz open site explorer where you type in your domain or sub-domain address, and it will show you the latest DA score.

Here is a DA report for my blog:

domain Authority checker
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If you are using the Chrome or Firefox browser, you can use MozBar extension to check the domain authority and page authority of any webpage, and I highly recommend that you do so.

Domain authority ranking factors consist of over 40+ signals, but there are a few things which you can start doing right now to increase your website’s domain authority.

First lets understand what creates good DA by understanding MozRank and MozTrust.

What is MozRank?

MozRank is measured based on the link profile of a domain. It is calculated for any webpage on the Internet based on the number of links pointing to the page.

Along with quantity, quality of the linking pages also plays a major role. A handful of quality pages linking to your website will give a better MozRank rating than many low-quality links pointing to your website.

MozRank is measured on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the highest. An average MozRank rating for a webpage on the Internet is 3.

What is MozTrust:

MozTrust
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Like MozRank, MozTrust is also dependent on links. With MozTrust, however, what is measured is how closely you are connected to a trusted website on the web. For example,  a government website or an .edu website are usually considered as trusted websites.  If you are linked in one hop (a .gov site links to a site called “A” and site “A” links to you), then you are more likely to have a better MozTrust ranking.  Think of MozTrust as a ranking of the link indicating the distance between your webpage and a trusted source.

MozTrust is also measured on a scale of 0-10, and you can increase your MozTrust ranking by getting links from highly trusted websites (Wikipedia, government sites, university sites, etc).

You can learn more about MozTrust on Moz SEO.

Factors which affect MozTrust:

  • What websites you link to:  Always link to quality web-pages when ever possible, and don’t link to spam or illegal sites.
  • Domain registration info: It has been suggested by Rand that your domain registration info could also play a significant role in deciding the trust factor for your domain. If you have 10 websites with same or similar domain registration info, and 8 out of 10 are bad websites, it might make it hard for you to earn trust for the 2 quality websites.
  • User data signals: This depends on how users are interacting on the web, and is collected via various sources such as Google toolbar, Google analytics, free Wifi.
  • Domain age: Let your domain age as much as it can because the older it is, the better it is. You can’t do much about it, but try not to change your domain name again and again. If you are a BlogSpot blogger, it’s a good idea to use a custom domain name from the beginning.

Note: You might notice a website or webpage having high MozRank but low MozTrust.  This is likely because it’s easy to manipulate MozRank by building lots of links in a short amount of time.

How to improve domain authority:

By improving your domain authority, you are also increasing your chances of improving your search engine ranking. Think of DA as a manner of calculating how competitive a website is in a Google search. The higher the domain authority of a website, the harder it is to outrank it. Similarly, when you are working on link-building for your blog, you should try to gain links from websites having good domain authority.higher Domain authority score.

As a blogger, you should be interested in the following two factors:

  • Increasing the domain authority of your blog
  • Getting links and mentions from other blogs/websites with high DA.

Following is a list of ranking factors (with explanations) which will have maximum impact on your DA and PA (page authority):

Days to expiry of domain name:

This is probably the easiest thing you can do right now to affect your domain ranking. Days to expiry is not a terribly strong factor, but it is a deciding factor in the establishment of a good website. It indicates to search engines that these long-lasting websites can be trusted. If your domain is set to expire in the next year, I would recommend that you extend it for the next 3-4 years. It would cost a just few dollars more, and it would be helpful to you in the long run.

Get more links to your site:

This is probably the one factor which will affect your DA score the most. Try to earn as many backlinks as you can, but make sure those links are from quality sites. If you buy backlinks or get links from low-quality sites (using automated methods), you will do more harm than good. (See: Google Penguin & negative SEO)

Diversify your link profile:

Instead of getting tons of links from a few sites, focus on getting quality links from diverse sources. This would include links from various geo-locations, various domain extensions, and sources which are not interconnected. Needless to say, links should be relevant and should be of high-quality.

Internal link structure:

This is one important factor that you can easily control. Have you visited a Wikipedia page recently? Have you noticed how powerful their internal linking is? Make sure your every post is linked to 2-3 others posts on your blog, and when you publish a new blog post, go back and link from your old posts. This will also pass link juice from old posts to the new one.

Remove bad links:

Along with creating new links, you should also keep an eye out for bad links pointing to your site. You can use a service to monitor backlinks to get email notifications. Whenever a bad link is pointing to your site, ensure that you get it removed, or use Google Disavow tool to ignore those links.

Become an authoritative source in your niche:

The quality of your articles is more important than the quantity of articles. Publishing only 2-3 high-quality posts in a week is far better than publishing 7 posts of mediocre or low-quality content.

Along with publishing high-quality content, work to become an authoritative site in your niche. Become the news breaker or make sure your reader trusts every page on your website.  This will have a great impact on overall user-experience and on your search engine ranking. I’m not entirely sure it is directly related to increased domain authority, but it will definitely advance your site’s search engine ranking.

Note: Domain Authority uses 40+ signals and looks at the pattern of search engine rankings by Google. So if you make Google happy, your DA score will also improve over time.

On-Site SEO :

Make sure your website is search engine optimized, as this controls things like where the link juice passes, how easy it is for search engine bots to crawl your site, and how user-centric your content and navigation are.

Here are few things which you should focus on with On-Site SEO:

Make your website load faster

I could have included page load time in the on-page SEO reference, but I believe since  Google has made page load time an official ranking factor, you should start giving great attention to the load time of your website. You can use sites like tools.pingdom (More sites here) to check the existing load time of your site. If your site is not loading within 3 seconds, you should start working on speed optimization of your site. For WordPress bloggers, here is a quick checklist:

Social Media marketing and branding: 

Social media plays a major role in the ranking of your content. Whether social media is a ranking factor for domain authority or not is debatable, but it is definitely a ranking factor in the Google search engine ranking algorithm. Make sure your brand and your blogs have a presence in all major social media platforms. Also try to ensure that your readers are sharing your content on social-media platforms. This helps to boost ranking and improves indexing.

Q.Wondering how often domain authority checker gets an update?
A. Usually 1-2 times in a month.

Conclusion:

Back in the day, Google page rank was a factor for any webpage on the internet, but it was flawed system. My own experience has proven this when I’ve gotten a PR3 for a blog with no content, just having built backlinks. On the other hand, a domain authority score is well-maintained and is now the most trusted way to measure the rank and authority of a webpage on the internet.

If you have never focused on your site’s domain authority score, it’s time for you to use some of the above mentioned domain authority checkers, and check your DA score. If your DA score is low, you should start working on the above tips to get higher DA score.

Have a question? Feel free to ask via the commenst section!

Remember to share this guide with others on Facebook and Google Plus.

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

55 thoughts on “What Is Domain Authority (DA) ? – A Complete Guide For Beginners”

  1. I’m starting with my blog. I installed the moz’s bar and found it very interesting. Thanks for the tip!

  2. John Divramis

    Dear Harsh, another method to raise domain authority is to buy aged domain name that have expired and redirect them to your domain name.

    They still transfer link juice, domain authority and pagerank to your current domain name.

  3. It’s a great handy article for increasing DA. A good internal link structure can really help in better SEO and hence domain authority of a site. But most of the newbies tend to put the same anchor text across articles. A variety of anchor text is what one needs to put to make the most out of interlinking.Loved all the tips and the linked resource pages. Thanks for sharing. Take care and have a great day

  4. Great Post,

    Hi, Harsh is there any time when moz update the DA and PA.. 1 or 2 week etc. And Yes, users experience and load time are most things to works on them. As Google shows optimized sites in 1st search result page along with the great quality content.

    Thanks

    Regards
    ~ Vijay Singh

  5. I blog often and I genuinely thank you for your content.
    This great article has really peaked my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new
    details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed as
    well.

  6. This is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very precise information… Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read post!

  7. Hello @Harsh
    Domain Authority is the new major factor for ranking but it takes time If I redirect my old domain over new domain, tell me is it helpful for my new domain in DA..

  8. Vijay Bhabhor

    Hi HARSH AGRAWAL,

    I have started a new blog, What you think? how long it will take to get 10 Domain authority? Currently it showing 1 DA, I have created social accounts for the website, 4 blog post done, and planing monthly 8 post on it.

    Thank you
    Vijay Bhabhor

      1. Thank You Harsh,

        I used your techniques and within 2 months, My blog authority increased. Almost I jumped 10 DA, ALso i noticed increase in my overall traffic.

        For Reference anyone can monitor my website http://vijaybhabhor. com
        It showing 10 DA, your techniques works

  9. Shanaya Aggarwal

    Hello,

    As I am new in blogging and just started with some micro niche blogs and i have also been reading many articles about various topics, including domain authority.

    So, I have confusion in mind, I want to ask that, whether domain authority directly effects search ranking or not?

    If yes, then how can increase DA quickly and how much it will effect my rankings?

    Looking for quick Response.

    Regards,
    Shanaya Aggarwal

  10. Stephen Brian

    Great guide Harsh. Besides checking DA, Mozrank and Moztrust, I also check Trust flow and Citation flow from Majestic. Do you think these 2 factors from Majestic are important?

  11. Kishore krishna

    Moz toolbar is a new thing for me .thanks .i have installed the moz bar .For my site DA is one .Does it take more than a month to update moz rank ?

  12. Luke Statham

    A great article thank you. We have noticed a drop of a couple of points since the last update (May 2016). We have far more articles on our site now then ever, so was a little concerned. Had a look at some competitors and it seems their DA have also dropped

  13. Hi,

    I am Linda, I own number of websites and I have hired people for SEO of all those sites, but Lately I myself learning something about technical stuff, which can help me handle my site son my own and latest i learned about Domain Authority and I have been working on it in past few months.

    But despite having good internal Linking and god content, Most of my sites Domain Authority is around 15-20 which I think is not good, as I love to attract more advertisers and without having Good Domain Authority, it is tough to attract high paying advertisers.

    So, what basically, I want to ask here, is there any way to increase Domain Authority quickly, I mean in 2-3 Months?

    ~ Linda

  14. Samuel McEdwards

    Domain authority is definitely a key Google ranking factor. Every serious website owner need to work on improving it. Especially for new websites with fewer content. Thanks for this guide.

  15. Hey, Harsh
    I just owned a new Domain to replace my existing subdomain.Now,the old blog URLs are successfully redirecting to the new domain.But,I lost the traffic from few days.The DA of new domain is almost zero.Is there anything missing?
    Please,guide me.
    Thanks for such valuable informations.

  16. This is amazing and informative information but one thing I did was go to Moz.com and find out for free information I had not seen. But even more the better understanding of pagerank.
    Thank you for your knowledge, still a lot to learn!
    Pinned to refer back to and other article and to share!!

    Thanks
    Karren

  17. Hello,

    I have been trying hard to increase domain authority of my blog, but even after working for few months, I haven’t seen any improvements.

    So, where I am going wrong? Does I need to create links in bulk to get high Domain Authority?

    If yes, then How many links to need to get?

    I am not sure what to do.

    looking for quick response.

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