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What is Domain Authority?

What is Domain Authority—and Do I Need it?

Web Content & SEO / July 24, 2019

You may have heard an SEO throw around the term “domain authority.” But what is domain authority? And do you need it?

Lifted Logic has been working in SEO in Kansas City for over 11 years. Our owner, Adam Fichman, is deeply involved in our everyday projects and has a long history of working with Fortune 500 companies to improve local and national SEO. He was even around when Google first developed their chief search engine algorithms.

What is domain authority?

Domain authority (DA) is a proprietary metric created by SEO giant Moz to help predict and determine the probability of a website ranking above or below a competitor. 

DA is measured on a scale of 0-100 (with 100 being the highest). 

It’s very important to note that domain authority is a comparative metric. That means that the number is actually quite arbitrary on its own. Its main purpose is to be used in comparison to a competitor’s DA. 

For example, if your website has a DA of 44, and your main competitor has a DA of 30, you are significantly more likely to rank above that competitor for any given keyword.

This also works when comparing your performance over time. If you’ve recently launched a website on a new domain, you may be closer to 0 in DA. And over time, that number can, and should, rise. 

Using Moz as a tool to track this progression and for assessing what you’re doing right or wrong in your SEO efforts can be very beneficial in your overall marketing strategy.

Note: DA is NOT a Google-endorsed metric. While Google may use its own version of calculating some sort of domain authority, this proprietary number from Moz is merely an indicator of the likelihood of ranking for a keyphrase.

How does Moz calculate Domain Authority?

Domain Authority is calculated using a variety of different factors, including—

Content Quality

Of the most important pieces of the DA pie that Moz calculates is the quality and volume of the content on your site. It ensures your content is user friendly and that it adheres to Google’s best practices for content creation.

Essentially, Moz wants your content to be helpful and informative, clearly express your brand, and be written in a way that is easily readable for the average user.

Spam Score

Moz calculates a spam score for your site to help determine your domain authority. It has created this spam score metric based on the number of other websites on the internet that link to you, and the reputation of each of those websites. In general, a healthy Moz spam score of under 3% is ideal. 

Site Functionality

Does your site fully load in a decent amount of time? When you click a link, does it work? If your site doesn’t function, users are likely to bounce—and therefore, your domain authority will decline.

Site Maintenance

Are you making updates to your website in the form of blogging and updating existing pages? These updates create timestamps on your site that search engine crawlers (and Moz!) can use to assess how frequently you’re maintaining your site to ensure it stays relevant to users.

Backlinks

Backlinks are extremely important to DA. Depending on how many external domains (including social media!) are linking to your website, this volume can impact your domain authority. This is especially true if the sites that are linking to yours have a high DA as well, such as a .org or .gov site.

Additionally, backlinks can be extremely helpful in building local SEO. Stay tuned to our blog to learn how to gain backlinks and improve local SEO.

Domain History

How long has your domain existed? If you’re launching a new site, your DA may be much lower than a site that’s been around for a while. While this will eventually even out with your efforts to create new content and gain back links, it IS something to keep in mind. 

💡This is why Lifted Logic builds new, custom websites in a staging environment. When we launch a site, we then ‘migrate’ all of the code over to the current domain so as not to lose any existing DA associated with the original site.

Do I need domain authority?

While it may not be totally necessary to create and use a Moz account, knowing your domain authority would be helpful in gauging your “place” in the world of search engines relative to your competitors.

Overall, domain authority is far from the end-all-be-all of measuring your SEO.

However, if you are struggling to reach the first page of search results, you may want to consider using this as a tool to help guide your decisions on content creation.

Regardless of whether or not you use a Moz account, domain authority gives us a variety of helpful benchmarks and guidelines to help create better, search- AND user-friendly websites.


Learn More from the Kansas City SEO experts at Lifted Logic

Do you know your domain authority? What about your spam score? Lifted Logic provides SEO audits in Kansas City and to businesses across the country looking to improve their rankings and generate higher traffic and better leads.

Give us a ring if you’re interested in learning more about how to improve your website—or doing a total overhaul!

 

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