What The Hell is Domain Authority? And What’s Changed?

Gavin Duff6th March 2019 - Gavin Duff

What The Hell is Domain Authority? And What’s Changed?

You may hear some talk this week about Domain Authority, and how it’s changing.

Domain Authority (DA) is a score out of 100 that is assigned to your website by an SEO tool called Moz. It is created to predict how well a website will rank on search engines. And it’s mainly based on the links to your website. Yes, it’s that simple. But it’s a big deal in the SEO community.

Honestly though, it never meant that much… and in our experience, it rarely correlated very closely with a website ranking highly. But we’re talking about it here because you may hear more about it. And it might be about to become slightly more useful.

Very fundamental changes

On March 5th 2019, Moz made some very fundamental changes to how this is calculated. They have more link data, it’s more recent, and their engineers have defined ways to interpret it better.

Previously, spammy domains and useless websites were getting high scores, usually based on the number of links that they have, as well as the criteria behind those linking to them.

So even those who were up to no good – buying links, etc – were in the past being given a high Domain Authority score. It still didn’t mean that they ranked anywhere, but this enabled them to do one thing – e-mail tonnes of people and try to sell these domains to you based on that score.

In a previous post, we did discuss how you should completely ignore these e-mails.

But from now, you may start to receive less of them – because Domain Authority will have decreased. If you receive an e-mail offering to sell you domains then you can check here to see if the scores are indeed correct. But honestly, just do it for fun. And delete the e-mail anyway.

What exactly is a good Domain Authority

We’re often asked the question “What exactly is a good Domain Authority score out of 100?” Well, the answer is that it’s all relative. You need to compare yours to your competitors in your market. It’s really not a case of an Irish company saying ‘Well those guys in the US do the same thing as us so we want the same score as them!’. They’re in the US, so of course they have more links.

If you monitor your site’s Domain Authority, you can expect to notice some changes. For some sites, DA scores may be higher; for others, they may be lower.

If you’ve been a bit naughty in terms of your link building techniques, then I can guarantee you that it will now be lower.

Increase across the board

We ran a check on our own clients’ Domain Authority scores and we have seen a 13% increase across the board. And that’s because we do it ethically and effectively.

One client’s website’s Domain Authority, which was only launched at the end of 2017, increased by 50% on the back of the link building we carried out in the right way over the course of that time.

There are some points to note here:

  • If your agency tell you that your Domain Authority has increased, then ask them if this is because Moz simply updated it – don’t be sold this as something they have achieved for you.
  • If your score has increased then this will not necessarily mean that your rankings suddenly will. This is independent of Google. But it does mean that you can give yourself a pat on the back for not being too spammy with your link building.
  • DO ask your agency if your Domain Authority has changed since March 5th. If it has dropped then you need to ask them what sort of links they’ve been building for you all this time. In fact, ask to see them.
  • Never expect to get a Domain Authority score of 100. It’s all relative. To give perspective, the NASA website has a score of 94. It’s unlikely that you’re in that space… pun intended.

So as you hear things about Domain Authority this month, this will hopefully help to demystify some of that.

In short, if your score has decreased then ask some questions about the type of links you have. If it increased then you’ve probably been doing either very little, or lots of the right things.

But it will NOT mean that from March 5th 2019 your rankings will increase if your score increased. As we said, it is nothing to do with Google. But it’s a useful indicative tool for showing where the gaps are vs. your competitors when it comes to link building.

Read more about our SEO services here. We know link building, and we do it very well.

Gavin Duff
Gavin Duff

For two decades, Gavin has defined effective digital marketing strategy, SEO, PPC, display, content, e-commerce, data analytics, conversion rate optimisation, and social media direction for businesses multinationally and across all sectors. He is also a known conference speaker, lecturer for Trinity College Dublin, podcast guest, media source, guest blogger and many other things in the area of digital marketing. He also holds a Dip. in Cyberpsychology, as well as AI and Machine Learning, and is a member of the Psychological Society of Ireland.

Previous Post
Not Such a Tasty Burger - The case against hidden menus in UX Design.
Next Post
WordPress: The Gutenberg Controversy