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How Domain Authority Works: The Key to Ranking Well and Securing Traffic

Domain Authority (DA) is a metric that predicts the probability of a domain appearing and ranking on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Initially developed by Moz, DA is often used to evaluate a website’s status and how it ranks compared to its competitors. 

Domain authority is not an official ranking factor that Google uses. But it is very useful in monitoring and gaining quick insights regarding your website’s current discoverability and health. 

How Is Domain Authority Determined?

Different SEO tools may have their own metrics to measure Domain authority. But commonly, it is measured using an algorithm that utilizes data from backlinks, referring domains, and/or search traffic, among other factors. 

Domain authority search engine ranking score is also commonly ranked from 1 to 100—the higher the number, the higher your website can rank on SERPs. Ideally, you should aim for a DA score of at least 40 to 50, to have an average or fair probability of making it to search engine results. A score of around 60 can be considered good, and beyond 60 is excellent. 

SEO tools can commonly evaluate the quantity and quality of links that a webpage receives. Having backlinks from authoritative sites, like Google, Wikipedia, renowned newspapers or magazines, as well as government websites and pages can help improve your domain authority

It also helps to have backlinks from leading websites or related to the industry you are operating in. This can help improve the probability of getting a higher DA score compared to competitors. Additionally, DA can be affected by the quality and number of outgoing links on your website. The age of your domain, link diversity, content distribution, and traffic over time can also contribute to your DA score. 

You can check on your domain authority by just doing a quick google search of your company, industry, type of service or product you offer. You can see how your webpage ranks on SERPs; from here, it is easy to initially determine if you have a good DA score. 

Moreover, you can check your DA score more accurately using different SEO tools, like Moz, SEMrush and Ahrefs. These tools can evaluate your web page and give you a quantitative score. Some may also have additional features and insights, which will provide you with a clearer view of all the factors that affect your score and how you can improve it.  

Domain Authority vs. Pagerank

Domain authority is essentially a metric to predict how your web pages can rank on SERPs. This is different from but can be related to PageRank, which is a metric created by Google to measure your web page’s performance with link-building opportunities.

 It counts the number and evaluates the quality of outbound links on your web pages and your backlinks or inbound links. In assumption, relevant websites will likely get more backlinks from other websites. Hence they can get higher PageRank scores.

PageRank is calculated by Google itself, while DA is something that can be evaluated using third-party calculation. Google used PageRank as the algorithm to rank websites on SERPs. Over time, they developed additional algorithms in addition to PageRank, now employing a more elaborate approach to ranking results on Google

Still, it is ideal to leverage PageRank as it can directly affect your ranking on SERPs. In comparison, DA will not affect your overall ranking but can help you make accurate predictions and develop better SEO approaches. 

Domain Authority vs. Page Authority

With Domain authority, you are measuring the probability of your entire web domain, including sub-domains, to rank in SERPs. On the contrary, Page Authority measures the probability of ranking each of the pages of your website individually. 

Page Authority is the total value that a search engine assigns to a specific web page. This means it will evaluate the optimization of the content of a specific page. This includes your content quality, relevance, length, readability, keyword placements and outbound links. Authoritative news sites, like Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal, have proven that individual web page content optimization is the key to dominating SEO. 

How Can You Increase Your DA Score?

Domain authority will not directly affect your ranking on SERPs, but it can be a strong indicator of your ranking on SERPs. Therefore, optimizing your domain to compete with other websites and be among the first organic search results is important.

Optimizing your DA score can start with your domain name. It should be easy to read and remember. Of course, your domain name should be paired with high-quality content. Your web pages should also be responsive and load fast. 

Moreover, as DA depicts the value of a website based on its relevance, it is important to give attention to both on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO pertains to your meta description, title tags, headlines, sub-headlines and image alt texts. This must be optimized so search engines can better index your web pages overall. 

Off-page SEO focuses on the shareability of your website, as well as its relevance through mentions, tags and citations or backlinks. You can build your web page’s reputation by being mentioned on reputable sites. Features on magazines and news publishing sites can count as a good backlink to build your domain authority. 

It is also important to note that not all inbound links should be counted and welcomed just for the sake of backlinks. There are certain types of backlinks you should avoid, as they can do your site more harm than good. 

This includes non-contextual and foreign language links, hidden backlinks, and those that are too good to be true backlinks. Private blog networks, high spam score sites and websites that are not indexed yet are also among the backlinks you should be wary of. 

Improve Your Domain Authority 

Domain authority is not a metric that can instantly make you rank, but it can help you develop your domain to rank in SERP and generate consistent traffic on your website. The process of improving your DA involves the optimization of your whole domain, including all web pages. If done right, it will not only help you rank on SERPs, but can enable you to establish relevance and thought-leadership within the industry you are in. 

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