What is domain authority?
Domain authority (or DA) is a score between 1 and 100 given to all domains (or websites): the higher the score, the more authoritative or stronger a website or domain is, and the higher the probability to rank well.
According to Wikipedia:
The domain authority of a website describes its relevance for a specific subject area or industry. This relevance has a direct impact on its ranking by search engines, trying to assess domain authority through automated analytic algorithms.Wikipedia
Sometimes you will see slightly different names: instead of domain authority, you will hear about domain score or domain rating. But in essence, they all have the same meaning.
Compare with the height of buildings
You can compare the domain authority with the buildings in our cities:
The skyscrapers represent the big brands and the small buildings represent the smaller, local company websites.
The higher your building, the more visible it will be. And that is exactly the same on the internet: the higher your domain authority, the more visible you will be on the internet, and the easier it will be for you to rank well for new content:
The graph above illustrates that you need to invest less effort as your authority increases. With a low domain authority, you will have to write longer pieces of content and do more promotion and link building to have the same impact as a higher authority domain.
But the good thing is: as you invest more time & effort into your website, your authority should increase, and in the long run, it will become easier to rank for new content. But this requires dedication and consistency.
Your goal shouldn’t be the perfect score of 100 because Facebook & YouTube will always be higher than you. The true value is to compare your score with your direct competitors: websites in the same niche, that have more or less the same size, and that are targeting similar keywords.
So far the similarities between domain authority and buildings. Let’s talk about the differences: the big difference is that buildings are static; they will not grow or shrink anymore after being built.
In contrast: your domain authority is a dynamic parameter. If you invest a lot of time & effort, it will increase, but if you only make a few changes per year, it will decrease.
Also, Google is changing its search algorithm frequently, which can impact your domain authority. In the past, some questionable websites would pay for fake links to boost their authority. Later, Google fixed this in the search algorithms, and the authority of these websites dropped significantly.
How to Check Your Domain Authority?
How can you check your domain authority?
It’s important that you keep track of your website’s domain authority and that you can compare it with your direct competitors. Therefore you will need a domain authority checker.
You can reveal the domain authority of any site with the MozBar Google Chrome extension from Moz. You can find the MozBar product page here.
There is a free and a paid version. The paid version has many advantages, but the free version is enough for the purpose of finding the ‘Domain Authority’. After you installed the tool, you will see the following bar just below the search & address bar of your chrome browser.
When we visit the website ‘shoes.com’ we see:
In the Moz header bar above you find 3 metrics:
- PA or Page Authority: Predicts a page’s ranking potential in search engines
- DA or Domain Authority: Predicts a root domain’s ranking potential in search engines
- Spam Score: if it’s high, there are concerns with the site’s quality and relevance
So we’re interested in the second one: the Domain Authority.
We advise you to keep track of your domain authority score regularly, and at the same time, you can also track your competitors’ scores.
How Can You Improve Your Domain Authority?
According to Moz, the company that introduced the term, you have to build your backlink portfolio to get more high-authority links. Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. And that implies that you have quality content that is worth linking to.
Every website owner should track the domain authority of their domain and should try to improve it. You can check your score easily with a tool such as MozBar.