What is Domain Authority? Definition + Calculation Breakdown

Domain Authority

Domain authority can be a make-or-break factor for your website. If you want to ensure that your site is seen by as many people as possible, you need to focus on building up domain authority. But what is domain authority, and why does it matter? In this blog post, we’ll explain what it is and its implications for your website.

What is domain authority?

Domain authority is a measure of the strength and reputation of your domain. It’s usually a score from 0-100 (with higher numbers representing stronger domain authority) that is used to assess how well your domain will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). It’s based on a variety of factors, such as domain age, domain content quality, domain link profile, domain size, and domain trustworthiness.

Essentially, the higher the domain authority, the higher a website’s web pages are likely to rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). Though there is not a 1:1 correlation between domain authority and SERP ranking, domain authority has a lot of influence on it.

Though originally developed by Moz, variations of domain authority are used by other search engine providers, such as Ahref or Ubersuggest.

Does Google (or any search engine) measure domain authority?

No, domain authority is not a metric that Google uses. It’s a third-party metric created by Moz to measure domain strength and reputation. The domain authority score is a measure of how likely it is that your domain will rank on SERPs, but it’s not a guarantee – you may still rank high even if you don’t have the highest domain authority.

Person using a search engine on a monitor (domain authority)

While website domain authority may not be directly used by Google, it’s still an important factor. Search engines look at a variety of signals to determine how to rank websites, and domain authority can provide some insight into domain strength.

How is domain authority calculated?

Domain authority is calculated based on the age of the domain, content quality, domain size, domain link profile, domain link profile, and domain trustworthiness. Let’s break that equation into smaller parts:

Domain age

Domain age is the amount of time that domain has been registered. A domain with an older domain name may perform better than a domain that is newly registered.

Content quality

Content quality is a measure of the quality of copy on a website. Well-written, high-quality content can help domain authority.

Domain size

Domain size is a measure of the number of pages on a domain. A domain with more pages may perform better than a domain with fewer pages. But, even with fewer pages, a domain can still have good domain authority if its content quality is strong.

Domain link profile

The domain link profile is the number and quality of links pointing to a domain. Backlinks are links to a domain from other domains, such as websites or social networks. The domain link profile is an important part of domain authority because it shows the popularity of a domain, as well as its trustworthiness. The linking domains’ authority is also taken into consideration. If a bunch of spammy and low-quality websites are linking to a domain, its domain authority will likely suffer.


Domain trustworthiness is a measure of how much people trust the domain and its content. That sounds subjective, but domain trustworthiness is actually calculated based on the number of people who are directing traffic to the domain, how often they visit and if they stay for long periods of time.

Moz’s domain authority (DA) versus “domain authority” in SEO

Though Moz, a keyword research tool, developed the equation that measures domain authority (DA), domain authority as a concept is not specific to Moz. Other SEO tools have created their own domain authority metrics, such as Ahref or Ubersuggest, and domain authority can refer to any of these variants. The actual domain authority calculation and the domain authority score may vary depending on which tool you use, but domain authority as a concept is still the same.

Domain authority has become a bit of a buzzword in the SEO community, as a domain’s perceived authority directly impacts its success in search rankings. But, the varying sources of information on the subject have muddled domain authority’s definition and uses, so it’s important to understand domain authority in its entirety.

To recap, domain authority is not a metric owned or utilized by Google or other search engines, but Moz does not own domain authority as a concept either. Domain authority (DA) is a metric developed by Moz to measure domain strength and reputation, and it is based on several factors. As a website’s domain authority is an important factor in SEO and success, it’s essential to understand domain authority. But a domain’s authority can be measured and tracked by different domain authority metrics, regardless of the source.

Why domain authority matters

domain authority 3 1

So, if Google doesn’t even measure domain authority, why should you care about it?

Though search engines don’t specifically utilize Moz’s domain authority metric when determining which domains to prioritize in SERPs, the concept of domain authority is still very important.

It goes back to how domain authority is calculated: domain age, domain size, and domain link profile are all important factors. These factors tell search engines that a domain is established and reputable, and that its content is likely to be relevant. The more established your domain is, the higher its domain authority – and the higher domain authority your domain has, the more likely it is to perform well on SERPs.

The correlation between domain authority and search engine rankings

SEO tools like Ahrefs have been refining their calculation methods over the years, and domain authority is now a very good indicator of domain strength and domain performance. In fact, domain authority is highly correlated with domain rankings on SERPs.

Take Ahrefs’ recent study for example. According to analysts at Ahrefs, domains that have domain ratings (Ahrefs’ own metric for domain authority) of 49 or higher tend to do very well in search engines.

As you can see, as domain rating increases, so does the number of keywords a domain ranks for. This indicates that a high domain authority does, in fact, have an impact on domain success and search engine rankings.

What is a good domain authority score?

It depends on the tool and scale used to measure domain authority, but generally speaking, domain authority scores range between 1-100. Scores in the 40-50 range are considered average. For comparison, domain authorities of 10 or lower are considered weak, and domain authorities of 70 or higher are considered excellent.

Your domain authority score may be different depending on the domain authority tool you use. A site with a domain rating of 51 on Ahrefs might have a score of 15 on Moz, and this is because SEO tools use different algorithms and data points to calculate domain strength. Plus, the refresh rate of domain authority scores also varies by tool – some tools update domain ratings daily, while others update them every few weeks or months.

In general, the higher your domain authority score, the better.

What is the difference between domain authority and page authority?

Domain authority and page authority are related concepts, but they measure different things. Domain authority measures the strength of a domain as a whole, while page authority measures the strength of individual pages on that domain. Page authority is also important for SEO because it helps search engines understand which pages within a domain have high-quality content and if those pages are likely to be relevant to search queries.

Google PageRank explained

Google PageRank (PR) was a measure of domain authority developed by Google. It worked in a similar way to domain authority – by calculating domain age, domain size, and domain link profile – but the algorithm used to calculate domain strength is different than that for domain authority.

Google PageRank as it was understood from 1998 to 2018 has expired due to unrenewed patents, meaning Google no longer uses PageRank as a public-facing metric. And, it has updated its algorithm A LOT since PageRank was invented. However, domain age, domain size, and domain link profile are still important factors for domain authority, so having a high Google PageRank could still be beneficial in terms of domain strength.

Using your domain authority know-how to improve your website

If you want to increase domain authority, you should focus on what you can change: content quality, keyword optimization, and the rate at which you’re putting out content. Quality content and well-researched topics with strong keywords can help you get more domain authority naturally over time.

Overall, domain authority is a great metric to measure domain strength and performance. It can help you understand how well your domain ranks on SERPs, as well as the types of content that are performing best for your domain. With the right strategies in place – such as creating high-quality content and building strong backlinks – you can increase your domain authority score and boost search engine rankings. Taking advantage of this powerful tool will give you an edge against competitors and ensure greater success for your website or business online.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I increase the number of inbound links to my domain?

Inbound links, or backlinks, are one of the most important factors for determining domain authority. To increase the number of inbound links to your domain, you should focus on link building strategies like guest blogging, link exchanges, or influencer marketing.

What can I do if my domain authority score is low?

If your domain authority score is low, it could be due to a variety of things – from domain age and domain size to domain link profile. To improve your domain authority score, you should focus on SEO and keyword optimization strategies, as well as link building and domain performance.

What are root domains?

Root domains are the highest-level domain within a domain name. This is typically the domain the user typed in to get to the website. Find out what’s best for your business .com, .org, or .net.

For example, if someone visits your website via “example.com”, then “example” would be considered the root domain.

Your website’s overall domain authority score is based on the strength of its root domain. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your domain is well-maintained and optimized for search engine rankings.

Picture of Kouressa Smith

Kouressa Smith

Kouressa is WGM’s resident website content manager. In this position, she directs the content creation for WGM’s marketing channels. She develops SEO strategies, maps out the overall direction of content per project, and helps facilitate the creation of that content. Kouressa has over eight years of experience writing professionally and gained her bachelor’s in creative writing and technical communication at Texas Tech University.

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