What Is Domain Authority, How Does It Help Me & How Do I Improve My Score?

Did you know that more than 25% of people click on the first Google search result?

Less than 5% of people even make it to the second page of the search results.

And only about 2% click on the ads on the first page.

Obviously, you want to be at the top of the organic search results every time.

And your Domain Authority plays an important part in that.

What is Domain Authority?

Before we dive into the topic, I want to make sure you understand what we’re talking about.

There’s the concept of domain authority (lowercase), which you’ve probably heard before. When a site exhibits domain authority, they have established themselves as a trusted thought leader in their industry.

But today, we’re talking about the ranking score Domain Authority (capitalized).

Your Domain Authority score is a number between 1 and 100. The higher you score, the better for your website.

But no matter what your Domain Authority score is, you still need to follow the right principles — the ones we teach in our Content Transformation© System, incidentally — to grow your business organically with content.

what is domain authority

What Is Domain Authority & Who Created It?

Domain Authority, or short DA, is a ranking score system originally developed by the folks at Moz. The Domain Authority score is used to predict how a website might rank in the search engine results.

moz domain authority

To be clear, Moz states in no uncertain terms that Domain Authority is NOT a Google ranking factor.

how is domain authority calculated

This means it’s possible to have a low DA score with Moz and still rank number one for your keywords on Google. 🥳

But you won’t rank number one unless you learn how to write effective SEO blogs for your site.

How Is Domain Authority Calculated?

The Domain Authority score is calculated from the number of linking root domains that connect to your site.

If you get a link to your site from another website, that’s called a backlink.

When people link to your site, it’s usually a good thing. It means you have something important they want others to know about.

Every site that links to your website gives you a backlink, which increases your Domain Authority score.

But it’s only root domains that count.

If you get multiple links from a single website, even if they are coming from different pages on that site, that’s still just one backlink from one root domain.

It’s also not just about the total number of links, because the quality of those backlinks matter, too.

If coupon sites are linking to you, that’s not as great as if a national newspaper linked to you.

Your Domain Authority score considers both the number of sites linking to your site and the quality of those links.

The DA score also fluctuates, because it’s calculated in relation to the other sites. If you gain more backlinks, but your competitor also gains more backlinks, your score won’t improve over theirs.

After Moz created the Domain Authority score, their competitors followed suit.

If you use Semrush, you’ve probably seen something called Authority Score. Your dashboard might look like this:

semrush authority score

The Authority Score also uses backlinks to calculate the total score, always considering how your site compares to other sites.

Ahrefs uses a Domain Rating score. The calculation process is similar to its competitors, mostly considering the quantity and quality of the backlinks.

ahrefs domain rating for dunkin donuts

As you can see, every SEO tool uses their own unique calculations. Semrush won’t provide a score unless you sign up for a free trial, so their score of 69 for the Dunkin Donuts website might be old.

Ahrefs gave the same site a rating of 81, whereas Moz returned a Domain Authority score of 72.

If none of these tools would give a site that sells donuts a score of 100, I hope you don’t expect your site to rank that high, either.

Because what could rank better than a donut?

frosted and sprinkled donuts

And this leads us straight into the next question:

What Is a Good Domain Authority Score?

Obviously, a score above 90 is top-notch. If you own Facebook or Wikipedia, that’s what we’d expect.

For a new site, your score will be 1.

If your site has been around a while, you might have a score between 40 and 50, which is considered average.

But it’s not really the score that matters.

Your score doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it’s not part of a report card.

Instead, you want to look at your score as a measure of the health of your site. And ideally, you want your score to be similar to or better than the score of your competitors’ sites.

If you’re running a small business serving a niche market, a score of 10 or 20 isn’t unusual at all.

But you won’t get there overnight. You need someone to provide you with the knowledge and tools to market your business with content.

And that’s what we’re here for. We teach business owners like you how to build a sustainable, profitable business through online content marketing.

free content hacker training class cta 6

Use Domain Authority As a Comparative Metric

The Domain Authority score is most useful as a comparative metric.

It’s a good idea to check your DA score and work on improving it over time. If you have a new website, your score will be 1.

But when you follow the teachings of our Content Transformation© System, you will use high-quality content to increase traffic and conversions.

And those strategies will help you get backlinks, because people are always looking for GOOD content online.

You can also use your DA score to compare yourself to similar sites. Check your competitors’ scores and see how you measure up.

Don’t compare yourself to a company that plays in a different league than you do.

It would be like an 8-year-old kid competing in a marathon full of adults. If you’re the kid, start with a 1k and crush that race first.

You can also check the score of other sites that rank for the keywords you’re targeting.

Just remember not to get too hung up on the Domain Authority score. It’s only one benchmark out of many.

Unless you’re running a local donut shop, you don’t have to outrank Dunkin Donuts for keywords.

In fact, even your local donut shop can generate more sales by focusing on specific content strategies designed to increase ROI.

What Is Page Authority & What’s the Difference Between Domain Authority and Page Authority?

Domain Authority scores take into consideration your entire site.

It’s all about which sites are linking to your site, how many sites are linking to you, and how credible those link sources are.

Page Authority focuses on the ranking of one specific page.

So you may get different scores for different pages on your site.

You can use the Page Authority rankings to help you fine-tune your content and spruce up specific pages on your site to improve your overall Domain Authority.

Just starting out? If you don’t have a website or your website needs a reboot, we can help you with that. Our small but mighty team of developers can build you a site within a week. With the right website and the right content strategy, there’s no stopping your success online. Talk to us today.

How Can I Increase My Domain Authority?

To increase your Domain Authority, you want to follow many of the same SEO writing techniques you’re using to help your site rank and convert.

  • Increase the quantity of external links posting to your site
  • Create quality content people want to link to
  • Update older content regularly
  • Generate specific content for your core audience
  • Improve your internal linking (add links to your own content inside your pages and posts)
  • Spread your content through other channels ( with social media or a newsletter)

You can research your competitors and find out which sites are linking to them. Then work on getting similar links to your site.

If you want to win with content, listen to this recent episode on my podcast where I teach you how to unlearn bad content habits.

content transformation podcast with julia mccoy episode 25 want your content to win - unlearn bad content habits

It also helps to create eminently linkable content.

What do I mean by that?

Your content must be useful ✅ and informative ✅.

Here are some examples of the type of content people share online:

  • Listicles (top 10 posts, etc.)
  • Lengthy guides about pain points your customers have
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Slides
  • In-depth articles for your core audience

With any of these strategies, remember you’re playing a long game.

Your Domain Authority will not improve overnight.

And while it’s relatively easy to go from a DA score of 25 to 35, you’ll have a harder time getting from 75 to 85.

Your Website’s Success Doesn’t Rest on Your Domain Authority Score

Having a high Domain Authority score is wonderful.

But, your company’s success doesn’t hinge on that one number.

Just like a high school student’s grades don’t predict their success in life.

So what do you really need to do to increase ranking and conversions for your website?

Get a proven pathway to show you the way.

Consider applying to join us inside The Content Transformation© System, where you’ll receive an incredibly in-depth, unique methodology and coaching experience. You’ll learn how to build a sustainable, profitable business with your website and content strategy.

Content is only one part of it.

That’s why we go DEEP inside of CTS.

Just getting started? Get a taste of my methodology and how content strategy works to tremendously grow your online presence in our free class.

See you there! 👋🏻

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About Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy is an entrepreneur, 6x author, and a leading strategist around creating exceptional content and brand presence that lasts online. At 19 years old, in 2011, she used her last $75 to build a 7-figure agency, Express Writers, which she grew to $5M and sold ten years later. In the 2020s, she's devoted to running The Content Hacker, where she teaches creative entrepreneurs the strategy, skills, and systems they need to build a self-sustaining business, so they are finally freed up to create lasting legacy and generational impact.