Table of contents
- Domain Authority and SEO
- On-site SEO
- Off-site SEO
- How To Get More Search Traffic with SEO?
- What Is The Domain Authority Score?
- Domain Authority Score – PageRank
- Website’s Domain Authority And Other Metrics
- Domain Authority vs. Google Algorithm
- Is Domain Authority Score Important?
- Domain Authority – choose wisely
- Not All SEO Audits Are Equal
- Boosting Website Visibility And Page Authority
SEO is full of myths, half-truths, and as a constantly evolving industry, and outdated information as well. Web page optimization guidelines can change overnight based on a single update to Google’s ranking algorithm. It does not help that the details of that algorithm remain secret. Of course, a lot can be deduced from official information, experience in SEO and constant experimentation, though with thousands of algorithm changes per year, or even every 3 hours on average, without constant monitoring and holistic analysis it is easy to fall into the traps of rumors and hasty conclusions.
One of the often misinterpreted variables in SEO is domain authority. Is it a legitimate Google ranking factor? What does it mean to have a good domain authority score? How to increase domain authority and to what extent can you rely on it comes to link building? If you want to know the answers to these questions, read on!
Domain Authority and SEO
Let’s make a quick reminder about basic terms related to website positioning.
Ranks in search engine result pages depend on many ranking factors – Google’s algorithm takes into account over 200 issues, related both to content and technology, as well as link profile growth. In a nutshell, SEO can be divided into two sections:
On-site SEO are actions we can perform on the site itself. These include updating and usually expanding the content on the page and saturating it with relevant keywords – Google loves high-quality content that is presented in a clear and engaging form. Apart from keyword research, technical issues are also of great importance – i.e. loading speed, responsiveness, SSL certificate implementation, or issues related to User Experience (UX).
Off-site SEO is based mostly on building external links that lead to a given domain. Theoretically, the more authority a website has, the higher it ranks in search results – Google digitally applies its version of social proof to its rankings and takes linking domains seriously. Of course, the mechanics of analyzing referring domains are a bit more complicated in the details – diversification of the link profile, for example, is important. It means that links should look natural, mixing relevant backlinks with, for example, nofollow links from social media.
How To Get More Search Traffic with SEO?
The key to positioning websites is to understand every important Google ranking factor, prepare an SEO strategy and implement changes in order to optimize a website. If done properly, the search engine ranking score of a web page increases over time – as well as your business’ profitability.
Of course, each ranking factor carries a different “weight” – they are not equal and some of them are more important than the others. A website’s ability to increase its visibility in search engines and, consequently, gain organic traffic is based on the synergy of all SEO-related activities.
Actual page authority is really hard to evaluate – you can use some SEO tools that analyze a website’s position on certain keywords, but it demands some time and expertise. For the sake of simplification, however, you can find some metrics that more or less reflect the actual authority score – one of them is the aforementioned domain authority.
But before explaining what domain authority measures, let’s start from the very beginning.
What Is The Domain Authority Score?
Domain authority is a metric created by Moz, which uses a complex machine learning model to estimate how high a given site will rank in the search engine results pages. |The score is calculated based on many factors but most importantly on the number of linking root domains and the total number of backlinks. The domain authority score rates a website on a scale from 1 to 100.
Domain Authority Score – PageRank
In the past, the approximate “power” of a domain could be checked quite easily using Google tools: the Google’s PageRank indicator, which with the help of a formula calculated the “quality” of a domain on the basis of inbound links and outbound links. The links taken into account by the PR had to have the dofollow attribute (the division into dofollow and nofollow was introduced in 2005 – before that categorization did not exist, and the algorithm necessarily analyzed all the links).
Information about PageRank was located on the Google toolbar, and small site owners often placed banners with PR rank on their sites as an expression of digital prestige. Over time, Google’s PageRank was removed from Google Search Console and you could not officially check a site’s PR score. Today, this score still has a significant impact on a page’s position in search results, but it’s only one ranking factor of many, which are taken into account by the almighty algorithm.
Website’s Domain Authority And Other Metrics
Due to Google hiding the PageRank value in 2016, figuring out the “strength” of a domain has become more complicated. Many SEO tools have created their own algorithms to evaluate page authority. The issue of domain authority (DA) score often arises in discussions – this is a ranking developed by Moz, and is based on the analysis of several factors. The domain authority scores range on a scale from 0 to 100, where a higher number means the greater potential of the domain.
A similar tool, although obviously based on its own system of calculating values, is used by the popular service Ahrefs. It’s called Domain Rating and is based on the comparison of the link profile leading to the analyzed domain with other domains in Ahrefs database. As in the case of domain rating, the result is given on a scale from 0 to 100.
Keep in mind when using Ahrefs – do not confuse Domain Rating with URL Rating (UR) – the second indicator refers to quite similar mechanics (but uses a logarithmic scale), but analyzed is not the entire domain, but only a specific URL.
Domain Authority vs. Google Algorithm
Remember – both site’s domain authority and domain rating (as well as other similar metrics evaluating page authority calculated by other tools, i.e. domain score) are not official Google data. They are only approximate estimations, which should be treated only as a guideline, not a fully reliable factor. Google’s algorithm remains a secret of the Mountain View corporation – all commercial tools trying to recreate it on the basis of their own data are necessarily burdened with a large dose of conjecture and even randomness.
Google itself admits this in the words of John Mueller, an expert on Google’s algorithm for many years – “high domain authority with links does not guarantee high positions in the search engine result pages”.
Is Domain Authority Score Important?
Ahrefs, Moz, or Senuto are services so useful that no SEO specialist can ignore them – mastering such tools is the basis of a positioner’s work. There is no denying, however, that the key is the proper interpretation of the data they contain. Commercial crawlers may not reach all links. What is more, they can be blocked from the page administrator level (whereas Google crawlers usually reach these subpages anyway).
Many SEO agencies block the bots of tools such as Moz or Ahrefs so as not to give away their backlinks to competitors. This strategy of safety and protection of know-how at the same time does not allow these tools to realistically evaluate the link profile. Domain authority scale is therefore only an estimated indicator, not a real value. A website’s DA can be a sensible indicator, however, the analysis of each domain should be approached individually – only then will the SEO audit and subsequent positioning activities be able to extract the maximum potential from the website.
Domain Authority – choose wisely
To sum up, you can use a domain authority checker and similar tools, but being a Moz domain authority acolyte will not give you the full perspective on search engine ranking scores.
Though there is something that helps you grasp a bigger picture. It’s an SEO audit – the basis of all SEO activities.
Not All SEO Audits Are Equal
The first step in website positioning is always (or at least it should be) a detailed, specialized audit of the website. An audit is performed by an experienced specialist who should bear in mind that despite the undeniable usefulness of the aforementioned commercial tools, many indications may be burdened with errors resulting from generalized statistical conclusions made by such tools. When analyzing a website profile, one should consider first all the results that link building generates – i.e. the page’s position in the Google search results.
SEO audits cover analyses of linking domains, the structure of the particular page, the quality of the content, as well as the domain’s ranking keywords and comparison to websites of your business rivals.
Boosting Website Visibility And Page Authority
Ready to increase search engine ranking score? For a bird’s eye assessment of your website positioning, strategic consulting, and a complete and professional SEO audit contact our team of specialists at Verseo, the leading provider of website optimization services in Central Eastern Europe.