By now you've no doubt heard about Domain Authority (DA), a key performance indicator from Moz that predicts the search performance of a website. For years, SEO experts and digital marketing specialists have used Domain Authority in their SEO strategies, ongoing efforts, and reporting to clients and internal teams as an indicator of a website's organic success / failure. Essentially, a higher DA means that a website has a higher chance of ranking in search engine results. There are a bunch of factors going into the algorithm of how DA is calculated, including the quality of inbound links (links pointing to a website).
It's been quite awhile since Moz has updated Domain Authority, but starting on Tuesday, March 5th, 2019, Moz has rolled out it's first major update in years. From the data Moz uses to the consistency of the updates in DA, it's all changing.
What's New With Domain Authority?
Moz has incorporated a few new facets to calculating Domain Authority. We wanted to break them down at a high level.
The Data It's Trained Against
Moz is not only taking more data into consideration about what makes a website rank, but it's now taking MORE data into consideration about what makes a website NOT rank. This is huge - not only will DA insights give you tips regarding what is helping your website rank, but it will also help you pinpoint what's not.
The Domain Authority Algorithm Itself
Moz is now moving to a neural network model, meaning that its algorithm and data set will now be able to detect link manipulation (ie - buying or obtaining low-quality backlinks in order to bolster search engine rankings) in a more detailed and nuanced fashion.
The Algorithm Factors
Perhaps the biggest change to the DA calculation algorithm is the inclusion of the Moz Spam Score. This means that Domain Authority will not only take into consideration how many backlinks are pointing to your website, but it will also take a look at those backlink's quality and potential traffic, among more factors calculated in Spam Score.
The Link Index
How does Moz look at all of these backlinks through millions of sites? Moz has the Moz Link Explorer, the leading link index that analyzes over 35 trillion links. The Moz Link Explorer is at the core of the Domain Authority, making it the most valued ranking metric and analysis tool outside of Google.
Keep Domain Authority Up With Google
But, the best part? Moz plans to keep Domain Authority changes up with Google's algorithm changes, which has hundreds of changes per year. This means that you can always remain confident that outside of Google, the Moz Domain Authority metric is the most up to date, relevant, and useful source for a website's ranking potential.
How Does This Domain Authority Change Affect Me?
Right now, Moz is reporting that there will probably be some fluctuations in your current and historical DA scores starting on March 5th, 2019. Again, the best way to use DA is to compare it against your direct competitors. Don't simply analyze your DA score in isolation, but instead check it against your competitors to see if they're seeing the same shifts and to get a better idea of your website's ability to rank against others. And don't forget - Moz gives you a ton of great insights when they analyze your website, whether through Moz Pro or Link Explorer. Make sure you are regularly checking your DA to ensure you're improving and staying ahead of direct competitors.
Here Are A Few Domain Authority Dos And Donts:
- Use DA as a comparative metric between sites of a similar caliber, category, or industry
- Look to see how your competitors’ DA scores fluctuated in light of any updates. How do you compare?
- Expect regular fluctuations in your DA score, as both your site’s link profile and the rest of the web change over time.
- Don’t look at your site’s Domain Authority score in isolation.
- Don’t mistake our 0–100 scale for an F–A grading on a test. You should not be aiming for 100 to get an “A,” but rather should be aiming for a score that is higher than your direct competitors (those who show up near you in search results for your target keywords).
- Don’t mistake DA for PageRank, Google’s link-based ranking signal. DA was created by Moz, and Google doesn’t factor the score into your site’s ranking.
Have Any Questions or Comments?
Interested in learning more about Domain Authority 2.0? Here's a great video from Britney Mueller, Senior SEO Scientist at Moz.
About the author
Tom has worked in digital marketing since he started his career over a decade ago, working across the project and account side of the business.