The Importance Of Domain Authority

Important new developments for your digital marketing strategy.

Important new development for your digital marketing agency.

If you use Moz then you’ll be excited to hear about the new version of their Domain Authority tool.

Moz – if you are not aware – is an SaaS (Software as a Service) company based in Seattle. They specialise in inbound marketing and marketing analytics software and host a website that includes an online community of more than one million globally based digital marketers and marketing related tools.

What is Domain Authority?

One of the key features of Moz is Domain Authority. This is a score that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. It can be used to track the strength of your website over time or to compare one site to another.

Domain Authority – DA – scores ranges from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank. The DA score is calculated on what is known about a site, particularly relating to the links pointing to it. Data is drawn from a combination of various other Moz metrics including one of their best known tools MozRank. MozRank harnesses the democratic characteristic of the web to quantify a page’s popularity by the number of other web pages that link to them.

So, sites with a very large number of high-quality external links will be at the top end of the Domain Authority scale, whereas small businesses and websites with fewer inbound links are likely to have a much lower DA score. Brand new websites always start with a Domain Authority score of 1.

However, it’s not just about achieving a high DA score in isolation. Because Domain Authority is a comparative tool, there isn’t necessarily a “good” or “bad” DA score. The important thing is to compare your DA score with scores for the sites you’re directly competing with in the SERPs.

Bear in mind that Domain Authority is not a metric used by Google in determining search rankings – and has no effect on the SERPs. But it has proven strength as a predictive measure of ranking ability

So what are the changes with new Domain Authority?

Domain Authority 2.0 has been launched in March 2019 with a number of updates to help it keep pace with search engine algorithms. There have been substantial improvements in both the quality and quantity of the link index, and in Moz’s ability to create relevant signals from this data. The changes to both the link index and authority scoring calculations results in DA scores being more closely aligned to how the search engines order search results.

This new version is an advanced machine-learned model. It incorporates a number of new factors into its algorithm in order to evaluate the strength of a site even more accurately than before.

There are four main changes:

  1. Comparative data
    Standard SEO methodology has so far used large and unmanipulated set of search results. But the new Domain Authority will be more reliable in that it is now better at understanding sites which don’t rank for any keywords at all than it has been in the past. This change will enable Moz to use more link data and better ways of interpreting that link data.
  2. Training algorithm
    Domain Authority is a model that learns over time. However, with Domain Authority 2.0 Moz is switching to a neural network. This offers several benefits over the previous linear model. It will enable a deeper level of analysis including the ability to detect link manipulation.
  3. Ranking factors
    The ranking factors behind Domain Authority have been greatly improved. Metrics such as Moz Spam Score and complex analysis of link quality patterns have been incorporated. The combination of these factors and the sophisticated machine-learned model will enable marketers and digital marketing agencies to keep pace with Google’s algorithm updates and make more informed search marketing decisions.
  4. Moz Link Explorer
    The new Moz Link Explorer lies at the heart of Domain Authority 2.0. Link Explorer is the industry’s leading link index with over 35 trillion links. Its link index is updated daily using a crawler called Dotbot. Links are crawled starting with high-value links and using a machine learning algorithm that mimics Google’s index.

What impact will these changes have?

Change is always disruptive. You may therefore notice that your DA score may be higher or lower than previously. This is due to the change in how Moz calculates scores and is not a direct reflection of any changes you’ve made to your link building strategy.

But bear in mind two things:

  • Firstly, remember that Domain Authority is intended to be used as a relative metric. It is meaningless when it isn’t compared to other sites. The important thing is not whether your DA score drops or increases : but whether it drops or increases relative to your competitors.So if your score has changed, check out your competitor’s scores to see if they have fluctuated in a similar direction.
  • You should in any case expect regular fluctuations in your DA score, due to changes in both your site’s link profile and the rest of the web.

What will happen to my old score?

If you have a Campaign with Moz, they will retain your old score temporarily for reference. You will still be able to view this data in the Links section of your Campaign.

But be aware that the 2.0 update will also be applied to historic data. This means that you will continue to be able to measure linear progress. So your “Metrics over time” will still be an accurate representation of your site’s authority and link improvement despite the changes resulting from the update.

So, this is a flavour of the changes that Moz are making to Domain Authority 2.0, and how you can expect them to impact on you. But this is only the beginning. We can expect to see ongoing changes as Moz strives to continue to improve Domain Authority and make it much more responsive to Google’s changes. Whether it is the many minor changes that Google makes to their algorithm every year – or more fundamental algorithm updates like Penguin or Panda – Moz aims for Domain Authority to be as relevant and useful as ever.