eg. Facebook or Google Analytics
Screenshot showing the Domain Authority score for the BBC website in the UK

Gavin Hirst - Monday 25th February 2019

Domain Authority is changing – find out when, why and what it means for your business

As someone who has worked in SEO for nearly 10 years now, Moz has always been the go-to resource. Whether it’s insights through there Mozbar tool, a thought-provoking blog post or some analysis with Open Site Explorer (now Link Explorer), it’s a rare week that goes by without a visit to the Moz site.

Over that time, one of the main resources I have used has been the Open Site Explorer tool which recently was renamed Link Explorer. This is a fantastic resource which allows you to look at and compare a number of key linking metrics including things like the number of inbound links, linking domains, anchor text and more. The tool has been constantly evolving and recent additions include Moz’s Spam Score and Link Intersect – both super-helpful tools for SEOs.

Domain Authority – what is it?

One of the most well-used metrics provided in Link Explorer is Domain Authority (DA). For those who have never used DA, it’s a predictive measure that was created by Moz which enables you to ‘predict’ your site’s ability to rank in the search results based on a number of link-related factors.

It basically evaluates multiple factors from your website’s inbound links and uses that data to assign and Authority score to both your overall domain and individual pages (Page Authority). That score is between 0-100 with 100 being the strongest possible domain based on inbound link factors.

The DA score of your site is not linked to Google in any way and is only a predictive measure, however it has been used for years by SEOs to showcase the strength (or lack of) of a website’s authority and the likelihood of ranking well within the search engines.

Why is Domain Authority so important?

DA is important because it allows SEOs to compare the overall strength of a website (and competitor sites) and use that information to make data-informed decisions about the best tactics a new client should be deploying when it comes to keyword and linking strategies. It also allows SEOs to gauge the overall strength within a given sector and determine the likelihood of delivering strong results for a new or prospective client.

One thing to remember about DA is that it is a relative measure. When analysing DA scores across a client’s website and their competitors, it’s important to look at the DA scores side by side. If for example, you have a client with a DA score of 34, you might think that this is not that great but if their competitors have scores similar or lower than that score, you may even find your client is a leader in the sector. When you have clients in a niche or smaller clients, it’s difficult to attract inbound links, especially from other high DA sites, so it’s important not to look at the DA score in isolation.

Why is the Domain Authority Score changing and what does it mean for you?

Domain Authority is the industry standard for measuring the strength of a domain relative to ranking. Since its launch, there have been hundreds if not thousands of changes to the Google algorithm and Moz wanted to make sure that the new DA score brought meaningful changes to the table.

Some of the changes include:

  • A better understanding of sites that don’t rank for any keywords at all
  • Improvement of ranking factors behind DA
  • Integration of proprietary Spam Score into DA
  • Integration with Moz Link Explorer – an index with over 35 trillion links

Russ Jones, Principal Search Scientist at Moz says the changes will have a big impact, “These fundamental improvements to Domain Authority will deliver a better, more trustworthy metric than ever before. We can remove spam, improve correlations, and, most importantly, update Domain Authority relative to all the changes that Google makes.”

When does the new DA score kick in?

The rollout of the new Domain Authority is planned for March 5th 2019. That gives you just over a week to do what you need to do in order to prepare for the move.

What do I need to do?

Our top tip is to carry out a Domain Authority Audit for all your clients and their competitors. It might have been a while since you last carried out an audit of DA scores (or like us, you might do this once a month as part of your reporting process). It’s sensible to take an audit of all your client’s current DA scores as well as all their competitors. That way, when the new Domain Authority launches, you will have recent data to compare against.

If you use DA as a reporting metric (or maybe you have objectives as part of your SEO strategy), it makes sense to communicate these changes to your clients and stakeholders as soon as possible. Whilst it’s possible that your DA score may improve when the new DA launches, it could also drop so it’s best to prep your clients for the changes and explain the potential impact.

Having their score and competitor scores will hopefully help to show that any changes have impacted not only your client’s site but also all the competitors within the sector. Fingers crossed the changes mean that all the great work you have been doing for your client will be rewarded and the new metrics used by Moz will help to showcase your outstanding work.

Moz has already said that the new Domain Authority is going to keep pace with Google in terms of updates so expect your DA score to be much more reflective of performance following the update.

Still confused?

If you’re still confused by any of this, or you’ve never even heard of Domain Authority, drop us a line and we’d be happy to have a chat about how this impacts your business and how we can improve your Domain Authority score.

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