What Is Domain Authority and How Can You Increase it?

When used correctly, Domain Authority can be an extremely useful metric for boosting your SEO. Many websites look at Domain Authority as a critical element of their digital strategy, which is both good and bad at the same time. 

Domain Authority reveals the strength of your website in relation to your competitors. Understand how to strengthen it, and you could increase your organic rankings and traffic at the same time. However, Domain Authority itself is not actually a direct ranking factor. 


Then follow this guide, where we break down everything you need to know about Domain Authority, how it works, and how it can be increased.

What is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority (DA) is a SEO metric created by Moz. This metric predicts how likely it might be for your domain to appear in search results compared to the competition. 

When it comes to SEO, earning good rankings involves a lot more than just producing quality content. There is plenty of quality content out there, so search engines rank it based on authority on the subject. This is the whole idea behind Domain Authority. 

Domain Authority was initially only used by Moz, but now various SEO tools (like Ahrefs and SEMrush) have created their own authority metric. Basically, these metrics score your site based on an algorithm that considers things like referring domains and search traffic. 

Knowing your authority score is useful for comparing your site to your competitors, and getting a general understanding of how likely you will be able to compete against them for the same keywords.

According to this Google Webmaster video, Google doesn’t actually include Domain Authority as an official ranking factor. So while DA is not technically going to make a difference to your position in the SERPs, it is still a useful reference for understanding the potential SEO power of your website. 

Domain authority

What is a Good Domain Authority Score?

Domain Authority scores rank websites between 1 and 100. The higher the score, the more powerful the website. Basically, this means websites with a higher DA have a greater chance of ranking in the SERPs over low-DA websites.

Domain Authority scores between 40 and 50 are generally considered average, and scores between 50 and 60 are rated as good. Any Domain Authority score above 60 is excellent. 

However, figuring out the power of Domain Authority is not necessarily as simple as this. 

This is because the main focus of this metric is to compare your site against the competition – something that could look very different depending on the business and niche. 

When a web page gets a backlink from a high-authority website, its Domain Authority will get a boost. While it’s always useful to have a high Domain Authority score, quality backlinks can look totally different for different industries. This means a good DA score is really subject to your competitors. 

For example, a global online business will try to get backlinks from high-authority global sites – like Forbes or BBC. These backlinks will hold a lot of power and make a significant difference to the DA. A small local business, on the other hand, would prefer to target local resources, local newspapers, or industry magazines. These backlinks will hold less DA power, but they could offer the local business more authority and relevancy within its niche. 

Make sense?

So figuring out a good Domain Authority score is not always as simple as looking at a number. Instead, you should compare your score to your competitors and industry, and determine what a good score is based on your site’s performance in the SERPs.

How to Check Your Domain Authority Score 

Domain Authority was created by Moz, so you will need to use Moz’s platform to check it. You can do this for free by entering your domain’s URL on its Link Explorer tool, and your Domain Authority score will appear. 

The helpful free tool will also reveal other metrics on your website, such as:

  • How many unique external linking domains your site has
  • The number of inbound links pointing to a page
  • How many keywords your website is ranking for

And more. It will look something like this:

Domain Authority score check

Why is Domain Authority Important?

We’ve established that Domain Authority is a useful metric for understanding your relative competitiveness. The figure is mostly based on your aggregate link equity, which helps you understand which sites you can compete against. The more high-quality traffic-driving backlinks your website attracts, the greater your DA will be. Of course, this will also improve your chances of ranking well in the SERPs.

That being said, SEOs shouldn’t get too hung up about Domain Authority. It’s more of a helpful guideline than concrete evidence to help your website’s rankings. Yes, a high DA is better than a low DA, but this score still has no direct effect on Google rankings. 

So, when figuring out how DA is important, you’ll need to first establish a goal. Don’t just aim for a high DA, but aim for a DA that offers you good relative competitiveness. SEO is all about understanding where your website has a realistic chance of competing. 

If your website has a DA of 40, and you want to target a keyword where the top-ranking results have an 80+ DA, then you’re not going to get very far. However, if you find keywords that are dominated by 30 – 40 DA sites, you’ll have a solid chance of ranking at the top spot.

In short, DA is extremely useful for understanding your aggregate link equity and knowing how much power your website has against the competition. It’s not a direct ranking factor, but it can be used to guide your SEO content strategy. 

Domain Authority vs Page Authority

Don’t get confused by Domain Authority and Page Authority. Domain Authority looks at an entire web domain and considers the probability of the website as a whole ranking in the SERPs. Page Authority offers the same score, but focused on individual pages on the website. 

Accessing Page Authority is helpful you start to fine-tune your SEO strategy, as it helps you understand what pages need improvement and optimization. If your Page Authority is much lower than your Domain Authority, this is a good sign that you should make some adjustments to that page.

Understanding your Domain Authority is helpful for guiding your general SEO strategy and what keywords you plan to target.

Why Can Domain Authority Change Over Time?

Once you know your Domain Authority score, you can’t always expect it to stay consistent over time. Websites are always changing. 

Domain Authority is also a score that uses multiple metrics to determine it. So, there are many factors that could influence changes in your score. Before we get into strategies you can use to improve your DA, it’s important to understand the different factors that influence this score in the first place. 

Some of the main reasons why your Domain Authority might go up or down include:

  • The growth of your link profile hasn’t been captured yet by Moz
  • Sites with a lower Domain Authority score are more heavily impacted by scaling fluctuations. This is when higher authority sites experience greater link growth, which skews the scales
  • Your website might earn backlinks that don’t contribute to Google rankings
  • Fewer linking domains might have been crawled compared to a previous crawl by Moz

These are just a few reasons why DA scores can shift, but there’s one important concept to understand here: Domain Authority is based on comparisons to all other domains across the DA scale. 

This means your website might improve its SEO efforts, and boost its rankings, but this isn’t directly reflected in your DA score. This is because the system is determined based on a relative scale. 

In fact, your DA score could even go down after improving your link profile because other high-authority sites have enhanced their DA at a greater rate. In this case, your actual SEO rankings would likely improve, even though this isn’t reflected in your DA. 

So, Domain Authority is all relative. It’s best to look at this score as a comparative figure instead of a critical SEO metric.

How to Increase Domain Authority

Now that we understand what Domain Authority is and how you can use it, you’ll probably want to start boosting your own score. Not because a good DA directly improves your rankings, but because the things that come with a good DA (like a strong backlinks profile) will make a difference to your SEO performance. 

To help you out, here are some of the best ways you can increase Domain Authority, and improve your overall SEO results at the same time. 

1. Generate More High-Quality Backlinks

The most significant way to improve your Domain Authority is to generate high-quality backlinks for your website. This is one of the fundamentals of good SEO, and it’s what will have the greatest impact on your DA score. 

Whether you’re concerned about DA or not, getting backlinks from sites that carry a lot of power is always a good thing. Quite simply, the more high-authority backlinks you generate, the higher your DA score will be. 

So what is a high-authority site? This is a website that has a strong DA score (to reflect its authority). If websites with more authority point links out to you, your website will also be seen as a strong authority – or at least that’s the idea. 

Good quality backlinks involve more than just a high authority score though. Search engines are smart, and they can identify websites that actually hold authority and power, and websites that simply have a good score and no foundation to support this. 

For example, link farms could help you get high-DA backlinks, but they’re not always the best resources online. Instead, you’ll want to earn backlinks from “real” web pages that generate organic traffic. More on this later.

How to Generate High-Quality Backlinks

Now, this is the tricky part. 

You could write multiple in-depth guides on generating backlinks, but since this guide is focused on DA, we won’t dive into too much granular detail. However, here is a brief breakdown of some of the best tactics you can use to get more backlinks:

  • Pitch and write guest posts for other high-authority sites within your niche. This takes some time and effort, but it can be a great way to generate natural, authentic backlinks
  • Run link exchanges, or link swaps, with other websites. Just make sure the links you gain and add to your site fit in naturally
  • You could pitch your website to journalists as a credible source. This takes time and effort but could result in some very high-quality backlinks
  • Perform outreach where you offer your web pages as link-worthy guides to other websites. This is a very time-intensive process, but it can generate good results
  • Consider the white hat link building, or link marketplace, schemes available. Just be very careful here, as paying for backlinks could backfire – not to mention paying for high-quality backlinks can get expensive!

These are just a few tactics to grow your link profile, but really there is only one strategy that matters if you want to generate a lot of organic backlinks: create the best quality content available for your chosen keyword.

2. Clear Bad Links Off Your Site

Not all backlinks are good for your website. In fact, it’s better to only have a handful of authentic links than to have hundreds of spammy links pointing to your site. As we said, search engines are smart and they can tell when a link is genuine and when one is simply used as a way to try and “trick” bots into rewarding you with a better DA. 

“Bad” links don’t mean low-authority links. Instead, bad links are low-relevancy links that are just there for the purpose of trying to grow a backlink profile. If the link doesn’t seem like a natural fit, or if it doesn’t actually add any value to the web page, then it’s probably best to remove that link. 

We won’t get into the complex details of how search engines detect spam links, but it’s pretty easy for you to use your intuition to identify these links. If it feels out of place or as though it’s just trying to promote a backlink to your site, then it’s probably going to be flagged as spam (which will harm your SEO). 

Pay attention to the anchor text used, the context of the page, whether the backlinking website makes sense for your niche, and whether the website actually generates any organic traffic. If not, it could be a link farm – which is a big no-no in SEO. 

This is one of the main reasons why you should avoid buying backlinks, as the bought backlinks could do your website more harm than good. 

3. Monitor Your Backlinks Carefully (and Ensure They Drive Traffic)

A strong signal of whether a link is legitimate or not is whether it actually generates traffic. This is something that is factored into your DA score. 

So, you could generate hundreds of irrelevant links to your site that are out of context and don’t actually have any organic traffic heading to them. This won’t help your DA. rather focus on getting a few highly relevant that have real traffic to them. 

Besides focusing on generating these links in your backlink-building strategy, it’s also important that you regularly audit and assess your site’s backlinks. Ensure any interesting backlinks you have use a do-follow link.

Although it’s not a direct factor that influences DA, the same idea applies to outbound links on your site. If you’re linking out to irrelevant web pages that don’t add value to your content, then you’ll want to remove these links. Doing so will help your SEO performance. 

4. Create Quality, Valuable Content for Your Audience

At the end of the day, nothing matters more than the quality of the content on your website. Publishing high-quality, relevant pieces of content that perfectly match search intent is always the best way to boost your SEO results. 

Not that DA scores can measure “content quality”, but having better quality content will help you attract more relevant backlinks organically. Over time this will boost your DA score. 

5. Continually Update Your Content

Times move fast, and your web pages can quickly become outdated. It’s important that you go over any pages on your site that have a low Page Authority score, or that have unindexed content. Compare your page to the competition and see where you can update old content, add new ones by using our content writing services, and make your page more relevant. 

Doing this can help boost your individual Page Authority scores, which contributes towards your Domain Authority. Updated pages can also result in traffic boosts. 

Keeping your content up-to-date and relevant to your main keyword will also help you attract more natural backlinks. 

Use a tool like Search Console to see what search terms your pages are ranking for, and make sure your page is optimized for these terms. 

Use Google Search Console to re-optimise your pages

Above: This example shows a page that is earning impressions for search queries that were not originally being targeted. Re-optimizing the page for these queries can result in improved Page Authority.

6. Analyze Your Competitors 

A large part of successful SEO involves closely monitoring your competitors and trying to outdo them. One way you can do this is to find your SEO competitors and regularly analyze your competitor’s sites and see where they get backlinks from. This might present backlink opportunities for you to target.

7. Focus On Content Distribution

If you want to get more backlinks, then you’ll need to make your content as visible as possible. One way to do this is to consistently promote and distribute your content. 

Use social media, email marketing, relevant online forums, and anywhere else that you can drive new people to your website. This could help you generate natural backlinks and social media shares, which can be a great way to increase your DA. 

8. Ensure Your Content is Relevant

This may be a general SEO basic, but it’s also an important strategy for boosting your DA. 

Always make sure you publish useful, interesting, valuable content with your core audience in mind. This will help you generate more interest and potentially get your content going viral. Viral content will always have a high Page Authority.

Never Try to Fake Domain Authority

The last point we’re going to drive home is that building Domain Authority is a long-term game. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, and enhancing your Domain Authority is no exception. 

If you want to increase the quality and overall authority of your site, then the most effective way is to do this organically. Create content that adds value to your audience, be consistent about how you publish content, and always look for new opportunities to publish content on your website that will help engage and attract your audience even more. 

Doing this takes time and effort, but it’s the only way you’ll naturally generate backlinks and trust around your website. 

If you try to “cheat the system” by purchasing links or trying to grow “unnaturally”, you can be sure that search engines will be able to pick up on this. So, when it comes to SEO and DA, never look for quick gains. The only way you’ll see real success is through long-term, steady, organic growth. 

Wrapping Up

There’s a lot you need to stay on top of for successful SEO, and one important metric is Domain authority. Some SEOs take DA very seriously, while others are happy to overlook it. While it won’t necessarily boost your rankings directly, the things that come with a strong DA – like high-quality backlinks – will play a major role in your SEO results. So, increasing your DA the right way will certainly add a lot of value to your overall SEO strategy. 

Understand how to use DA, and consider it a valuable tool to compare your website strength to the competition. This can help you make more informed decisions that result in a more impactful SEO content plan.