Google remains a mystery. Even the best SEOs in the world are relying on external tools and interpretations of what is going on behind the scenes at Google, and within their infamous search algorithm.
“Domain Authority” is one of the very best tools we have for estimating how likely a website is to rank for search terms. So, what is domain authority and what’s a good domain authority for a website to achieve? We delve into the details below.
What is Domain Authority?
It helps to understand what Domain Authority is.
In the simplest terms, it is a score from 0-100 that gives you an indication of how “authoritative” a website is, in the eyes of Google.
This is not a score that is assigned by Google. No, this isn’t a peek behind the curtain of what Google assigns to websites. Instead, it is a very sophisticated tool developed by industry giant Ahrefs. It predicts how likely a website is to rank in Google based on its “authority” or “Domain Rating” as Ahrefs calls it.
The Domain Rating score uses data from Ahrefs’ huge web index, which uses both machine learning and huge amounts of data from Google’s own index. The scores correlate very closely with search engine results, and this means that you can pretty reliably judge a site’s authority.
In the majority of cases, a website with a high DA (Domain Authority) will outrank a website with poor DA, if they have similar content.
The Domain Authority and Domain Rating terms are used interchangeably by SEOs. They both mean the same thing; a numerical value on an exponential scale, which shows how highly respected a domain is.
Domain Authority was the Moz score used as the industry standard for a long time, but Domain Rating is more modern and reliable in current SEO.
Domain Authority is Not The Only Factor
Asking “what is a good domain rating?” is very useful, but it is far from the only factor.
While the rating or authority of a site is a really accurate tool for SEOs to use, it is very far from being the only factor in ranking a website.
If you think about it, a website with a huge Domain Authority would be able to rank for every single term on the internet if this were all that mattered.
While DA gives you a brilliant insight into your competitors, remember that there are so many other ranking factors. For instance, topical relevance, site speed, and the quality of the content on the page.
What is a Good Domain Authority Score?
A lot of website owners just want to know whether their authority score or rating is good. There’s every chance that you have checked one of the tools and seen your own site rating, but it’s impossible to really understand it without a frame of reference.
Software tools like Moz and Ahrefs give a score from 0-100. This is not a linear scale.
So, if the score of a site is 40, and you are comparing it to a site with a score of 20, it doesn’t mean that the site with a 40 score is twice as good. It is usually exponentially more authoritative in the eyes of the scale.
When you start a brand new website, assuming that it hasn’t been purchased as a going concern and that the domain name hasn’t been used for anything before, the rating is likely to be zero.
Once you’ve got some content on there, and the site has been running for a year or two, even with no link-building activities the site may hit 10-20 in terms of authority score.
This scale goes all the way up to websites like Amazon and Facebook, which have authority in the 90s. You can see what a massive range is covered.
It is impossible to say what is a good domain authority. It’s not a case of saying with any certainty that “40 is good, 20 is bad”.
Instead, you should compare yourself to your competition. If lots of websites that you are competing with have a very low domain rating score, and low authority when you are checking with SEO tools, it is fair to say that you probably have a decent chance of outranking them and reaching the top of Google by providing better content, and building your own DA.
Similarly, this can be a way to decide upon which search terms to target. If your domain authority is 30 and a lot of sites with much lower ratings are ranking for search terms, you will know that you have a chance of ousting them if you match or surpass the content they offer. If your score is 30 and all of the competing sites are around the 80 mark, you’re going to need a colossal effort to improve your site to the point where you can outrank them.
How Do I Build My Domain Authority?
If you want to improve your domain authority, the main factor is links that point to your website, and the quality of these links. Gone are the days when you could just throw a bunch of links at your site and expect it to improve. The sites linking to yours should be authoritative in themselves, and in an ideal world, they should be relevant.
At Outreachmaman, we have a sophisticated method of correlating the keywords you’re looking to rank for and the rough authority of your competition. From here, we can work out what sort of links, and how many, we think you’ll need to meet your search goals. This gives us the edge when it comes to creating a plan for your outreach campaigns.
Building quality links from outreach campaigns, including guest posting, are some of the most effective ways to boost your DA or domain rating.
Page Authority – Trickling Your Authority Through to Inner Pages
Domain Authority is closely linked to similar scores that are given to internal pages. Tools like Moz and Ahrefs assign pages their own authority score.
A page that is more prominent and has a lot more links pointing to it is likely to be seen as “stronger” as an internal page. A lot of this comes from the strategy for internal linking on your website.
If you consistently reference a page from your blog posts and other parts of your website, the perception is that the page is more important and deserves more attention from the search engines. Page authority scores are one of the ways that SEO tools show you how your internal pages are perceived.
A good SEO strategy will review this score, and the pages that have a lot of internal links and mentions. This means you can shine a spotlight on the pages that you want to rank more highly, or that need a little extra “link juice” to get there.
There’s no denying that this is one of the most insightful metrics out there when it comes to optimizing your website for search results. While nobody knows exactly how Google’s algorithm works, domain ratings are undeniably correlated, and give you an overview of how your site is performing.
So what is a good domain authority?
It’s all relative.
In many niches, especially localized ones, a score of 30 may be enough to rank for all the terms you want to. In other niches, you may not experience any results until your score reaches 50, 60, 70, or even higher. If you’re looking to outrank authority medical journals like Healthline.com, for instance, your site would need to reach a huge level of authority.
By working with Outreachmama, we can help you to establish what a good DA looks like for you, and how you can build a strategy to outrank the competition.