What Is DA?

DA stands for Domain Authority. It is a ranking metric created by Moz to give a quick way to assess the authority of a website and how well it is likely to do on search engines like Google. All websites have a DA, although it can take a while for new websites to get picked up. The DA of a website will be somewhere between 1 and 100, the higher the number the more authority a website can be considered to have.

A screenshot of MOZ showing a websites DA
You can check your DA for free on Moz

Lots of websites will show you your DA, but as a tool created by Moz the most reliable site to check it on is Moz itself. You can check up to 3 URLs a day on Moz for free. You can also install the free Moz toolbar on Chrome which will show you the DA of any website you are looking at.

Technically speaking DA is a rank rather than a score which means the DA a website has is relative to all the other websites out there. If lots of other websites improve their performance according to the algorithm, but yours hasn’t, your DA will go down.

How Do You Get a Higher DA?

Moz rank millions of websites and they use an algorithm to assess what DA they should have. Moz has lots of information about this on their website especially this post, but the main thing is to work on the links to your website. In short: having more good quality links which drive traffic to your website will increase your DA. 

Moz used to update all websites DA’s at the same time every few months, but now they are updated in “real time” so they can go up and down at any time as they discover a website has lost or gained links.

If you check your DA on Moz as well as your DA it will show the number of links it has found, how many ranking keywords you have and your spam score. With free access it will also show you some detail on these, but to see more information you need to pay.

Should You Worry About Your DA?

When I started blogging I was blissfully ignorant of things like DA. You can have a really successful website without ever knowing what your DA is. It’s far more important to get visitors to your site.  SEO and aiming to rank well on search engines like Google is a much better focus. DA can indicate how you will do on search engines, but they are run by separate organisations so an increase in DA doesn’t always mean more search traffic. Even Moz says you shouldn’t be worrying about DA in isolation.

I know people get upset when their DA has gone down even when they have put work in, but it’s just one of those things and in the long term the effort should pay off. Sometimes Moz will “lose” links that are still there, sometimes it will take months to find new links to your site that you know are there. It’s not something to panic about.

Your Domain Authority is just one way organisations can quickly assess the authority of your website. It is probably the most widely used at the moment (partly because it’s free), but examples of other tools include DR (Domain Rating) from Ahrefs and Trust Flow from Majestic. Google Analytics is the most reliable way to see your traffic and as organisations wont have access to your stats (unless you give them access) looking at your DA can provide some indication of how well you do on search results.

Google use really complicated algorithms to decide whether to show your website in their search results. The number and types of links form part of this, but they also look at the behaviour of people who click through to your site. If people click through and don't go back to the search page there is a good chance they found what they are looking for. They can infer that your website is helpful so should be shown more in future. This isn't information that Moz and other ranking tools have access to. 

If you are a business who is trying to sell something your traffic is more important than your DA. If you are a blogger who wants to work with brands then most of the time the brands and agencies will look directly at your site when making a decision rather than your DA.

The main people who care about the DA of your site are SEO Agencies, especially ones that want to buy links from your website to their clients. Agencies will pay more for a link from a website with a higher DA than one with a lower DA so if you are planning to sell links, focusing on increasing your DA is worth it, for everyone else focusing on actually getting traffic to your website is a better use of time.

What's your DA and should you be worrying about yours?
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