What is Domain Authority? And how should you use it?

Domain Authority is a metric created by Moz in order to help predict how well a site will rank organically in search engines. This number is based on a 100-point, logarithmic scale encompassing over 40 SEO factors and signals. Some of these factors include your linking root domains, total links, MozTrust, etc. in order to provide an accurate model that matches Google’s algorithm.

Two important things to note about this metric are: due to how it is calculated, DA can fluctuate often, and it is easier to improve your score from a 25 to 35 than it is from a 75 and 85. For those reasons, it is best to use Domain Authority as a competitive metric to track the strength of one site against another site over time. Without the comparison to add this context, DA fluctuations can be misleading.

What happened to Domain Authority last month?

If you have been tracking your Domain Authority as a measure of your SEO success and noticed a significant drop in June, you are not alone. Before you panic, there’s actually a valid reason why your site (and many others) had a dip in DA in June.

Moz’s latest Mozscape Index (all the URLs that Moz’s API crawls and catalogues) on June 9th included about 34 billion URLs less than usual. For reference, it still includes data from over 153 billion URLs. According to Moz’s Rand Fishkin, a large number of Chinese pages and subdomains were cut from this index that were causing processing issues. Basically, in order to improve the speed and efficiency of their results, they decided not to crawl those particular problem websites. And, since many URLs were excluded, the quality and importance of the ones that remain are greater in general. Rand explains, DA, PA, and link metrics have maintained very similar correlations with Google rankings in this index, so if you’ve seen a large drop in either, it may be related to the removal of links that Google may not have been counting very highly. However, it’s also possible that you’ve lost DA/PA from links that Google did count and Moz should be, too.”

Does this mean DA will go back up with the new index?

Not necessarily. If you’ve been tracking your links and domain authority changes and noticed these metrics have dropped compared to last month, it’s most likely due to Moz removing links that they believed Google may not have been counting. However, since this happened for many websites and Domain Authority is best used as a comparison tool, don’t worry about your recent drop in DA unless your competitors or other companies in your niche did not experience similar declines. Domain Authority will always fluctuate as Google continuously updates their algorithm, and Moz retrains their model about once a year to adjust accordingly. Instead of looking at it like a “drop” in DA, consider it as a correction instead.

The best thing to do is to continue working on your overall SEO strength and compare your domain authority (and other metrics) to your competitors’ over time.