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Understanding and Improving Domain Authority Calculation: A Marketer’s Guide

What is domain authority calculation

When it comes to understanding the intricacies of domain authority calculation, there’s more than meets the eye.

The calculation of domain authority (DA) is not as straightforward as many people believe, as it involves a complex algorithm that takes into account various factors.

recent study found that even high-authority websites can see fluctuations in their scores, proving just how dynamic this process truly is.

This article aims to demystify domain authority calculation and provide you with actionable insights on how to improve your website’s score effectively.

We’ll delve deep into the importance of linking root domains, explore machine learning algorithms used for DA calculations, and shed light on why DA scores fluctuate.

You’ll also learn about the comparative nature of domain authority and discover tips & tricks for improving low-range DA scores.

Understanding Domain Authority

Domain Authority is a metric developed by Moz that gives you an idea of how well your domain is likely to perform in organic search results. 

The Concept Behind Domain Authority

Domain authority calculation is based on multiple factors like linking root domains and the total number of links. But remember, it doesn’t directly impact Google SERPs – so don’t go treating it like a magic wand for rankings.

You might be wondering what exactly are these “linking root domains” and “total number of links.” Well, they’re pretty much what they sound like: the unique domains linking to your site and all those lovely backlinks you’ve worked hard to earn.

It’s important to note that a few high-quality links from reputable sites will do wonders for boosting your DA score compared with hundreds from low-quality sources.

To sum up this section: 

  • Yes, DA is important but not omnipotent; 
  • Yes, focus on getting good quality backlinks rather than hoarding mediocre ones; 
  • Nope, don’t expect overnight miracles with Google SERP rankings just because you have a high DA score. 

Now let’s move onto understanding how this intriguing metric is calculated…

Calculation Method for Domain Authority

It all starts with a machine learning algorithm.

This intelligent system makes educated guesses on which websites Google will favor in its search results.

In simple terms, think of this as a virtual crystal ball predicting your site’s future ranking potential based on various data points and metrics.

Impact of the 2023 update on calculating DA scores

In early 2023, Moz introduced an upgrade known as DA 2.0. The change was not just cosmetic but also brought significant improvements to prediction accuracy.

This update made it harder for low-quality sites to artificially inflate their scores while rewarding high-quality ones with better rankings – making the playing field fairer than before.

A Step-by-Step Guide To Understanding Your Score Calculation:

  1. Moz first evaluates your website by looking at factors like linking root domains and total links among others.
  2. The evaluated data then gets plugged into their complex machine-learning algorithm.
  3. This algorithm compares your site against other websites within its vast database (over hundreds of thousands).
  4. Your final score is determined based on these comparisons.

Tips For A Better Understanding Of Your Da Score:

  • No two domain authority scores are identical due to unique data inputs and comparison sets.
  • A higher DA doesn’t guarantee top SERP positions; remember it’s a predictive tool.
  • Your focus should be improving overall SEO health rather than obsessing over incremental changes in DA score.

The domain authority calculation method might seem complicated initially but understanding how it works can provide valuable insights into what moves the needle when trying to improve organic visibility online.

Key Takeaway: 

  • The Domain Authority (DA) score is calculated using a machine learning algorithm that predicts a website’s future ranking potential based on various data points and metrics. 
  • The 2023 update, known as DA 2.0, made it harder for low-quality sites to artificially inflate their scores while rewarding high-quality ones with better rankings. 
  • It’s important to understand that a higher DA doesn’t guarantee top search engine results page positions, so focus on improving overall SEO health rather than obsessing over incremental changes in the DA score.

Fluctuations in Domain Authority Scores

Your Domain Authority (DA) score is similar to the stock market. It is constantly changing and influenced by various factors.

The Science Behind DA Fluctuations

It is important to understand that your site’s DA score fluctuates based on machine learning calculations. As more data points are collected, the calculations become increasingly precise.

In other words, as new links are added or old ones disappear from the web, your DA will change accordingly. It’s similar to how Wall Street reacts to news about companies.

New Links From High-Authority Sites: A Case Study

To further illustrate this point, let’s consider Facebook – one of those high-authority sites we all know and love (or hate).

If Facebook acquires new links while maintaining its existing ones, other websites’ DAs might decrease relative to Facebook’s due to their less robust link profiles.

Factors Causing Fluctuations in DA Scores

  • Data updates: As Moz collects fresh data about link patterns across the internet, they update their index, which can cause fluctuations in your website’s DA.
  • Growth rate: If higher authority domains grow at a faster pace than yours – acquiring more quality backlinks – it could lead to a decrease in your domain authority.
  • Moz algorithm changes: Similar to Google SERP algorithms, Moz also makes periodic updates that can sometimes cause shifts in Domain Authority scores.
    The Takeaway

Remember not to be disheartened when you see fluctuations in your site’s DA score; instead, view them as opportunities for improvement. Understanding what causes these shifts can help you better strategize for SEO success.

Key Takeaway: 

Domain Authority (DA) scores fluctuate like the stock market, influenced by factors such as data updates, growth rate of higher authority domains, and algorithm changes. Understanding these fluctuations can help business owners strategize for SEO success and view them as opportunities for improvement.

Comparative Nature of Domain Authority

Let’s get one thing straight: Your site’s Domain Authority calculation is not a vanity metric to be flaunted in isolation.

Rather, it’s an effective tool for comparison against other websites within your industry or niche market. Remember, the race is long and relative.

The Importance of Comparative Metrics versus Absolute Ones

You might have heard that size doesn’t matter; well, context does. Your DA score isn’t about hitting a magic number — it’s about outranking your competitors.

A high DA score may look impressive on paper, but it means little if all your competitors are scoring higher. It’s like being the fastest runner…in slow motion.

Challenges Faced While Improving Higher Range DAs

Growing pains are real.

Increasing your score from lower ranges (like 20) can feel like a walk in the park compared to boosting it at higher ranges (such as above 70). Think climbing Mount Everest vs strolling through Central Park; both hikes, vastly different challenges.

Effective Use of Your Site’s Domain Authority (DA) Score

Utilizing DA scores strategically can bring about noteworthy outcomes.

Guidelines for Using and Interpreting DA Scores Effectively

The first step is to understand that your site’s domain authority calculation is not an absolute measure. So, instead of obsessing over reaching a perfect score of 100 on Moz’s scale (which is super unlikely), use this metric as a comparative yardstick against other websites in your industry or niche market.

This approach will help you gauge your “ranking strength” relative to your competitors.

It is also important to track changes in your website’s DA over time. This will provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your SEO efforts and whether they are positively or negatively impacting your ranking potential.

While it’s important to note that search engine rankings are not directly influenced by DA scores, tracking fluctuations can still provide valuable context regarding shifts in search visibility due to algorithm updates or competitor activity.

If you find yourself at the lower end of the scale, around 20 for example, don’t be discouraged. It may actually be easier for you to improve your score compared to if you were already sitting comfortably above 60+.

Actionable Steps to Improve Your Site’s Comparative DA Score:

Crafting content that resonates with readers will naturally attract quality backlinks. Here are some tips:

  • Focus on quality: Quality trumps quantity when it comes to backlinks. Focus on earning links from sites with high domain authority scores. This guide on earning high-quality backlinks would help you understand how.
  • Audit and disavow: Just as good friends enhance our lives, bad links drag down our website’s reputation. Regularly audit and disavow toxic backlinks using Google Search Console.
  • Promote your content: Promote your content across social media platforms for increased visibility and potential link opportunities.

Remember, folks – Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was any website’s Domain Authority. Consistency is key here.

Key Takeaway: 

Understanding and effectively using your site’s Domain Authority (DA) score is crucial for improving local search rankings. Rather than aiming for a perfect score, use it as a comparative tool against competitors, track changes over time, focus on acquiring high-quality backlinks and creating engaging content to improve your DA score gradually.


In conclusion, Domain Authority calculation is not as straightforward as it may seem. It involves a complex algorithm that takes into account various factors, making it a dynamic process. However, understanding how DA is calculated can be a valuable tool in improving a website’s organic search performance. 

The recent update of DA 2.0 in 2023 has made the playing field fairer, rewarding high-quality sites with better rankings. While DA is important, it’s not a guarantee of top SERP positions, so it’s important to focus on improving overall SEO health. 

Additionally, fluctuations in DA scores are common due to machine learning calculations and various factors. It’s crucial to use comparative metrics instead of absolutes to gauge your “ranking strength” against competitors. 

By focusing on acquiring high-quality backlinks and creating engaging content, businesses can gradually improve their DA score and boost their online visibility.

If you’re interested in learning how we report on Domain Authority for our SEO campaigns, schedule a call with our team. We’ll provide an overview of how we map out comprehensive SEO strategies, as well as our custom client portal used for campaign reporting. 

FAQs in Relation to Domain Authority Calculation

How is domain authority calculated?

Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including the number of linking root domains and total links, using a fancy machine learning model.

How is authority score calculated?

Authority Score takes into account both domain and page-level metrics like backlinks, organic search traffic, and on-page SEO performance, which is pretty cool.

What factors determine domain authority?

The determinants of Domain Authority include the site’s age, popularity, size, and trustworthiness based on its link profile, so it’s not just about looking good.

How do I get a good domain authority score?

To boost your Domain Authority score, focus on getting high-quality inbound links from other reputable websites in your industry, because it’s all about who you know.

What’s the difference between DA, DR, and AS?

DA stands for Domain Authority, DR stands for Domain Rating, and AS stands for Authority Score. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between Domain Authority (DA), Domain Rating (DR), and Authority Score (AS):

Domain Authority (DA)Domain Rating (DR)Authority Score (AS)
Developed ByMozAhrefsSEMrush
CalculationBased on multiple factors including linking root domains and the number of total links. It uses a machine learning model to predict ranking.Based on the quantity and quality of the backlinks to a website. It doesn’t take into account traffic or keyword rankings.Combines domain’s backlink data, organic search data, and various ranking data.
Scale1 to 100, with 100 being the best.0 to 100, with 100 being the best.1 to 100, with 100 being the best.
Update FrequencyUpdated monthly.Updated daily.Updated monthly.
UseHelps predict how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs).Primarily used for link building purposes.Used for overall website evaluation including its search engine ranking potential.
StrengthsWidely accepted, provides a general idea of site’s ranking potential.Real-time updates, more focused on backlink profile.Offers a comprehensive view of a site’s health and performance.
WeaknessesUpdates less frequently, may not reflect recent changes quickly.Doesn’t consider many other SEO factors.Might be less known compared to DA and DR.
Please note that all these metrics are third-party metrics and not officially used by Google or other search engines for ranking. They should be used as a reference and not the sole determinant of a website’s quality or ranking potential.

Domain Authority is a proprietary metric developed by Moz that predicts a website’s performance in organic search results. It’s calculated based on factors like linking root domains and total number of links, with high-quality backlinks from reputable sites being more beneficial for improving DA.

Domain Rating, on the other hand, is a metric developed by Ahrefs that measures the strength of a website’s backlink profile on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 100. The higher the DR score, the stronger the website’s backlink profile, which can lead to better search engine rankings.

Authority Score is a metric developed by SEMrush that measures a website’s strength based on various factors like traffic, backlinks, and social signals. It’s calculated on a scale from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating a stronger online presence.

In summary, DA, DR, and AS are all metrics used in SEO to measure a website’s authority and strength. While they have different names and are calculated using different algorithms, they all aim to provide insights into a website’s ability to rank higher in search results.

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