What is Domain Authority and Why Is It Important to Your Website?

What is domain authority

If you’ve tried your hand at website optimization, you might have found yourself wondering, “What is Domain Authority?” Domain Authority is one of the ranking factors that determines where your website appears on search engine result pages (SERPs). This metric was developed by the SEO consulting firm Moz and aligns with Google’s algorithm called PageRank.

Significantly, your small business website’s backlink portfolio is a primary measure of good domain authority.

Here is a video from ahrefs on how to increase your domain authority that you can check out after reading:

Why Links Matter

what is domain authority - graphic showing link relationship to site

Domain authority involves a scale and scores that rank from 1 to 100. Higher scores highlight a website’s ability to rank better. If you’re a startup with a brand-new website, your Domain Authority (DA) score is always one.

The relationship that you need to pay attention to is between the DA and links. High-quality external links to places that are relevant to your goods and services and are credible rank high on the scale. Websites and small businesses that don’t have a corresponding number of good inbound links to balance things out score lower.

What is domain authority? Metrics for domain authority on a PC screen

Low quality websites and buying a high number of links both need to be avoided if you don’t want to be penalized by Google.

DA is important but it’s no the whole story when it comes to driving traffic to your small business website.  Russ Jones, Principal Search Scientist, Moz, explains in an email.

“Keep in mind, Domain Authority is a comparative metric. DA means very little on its own. When looked at through the lens of a competitive set, against competitor domains, DA is a very powerful metric,” he writes.  “That said, don’t get too distracted by DA on its own. Marketers still need to keep on eye on other metrics, such as Page Authority, rankings, CTR, keyword-specific metrics (such as Difficulty and Volume), and local search best practices, to maximize their website’s ranking capabilities.”

As a small business owner, here’s a few more things you need to know.

How to Influence Your DA

What is domain authority - magnifying glass hovering over binary and domain spelled out in red.

Basically, influencing your domain authority is about practicing what’s often called White Hat SEO technique and focusing on your links. On the surface, this looks easier than it actually is because all you really need to do is get rid of bad links and get good ones.


You need to start by looking at your backlinks, which are the ones that are pointing to your site from other small businesses or websites. One of the best ways to accomplish that goal is through using Google Webmaster tools and clicking on Search Traffic.  Moz has another tool that looks at websites and their links to sort the bad ones out.

You need to keep in mind a lot of low-quality links that will harm your domain authority come from obvious sources like porn sites or even companies that aren’t relevant to your goods and services. Getting rid of these is the first step. Most of these tools will have a method to disavow bad backlinks.

Good Links

On the other side of the coin is getting good links. One of the best ways to do that is to make your site attractive with fresh readable value-added content. A lot of what you will need comes under the banner of content marketing.

One of the more traditional sources is blogging and articles. However, video can also play an important role. However you decide to get your message across, it’s important to have a content strategy that’s value added and not driven by what’s called the hard sell.

Answering your prospect’s questions and addressing their pain points will help you to build a loyal following and the number of links you get. This is one of the tried and true methods of getting relevant links and good domain authority.

Internal Links

Linking from one page to another inside your website is also a good way to boost your DA. Internal links are another good way to help boost Google’s PageRank as it crawls your site.  Here’s an important tip about using internal linking.

If you make sure that the pages you linked to internally are related by topic or theme, your users will have an easier time navigating through your website. That, in turn, boosts your domain authority.

How to Check DA: Getting Started

what is domain authority? Ahref checker

Understanding your website’s Domain Authority (DA) is an important step in optimizing your online presence. Before you can work to improve it, you need to know where you currently stand. If you’re new to this, don’t worry—there are many online tools that can help you.

What is domain authority - cnn domain rating

Here are some steps to guide you:

  1. Research Tools: There are lots of online tools that can help you check your DA. It’s important to choose a reliable one to get an accurate reading.
  2. Use Trusted Sources: Not all tools are created equal. Always go for tools that are recommended by industry experts. Here’s a link to some trusted sources from industry leading ezine to get you started.
  3. Input Your URL: Once you’ve chosen a tool, enter your website’s URL. Most tools will then give you a score out of 100, showing your Domain Authority.
  4. Analyze the Results: Besides the number, some tools provide insights into why your DA is at its current level and suggest ways to improve. Look for details like linking root domains, the number of total links, and other relevant metrics.
  5. Regular Checks: DA can change because of various factors, like the quality and number of backlinks you receive. It’s a good idea to check your DA from time to time to stay updated.

Guide to Checking Domain Authority (DA)

Below is a step-by-step guide to effectively checking and understanding your website’s Domain Authority (DA).

1. Research ToolsThere are many online tools available to check your DA. Choose a reliable one for an accurate reading.
2. Use Trusted SourcesNot all tools are created equal. Opt for those recommended by industry experts. [Link to trusted sources from an industry-leading ezine]
3. Input Your URLEnter your website's URL in the chosen tool. You'll typically receive a score out of 100 indicating your DA.
4. Analyze the ResultsBeyond just the score, some tools offer insights into factors influencing your DA and suggestions for improvement. Look for details such as linking root domains and total number of links.
5. Regular ChecksDA can fluctuate due to various factors. Check periodically to stay updated and monitor any changes.

Remember, while DA is a key metric, it’s just part of the bigger picture. Always look at it alongside other metrics and strategies for a well-rounded SEO approach.

Image: Depositphotos.com, Unsplash.com, Canva.com

Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. He is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. His print credentials include employment with various Toronto area newspapers and three works of fiction: The Apple Lady (2004), Creekwater (2006) and Sophistry By Degrees (2008) published by Stonegarden Press In California.