The Short Version: Don’t obsess over Domain Authority (DA) for a unique sake. Domain Authority shines at comparing your general authority (your aggregate link equity, for probably the most part) to other sites and determining where you are able to compete. Attract real links that drive traffic, and you’ll improve both your Domain Authority and your rankings.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, over a rock, or really anywhere rock-adjacent, you may understand that Moz has recently invested plenty of time, research, and profit a new-and-improved Domain Authority. Individuals who use Domain Authority (DA) naturally wish to improve their score, and this is a question that I admit we’ve avoided occasionally, because like any metric, DA may be abused if taken out of context or viewed in isolation.
I attempt to write a how-to post, but what follows can just only be referred to as a belligerent FAQ …
Why do you want to increase DA?
This may sound such as a strange question coming from a member of staff of the organization that created Domain Authority, but it’s the most crucial question I could ask you. What’s your end-goal? Domain Authority is designed to be an indicator of success (more on that in a moment), but it doesn’t drive success. DA isn’t employed by Google and can have no direct impact on your rankings. Increasing your DA solely to increase your DA is pointless vanity.
So, I don’t want a high DA?
I understand your confusion. If I’d to over-simplify Domain Authority, I would say that DA is definitely an indicator of one’s aggregate link equity. Yes, everything else being equal, a high DA is better than a low DA, and it’s ok to strive for a greater DA, but high DA itself shouldn’t be your end-goal.
So, DA is useless, then?
No, but like any metric, you can’t put it to use recklessly or out of context. Our Domain Authority resource page dives into greater detail, but the short answer is that DA is very good at helping you realize your relative competitiveness. Smart SEO isn’t about throwing resources at vanity keywords, but about understanding where you realistically have an opportunity at competing. Knowing that your DA is 48 is useless in a vacuum. Knowing that your DA is 48 and the sites competing on a query you’re targeting have DAs from 30-45 can be hugely useful. Likewise, knowing that your would-be competitors have DAs of 80+ could save plenty of wasted time and money.
But Google says DA isn’t real!
This topic is just a article (or eleven) in and of itself, but I’m going to lessen it to a couple points. First, Google’s official statements often define terms very narrowly. What Google has said is that they don’t really make use of a domain-level authority metric for rankings. Ok, let’s take that at face value. Do you imagine that the new page on a low-authority domain (let’s say DA = 25) has the same potential for ranking as a high-authority domain (DA = 75)? Of course not, because every domain advantages from its aggregate internal link equity, that is driven by the links to individual pages. Whether you measure that aggregate effect in a single metric or not, it still exists.
Let me ask another question. How do you assess the competitiveness of a fresh page, that has no Page Authority (or PageRank or whatever metrics Google uses)? This question is just a big element of why Domain Authority exists — to help you understand your power to compete on terms you haven’t targeted and for content you haven’t even written yet.
Seriously, give me some tips!
I’ll assume you’ve read each of my warnings and taken them seriously. You intend to boost your Domain Authority because it’s the best authority metric you’ve, and authority is generally an excellent thing. You will find no magical secrets to improving the factors that drive DA, but listed here are the main points:
1. Have more high-authority links
Shocking, I know, but that’s the long and short of it. Links from high-authority sites and pages still carry significant ranking power, and they drive both Domain Authority and Page Authority. Even if you elect to ignore DA, you know high-authority links are a good thing to have. Getting them is the topic of 1000s of posts and more than a couple of full-length novels (well, ok, books — but there’s probably a story and feature film in the works).
2. Get fewer spammy links
Our new DA score does a much better job of discounting bad links, as Google clearly tries to do. Remember that “bad” doesn’t mean low-authority links. It’s perfectly natural to have some links from low-authority domains and pages, and in many cases it’s both relevant and beneficial to searchers. Moz’s Spam Score is pretty complex, but as humans we intuitively know when we’re chasing low-quality, low-relevance links. Stop doing that.