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What is SEO Domain Authority & How Is It Calculated?


Domain Authority (DA) is a popular digital marketing ranking that predicts how likely a website will rank in search engine result pages. Domain authority is a relatively new concept created by Moz, a digital marketing agency. 

Domain authority can be a valuable metric for understanding the status of a website compared to its competition. By understanding how domain authority is calculated and how industry experts use it, B2B brands can review and improve their marketing strategies. 

What is Domain Authority in SEO?

Domain authority is a score that indicates how well a particular domain will perform on search engines compared to its competitors. 

It’s important to understand that Google doesn’t use domain authority as a ranking factor in its search algorithms. Since Google controls more than 92% of search traffic, many digital marketers follow Google’s recommendations and metrics. Because domain authority was created by SEO tools such as Moz and not Google, domain authority should be read as an accurate indicator and not as an actual Google ranking. 

While Moz created domain authority, it’s not the only site brands can use to check their DA scores. Sites like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Sitechecker, and more provide paid and free-to-use tools that allow companies to review their domain scores. 

Domain Authority is ranked on a scale of 1 to 100, with higher numbers indicating better search result rankings. Because domain authority calculations review the number of backlinks to a webpage, some industries will naturally have better domain authority scores than others. Therefore, brands should compare their domain authority scores to their competitors. 

Although domain authority is considered a third-party metric, many digital marketers prioritize domain authority rankings. 

How is Domain Authority Calculated?

Determining what a good domain authority is depends on the provider. Moz is one of many companies that have a domain authority ranking. Each of these companies uses a similar methodology to predict how likely Google is to use your domain in search results. By understanding the overlap in methodology, companies can prioritize which strategies will likely improve their domain authority scores. 

Moz: Domain Authority

Moz calculates domain authority through machine learning algorithms. The domain authority algorithm predicts how often Google uses a specific domain in its search results. If domain A is more likely to appear in search results than domain B, then domain A’s DA will be higher than domain B’s DA. 

Ahrefs: Domain Rating

Similar to Moz, Ahrefs scores sites from 1 to 100. Ahrefs’ “Domain Rating” looks at three key factors:

  • Number of unique domains that link to the target website
  • Domain Rating of those unique domains
  • Number of unique domains those sites link to

Ahrefs includes other factors like link spam, domain age, traffic, and more. 

SEMrush: Authority Score

SEMrush calculates its “Authority Score” by combining two algorithms. Its first algorithm uses organic search data, website traffic data, and backlink data to identify the most popular domains on the internet. 

The second algorithm uses backlink data to determine how a website increases or decreases its authority by gaining links. This algorithm looks at the following:

  • Number of referring domains to target website
  • Authority of each referring domain
  • Number of inbound and outbound links
  • Number of outbound links from each referring domain
  • Number of backlinks connected to the target website
  • Number of referring IPs connected to the target website
  • Number of subnets connected to target website

SEMrush uses both algorithms to rank domains on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the strongest. 

Because domain authority rankings are based on machine learning calculations and constantly shifting internet makeup, a domain’s ranking can fluctuate frequently. Brands should compare domain authority scores across providers like Moz, Ahrefs, and SEMrush and compare scores to their competitors. 

How Can B2B Brands Improve Their Domain Authority?

There are several key ways how to increase domain authority. Because many domain authority tools look at the number of inbound and outbound links, B2B brands should prioritize improvements in this area. 

However, inbound and outbound links are only a tiny piece of the puzzle. Sites like Moz and Ahrefs look at the number of inbound and outbound links because they are good indicators of a domain’s SEO. Since Google uses SEO to rank websites and domain authority is a measure of how likely Google is to use a website, improving your website’s SEO is the best method. Improving your website’s SEO may include the following:

  • Number of backlinks
  • Creating an internal link network
  • Improving website architecture
  • Faster page loading speeds
  • Providing mobile capabilities
  • SEO keyword (KW) research

How Should B2B Brands Leverage Their Domain Authority?

A website’s high DA score can act as momentum to reach new audiences and expand a brand’s digital footprint. B2B brands with positive DA scores should capitalize on their success by frequently publishing SEO-friendly content. This content helps to drive backlinks to a brand’s website, improve the user experience, and secure the website’s DA scores.


Regardless of a company’s domain authority score, action must be taken. Companies with low DA scores should focus on increasing the number of inbound and outbound links. In contrast, companies with high DA scores should aim to continue the positive momentum by frequently posting high-quality content. 

Domain authority is a powerful metric that B2B brands can use to evaluate the strength of their websites and their competitors. B2B companies should check domain authority scores regularly to understand the effectiveness of the SEO strategies and how likely they are to appear in customer search queries. 

About the author

Paul Gladstone
Paul has 20+ years of digital marketing, business, and project management experience. He leads B2B Organic Marketing at Wadi, supports Glasgow Rangers, and enjoys off-road ultra running.

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