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10 Most Common Misconceptions About Domain Authority

10 Most Common Misconceptions About Domain Authority

The word ‘authority’ is a strong word.

That’s the reason people assume Domain Authority to be the most important metric when it comes to SEO.

So much that for many SEO experts, including the experienced ones, improving the website Domain Authority becomes the only objective.

Unfortunately, SEO is much beyond and wider in scope than your website DA.

What is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority (or DA) is a metric developed by Moz that estimates how likely a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs), primarily based on the quantity and quality of backlinks that a website has in comparison to its competitors. 

The score ranges from one to 100. There are a couple of more parameters that go into calculation of Moz DA, but backlinks are the most prominent ones.

Relevance of Domain Authority

Domain Authority made sense in letter and spirit when Google’s algorithm was biased for backlinks. 

But not anymore. 

Links still play an important role, but Google gives far more weightage to quality and relevance of the content when deciding search ranking. 

This is clear from the updates that Google keeps on releasing every now and then, most important ones in this direction being Hummingbird, Rank Brain & BERT update.

That means you need to debunk your misconceptions related to Domain Authority while you work on your SEO. And that’s what we are going to do in this blog post.

10 misconceptions around Moz Domain Authority

#1: DA is a Google metric

No, it isn’t. 

DA is a metric developed by MOZ, an SEO toolset provider, to predict how likely it is for any given page to rank on SERPs.

To calculate the score, it takes into consideration the external domains pointing to a specific website, the number of total links, spam scores, and other proprietary metrics. 

DA is not used as Google’s ranking signal. In fact, Google has constantly said that neither DA nor anything like this is a ranking factor in its algorithm.

John Mueller on Moz DA


#2: DA influences Google rankings

Since DA is not a Google metric, it has no impact on how well you rank on Google search results. That means, even if your DA score goes up or down, it may not directly influence your rankings. 

However, a site with a high DA website has a good chance of doing well in organic rankings. After all, the DA score is evaluated by considering a handful of factors that play an important role in SEO. 

But a higher DA doesn’t necessarily mean higher ranking in Google. You need much more for your website than just a high DA score.

Google's take on Domain Authority


#3: DA can accurately calculate the ranking ability of a domain

DA score is the estimate of how well a website will perform in Google’s search result. 

But it can’t accurately calculate it. 

It’s a predictive number that indicates rank ability, but high DA doesn’t assure higher rank. 

Domain Authority is an effect of right SEO practices, and shouldn’t be treated as the cause.

You will find many sites with low DA ranking on the top of the SERPs. 

Here’s my personal project with a DA of 15 but generating around 5,500+ organic traffic month on month.

Organic Traffic vs. DA score


#4: DA is an absolute metric

DA is meant to be a predictor of a site’s ability to rank. 

If you want to make the best use of the DA, you need to compare your score with the websites you are competing against. 

That should define your SEO strategy.

It is used as a comparative metric, and not as an absolute one.


#5: DA cannot be manipulated

Truth be told, DA scores can be manipulated. 

Some companies have previously abused DA scores with link selling schemes. 

However, Moz claims that the upgraded version of DA can’t be manipulated. Just like Google, the updated Moz DA can detect spam and devalue bad backlinks while calculating the score. 

It identifies patterns of link manipulation that don’t result in good ranking. 

But it is yet to be seen how effective their new advanced machine-learned model is.


#6: DA is still relevant

If we look at the new algorithm updates by Google — RankBrain and BERT, then DA isn’t relevant anymore. 

Google is refining its search results based on what content best matches the user’s search intent/query. It is no longer about the number of backlinks your website has. Instead, it focuses on the quality of the links. 

That means you can even rank on the top of the SERP without a high DA score. 

High DA doesn’t necessarily mean good SEO and better ranks. 

That’s why when you are trying to build links, you should also evaluate if the link is contextually relevant. 


#7: Only DA is enough

Do you think so? 

Moz currently uses around 40 factors to calculate the DA score, including spam scores, linking root domain, and more. 

Whereas, Google uses at least 200 ranking factors to assess page rankings. Thus, Moz DA isn’t complex enough to calculate the ranking ability of a domain. 

Besides, the continuously evolving nature of Google, which involves machine learning, can’t be matched with a much simpler metric system like DA. 

DA is just one metric that is used to demonstrate a website’s search performance. There are several other factors like content quality, on-page SEO, LSI keywords, and more that needs to be considered to improve your page rankings. 

Webmasters need to monitor these other factors too, instead of just measuring the DA score. Problems arise when they fixate on only one metric, whether that is DA or something else.


#8: DA is the next PageRank

PageRank is nothing but an algorithm created by Google to measure a site by determining how many links are pointing to it. 

Soon after PageRank, Moz developed a similar tool (by name of Moz DA) to measure the authority of the site. 

Many marketers believed DA to be the next big thing after PageRank. But that’s the thing — no one was sure of that. 

DA doesn’t come from Google, and Moz states explicitly that Google doesn’t use DA. DA, in itself, is a tool that uses its own method of calculating a website score. 

Besides, Google themselves dropped PageRank long ago. They didn’t want marketers to focus on only one metric. 

What is PageRank?

In reality, a site rank is a combination of multiple factors along with the PageRank score. Trying to just focus on PageRank or DA score is just a distraction. 


#9: DA metric is more than link building

Sorry to break this to you, but the DA metric is majorly about link building. 

DA is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, like spam scores, linking root domains, and the number of total links — into a single DA score. 

Moz explains how DA is largely focused on links:

how is Domain Authority calculated?

Clearly, it ignores other important factors like content quality, on-page SEO, website responsiveness, and more while calculating its score. Thus, only focusing on DA score while trying to improve your ranking ability is a wrong move. 


#10: DA is a universal metric

DA is just one metric, not a universal one. 

There are several other metrics, such as local SEO best practice, keyword optimizations, and more that determines the overall SEO performance of the website. 

Besides, DA is only meaningful if you compare your DA with your competitor’s score. 

There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ DA score. That means it doesn’t matter if your site DA increases or decreases, but it should be relative to your competitors. 


Wrap Up

I’ll repeat: Domain Authority doesn’t influence your Google rankings. 

Even if your DA score drops, it’s not necessary that your Google ranking will change as a result. 

That’s why don’t just focus on DA to the point where you start ignoring other critical SEO factors. 

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