Domain authority refers to a number that attempts to replicate what Google does with a singular number to assess the quality of a site.

‘Domain authority’ generally refers to the fact that some sites are considered more powerful or beneficial in Googles eyes. However Google themselves do not operate off any domain authority numbers – they look at a complex set of factors to determine what sites they like and don’t like… and they keep that information to themselves.

Tools such as ahrefs, semrush, moz plus a dozen others – are in the business of providing SEO tools in exchange for an (often hefty) monthly fee. Users of their tools care about ‘trust and authority’ – so these providers include a number in there too…

These tool providers are well aware of needing to have a number to estimate ‘authority’… otherwise their clients may not be happy…

‘Hey, SEMrush… I want to see a number that shows my sites authority, otherwise I’m moving to Moz’ however from an experienced SEO perspective these numbers can be highly misleading.

We are not saying the numbers these tools have are not useful…. they are useful… however they need to be viewed for what they are…. The tool providers themselves are quick to point out the inadequacy of such numbers…. Why? Because these tools are not Google… and even if they had the engineering team, processing power and desire to replicate how google categorizes websites – the numbers would always be off.

Be it Domain Authority or Domain Rating (each provider has their own method and own name for how they come up with this metric)… most of the tools rely on looking at the quantity of links coming to a site. Double the sites links – the score will go up. Some links stopped linking to your site? Your score would go down.

One really easy way to build domain authority is to point 1,000,000 links at a site. Doing so will virtually guarantee your rankings will plummet. Because its black hat SEO – and is highly ineffective.

These tools are not able to assess (nor do they try to assess) the relevancy of the links, who else the sites that link to you link out to, and if those sites are considered valuable and trustworthy in Google’s eyes.

So in short – these tools and their metrics have their place… and when doing SEO the right way numbers will move in the right direction. However the main thing to focus on is – who is coming to my site, for what keywords and is the trend of that going up or down. Having a high DA score does not put any money in your pocket – having a trustworthy and authoritative site that Google likes to send visitors to does put money in your pocked. And only Google knows what sites it likes and they way it shows that appreciation is by rewarding your site with visitors.