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What is Domain authority and why should digital marketers care?

Digital marketing - 1st April 2022
What is Domain authority and why should digital marketers care?
  • Domain Authority is…. A useful metric for measuring the search engine optimisation (SEO) effectiveness of your entire web domain.

  • Domain Authority isn’t… a way to measure the effectiveness of individual pages – that’s a separate score called Page Authority.

  • Domain Authority helps you… compare yourself against competitors and measure the results of holistic digital marketing strategies.

  • Domain Authority doesn’t help… directly improve your SEO ranking, as Google doesn’t use it when presenting search pages.


On the quest for SEO superiority, many brands are often guilty of overlooking one key area of the search ranking game – Domain Authority (DA).

But, what exactly is Domain Authority, and why does it matter to your digital marketing efforts? It’s a question we’re often asked at 8020 – and it’s a good one too, because there’s a lot of confusion and misconceptions surrounding the topic.

So, let’s clear some of that up, shall we?

What is Domain Authority, and where did it come from?

At its essence, Domain Authority is a simple (yet nifty) metric for measuring the SEO effectiveness of your overall domain. It can also be used to measure yourself against direct competitors.

First coined by Moz, Domain Authority enables brands to calculate the SEO effectiveness of their entire website (or web domain).

Based on a score from 1-100, Domain Authority essentially predicts how likely your domain is to pop up when someone types related key words via Google or another search engine, when compared to your competitors.

This is an important nuance to remember. Google doesn’t take into account your DA score when presenting page results. It does give you a helpful indicator on how you compare against your competitors.

How do I discover my DA score, and how is it calculated?

Simply drop your website into Moz’s free Link Explorer and let the magic happen.

Obviously, the higher your DA score, the more chance your website will appear on that golden first page of SERP (search engine results page).

But, Domain Authority also gives you a sneaky look at how you stack up against competitors. You can copy and paste any website you want into Link Explorer, and you’ll instantly get their DA score.

To actually calculate your final DA score, the Link Explorer tool tracks both the quality and quantity of backlinks on your website.

So, if you receive backlinks from top-quality web domains – such as Google, Wikipedia, or national publications – your DA score is likely to be higher as a result.

That’s why it’s so important when building your digital strategies to focus on how your marketing and PR is perceived and received across your industry.

The better your PR placements, and the more your campaigns resonate across your industry (provided this includes backlinks), the higher your DA score.

For example, if you work in the travel sector, your DA score will skyrocket if your website is backlinked on authoritative and well-renowned sites, such as Lonely Planet or National Geographic.

Domain Authority vs Page Authority

Now, Domain Authority is not to be confused with Page Authority (PA). As the name suggests, Domain Authority gives you a sense of the effectiveness of your entire domain. Page Authority measures the SEO clout of a particularly page.

So, if you were to drop a specific web page (say, an article or whitepaper you’ve recently put together), your subsequent domain DA score would reflect the effectiveness of your entire website, not the individual page.

Of course, you can also track the SEO clout of an individual page too – this is called Page Authority. It helpfully pops up right next to your DA score when using Link Explorer.

Convinced by Domain Authority yet?

In summary, Domain Authority is an extremely useful method for calculating the overall SEO effectiveness of your entire root domain. It doesn’t measure the search engine influence of individual pages, but that capability does exist.

And, while it’s not a metric that Google uses, it does give you an extremely useful look into how you rank against competitors. This allows you to measure the effectiveness of your holistic digital marketing and PR strategies.

Would you like to find out how we can help? Contact us at

Chiara Balachandran