Debunking DA

Debunking DA

If you’ve spent any time working within the blogosphere (or with websites generally), it’s likely you’ve heard about Domain Authority (DA). DA is a calculated metric, based upon a 100-point logarithmic scale, developed by Moz to predict how well a website will rank on Google; the higher the DA, the better the perceived value of that website/blog in terms of SEO. DA consists of 40 ranking signals such as the number of links pointing to the site and the number of linking root domains – essentially the number of other sites linking to a site!

Unfortunately there are flaws in its reliability, particularly when it’s being used to determine the suitability of an influencer as a standalone metric.

Typically, a vast proportion of influencers will achieve a ranking score between 20 and 40, this is mainly due to the fact the domain is scored on a logarithmic scale, meaning it is easier to grow the score from 20 to 30 than it would be to grow from 70 to 80. Few websites achieve the higher tier scores and even fewer influencers. To provide an indication of what it takes, let’s take two well established media websites – bbc.co.uk and huffingtonpost.co.uk – as our examples.

bbc.co.uk has a glowing DA of 100. To achieve this, the domain has received 1,535,671 external links, the URL has been shared 497,788 times and the website is roughly 20-years-old*

Huffingtonpost.co.uk has a DA of 85.  To achieve this, the domain has received  163,437 external links, the URL has been shared 458,903 times and the website is roughly 6-years-old *

Based upon these two examples, it’s perhaps little wonder why DA is such a notoriously difficult score to influence directly, and for a great many influencers, achieving scores within the upper echelons is pretty unattainable.  Afterall, the only real way to influence DA is to improve overall SEO by focussing on the link profile of a domain – the more links achieved from other well-linked domains, the higher the DA will be. Influencers can of course help increase their DA by achieving quality links and mentions from other highly rated websites.

What’s also perhaps little known or understood about this metric calculation, is that if an individual started a blog five years ago and didn’t add any content, their DA could still be
higher than, or equal to, someone who started a blog two years ago and added content every day. Why? Because the parameters set by Moz to score DA places favour on those with a higher domain age i.e. the length of time a website / blog has been in existence.

DA is therefore a very limited value metric upon which to validate influencers. Evaluation should ideally consider a far wider set of metrics, including unique visits, time spent on site and engagement – all of which can be accessed through our Pitch Pack feature – thus providing a fairer assessment when ascertaining the suitability of an influencer.

*correct at point of publication

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