PR Measurement: Understanding Domain Authority Scores

PR Measurement: Understanding Domain Authority Scores

Domain Authority is a ranking score developed by Moz to predict how likely a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). 

The Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100; the higher scores corresponding with a greater ability to rank well. There’s a direct correlation between high Domain Authority scores and higher rankings i.e. those likely to appear on the first page of results.

Why is Domain Authority important?

Domain Authority scores offer a representation of the search results landscape and provide an indication of how websites will rank on search engines and why certain websites rank higher than others.  

Search engines are like vast libraries or an enormous ‘Index’ for the web.  They are the gatekeepers to what we see (and don’t see). Ranking highly on search engines can help aid brand awareness. Many businesses go to great lengths to achieve a high rank.  Businesses can use the DA score as a guide not only for their performance but also that of competitor sites.

How does Domain Authority impact PR and Marcomms?

Domain Authority is a valuable measurement that helps us determine the performance of online Earned , Owned and Paid media.  We can use the score to assess how easy it will be for readers to find a brand story organically. What’s more, if you achieve an inbound link for your client within the article, the Domain Authority will also impact the value of that backink in terms of SERPs. Read ‘Not all backlinks are created equal’

Measuring Domain Authority in PR and Marcomms

When conducting PR measurement and analysing Domain Authority, it’s important to understand that DA isn’t a regular number, it’s a score that involves evaluating multiple factors. Moz states that DA is logarithmic.  This means it’s fairly easy to move from a zero Domain Authority or a one Domain Authority to a ten Domain Authority. But moving from a 70 to an 80 is much, much harder. It gets harder as you get higher. So a DA 40 is not simply twice a DA 20.

As such, in analytical terms, DA is a form of ordinal data.  Ordinal variables have a definitive order to the categories (i.e. DA 99 is higher than DA 60, and DA 30 is higher than DA 20), but we cannot make any other arithmetic assumptions beyond that.  For instance, due to the logarithmic nature of the score, it would be inaccurate to assume that the difference between a DA score 1 and 10, is the same as the difference between a DA score 70 and 80. 

With this in mind, DA shouldn’t be treated to regular statistical measures such as the average (mean). 

For example, if we were to average a site that has a DA of five and another site with a DA of 30, the average DA would be 17.5. This is very misleading

Firstly, DA 17.5 doesn’t exist as an official Moz score.  Secondly, neither score is properly represented by this figure and in fact, all it has done is diminish the DA score of 30.

Instead, it would be wiser to use frequencies and percentages.

To put this into context, Ace Media devised a rank for DA to help users determine whether the score allotted was Fair, Good, Very Good or Excellent.  Each rank is designated a set of scores.  The data is subsequently presented in a donut chart to demonstrate the overall percentage and frequencies of occurrence.

Not only does this help bring context to the data, it offers a far clearer indication of the overall benefit of the websites where articles / content has been secured.

For example, in the chart above, we can easily determine that 72% of websites had a favourable Domain Authority score, of which, 29% were Excellent and will help ensure a good level of organic exposure and thus, good brand or product awareness.

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