We all know that if anything relating to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is consistent, it’s change. Google changes its algorithm hundreds of times per year and if Moz wants to remain accurate, their Domain Authority (DA) needs to keep up.
Moz, a global leading SEO platform and DA checker tool, launched their new Domain Authority 2.0 on 5th March 2019.
This sophisticated machine learning model incorporates a number of new improvements to its algorithm, such as spam score and link quality information. This means you can judge the value and strength of a site better than ever before. Not just your own website, but also your competitors’.
Keeping up with changes in the search industry, whether Google, Moz or any other search engine giant, is never easy. This is why we’ve condensed all the necessary points in this blog.
Don’t want to read all of it? Skip to the bits you need here:
What is Domain Authority?
Let’s get back to basics.
Domain Authority is the industry standard for measuring the strength of a domain relative to ranking. It’s a ranking score that is developed by Moz and is often used to predict how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs).
It’s calculated by looking at multiple factors, such as a number of total links and root domains and evaluated into a single score, ranging from 1 to 100. The higher the DA score, the greater the ability it has to rank on search engines.
This score can then be used to track the strength of a website over time as well as a comparison tool against your competitors.
DA isn’t a metric that Google uses in its algorithm to determine search results and rankings and has no effect on the SERPs.
Moz’s Domain Authority 2.0
A couple of months ago, Moz upgraded their Domain Authority algorithm to 2.0. This included a few new factors to their authority scoring calculations in order to make a website’s authority even more trustworthy and predictive.
This update affected present and past DA scores, but Page Authority (PA) scores remained unaffected by the change. This is a slightly different metric given to the exact URL as opposed to the root URL.
When the update was launched back in March, some websites’ DA would’ve risen or dropped. This doesn’t mean that Moz re-assessed your website’s authority as you would come to expect. You can consider this as a new number rather than as deteriorations or improvements compared to your old DA score.
It is also important to note that these changes affected all sites. A drop or rise in DA isn’t a concern if your competitors saw similar movement. This can be checked by entering their URL and viewing the data.
What’s New With Domain Authority 2.0?
Russ Jones and Neil Martinsen-Burrell are both search scientists at Moz and are a couple of the brains behind Domain Authority 2.0 and the following changes:
Bigger Link Index
Last year, Moz released a comprehensive link index, which has been increased to a whopping 35 trillion links, thanks to the new upgrade.
To give you an idea of how huge this database is, if you were to count 1 link every second, you’ll be counting for the next 1.1 million years. That’s a lot of links which the DA of a website is based upon.
New Machine Learning Model
Domain Authority has switched to a machine learning model, which now looks at what isn’t ranking on Google in addition to what is ranking.
The old model used to just look at the winners, making the upgrade richer in data and more accurate in determining your DA. It’s safe to say that this is a huge improvement and will help you achieve a high DA.
Spam Score Incorporation
The new DA now incorporates spam detection using a new metric called Spam Score.
This looks at on-page factors, such as domain name length and number of inbound links, that are or aren’t found on spam sites. It could also relate to content that is already penalised or banned by Google.
This data is then converted into a percentage, which scores how spammy your website is. The higher the score, the more spammy your website is considered to be. This serves as a prompt to look at the quality and relevance of your content, which affects your overall authority and rankings.
Detects Link Manipulation
The update now also detects link manipulation. This is when websites, such as Private Blog Networks (PBNs), buy and sell links to artificially boost DA rather than create natural and quality backlinks through newsworthy content.
Just like Google, Domain Authority 2.0 is now much better at weeding out link manipulation.
Moz now also lets you see the historical data of a websites DA which can be cross-referenced with your marketing channels to gain a better understanding of which campaigns helped improve or caused a drop in DA.
This makes it the most accurate domain-level metric and therefore, the most accurate for making data-driven decisions around keywords, link building opportunities and other SEO strategies.
What Does This Mean For Marketers?
When the update was launched, websites would’ve seen a change in their DA to closely align with how search engines order page results.
It will apply to historical data as well so that you can continue to measure linear progress. This means that your metrics over time will still be an accurate representation of your site’s authority and link improvement over time.
How To Use Domain Authority 2.0
Here are a few handy tips on how to use the new Domain Authority 2.0:
- Don’t look at your site’s Domain Authority in isolation. It is a relative metric and is meaningless when it isn’t compared to other sites, especially your competitors. Look to see how your competitors’ DA scores fluctuated. How do you compare?
- Don’t mistake the 0-100 scale for an F-A grading on a test. It is near to impossible to achieve a score of 100 so just aim for one that is higher than your competitors. This is how you get ranked.
- Do expect regular fluctuations in your score. This is because of site link profiles and the rest of the web change over time. You should be used to this anyway due to Google’s algorithm changes and the gains and losses of links.
- Don’t mistake Domain Authority for Google’s link-based ranking signal, PageRank. Domain Authority was created by Moz and Google doesn’t factor the score into your site’s ranking.
- Continue to communicate any changes to your clients, stakeholders and colleagues. With Domain Authority being so accessible, any score fluctuations can come as a surprise, so make sure you explain these changes regularly and clearly.
As a conclusion, Moz has changed the way our DA score is calculated for even better accuracy and have made it easier to check it.
Although this update was released back in March, you can still expect changes to your score due to daily updates. However, it’s important to understand that it’s not initially a reflection of changes to your site, but it could be from this point forward.
Domain Authority is a comparative metric and shouldn’t be used in isolation. It is meaningful when you look at it compared to your competitors’ score changes. This will then give you a benchmark to which to aim for and higher! If you’re creating great content, sharing it with the right people and avoiding ‘black hat’ SEO techniques, then you shouldn’t have much to worry about. Go create and watch that DA go up!
Finally, it’s clear that this Domain Authority update is only relevant to Moz and its features. So far this year, no other SEO tool as announced any similar updates, but as with anything in the digital marketing industry, who knows what’s around the corner.
Still have questions? We’re here for you!