DA Update – Here’s What You Need To Know

March 7, 2019

Kerrie Ashall

Moz announced that they will be releasing an upgraded and improved version of their popular SEO tool Domain Authority, or DA, next month. For those of you that don’t already use it, DA estimates how valuable a certain domain is in terms of how well it ranks in Google or other search engines. According to Moz, the upgrade will create a more accurate and trustworthy measurement through its improved ability to catch link sellers and other spammy links designed to cheat the metric.

Why is DA so important?

A website’s DA score allows marketers to gauge the strength of their websites compared to their competitors. They can then use that information to make smarter, data-driven SEO decisions. As we’ve explained before, creating a website, or developing a social media presence, is only the start. In order for your digital content to produce results, you need to be visible and for people need to engage with your brand. SEO is the art of understanding how your business can optimise its online presence, to engage with its customers, and to attract high rankings in organic search results.

Since so many SEO professionals rely on DA to evaluate the effectiveness of their website, the announcement of a change to the core algorithm of Moz’s popular tool has certainly caused some concern. But don’t worry! Here’s everything you need to how about the new update and how it will affect you:

So what’s changing and why?  

Russ Jones, Principal Search Scientist at Moz described how the company has made several technical changes to how they calculate DA – “We can remove spam, improve correlations, and, most importantly, update Domain Authority relative to all the changes that Google makes.” Moz has done this by switching from a complex linear model, to a neural network. This offers several benefits including a much more nuanced model which can detect link manipulation. What’s more, they are reestablishing the components of what gives a website a high DA. Usually, DA is determined by link counts, but now, they are focusing more on links based on quality and traffic, along with a range of other factors.

What does this mean?

Focusing on quality, rather than just using the amount of links to determine a website’s DA, means that the system will deliver an improved, more trustworthy metric, as well as refining the users’ experience. This should reduce spam, and improve connections between sites and users.

What should I do?

Remember to use DA as a relative metric, not an absolute one.

Don’t forget that DA is meaningless on its own, and is only effective when you compare it to sites that matter. It doesn’t matter if your site’s DA increases or decreases – what matters is if it increases or decreases relative to your competitors. You shouldn’t think of DA as a grade. Instead of aiming for a DA of 100 (the highest possible score), you should be aiming for a score that is higher than similar sites that appear in search results for your target keywords. You should therefore make sure to check competitors’ DA scores as well as your own.

Expect some disruptions, and communicate changes to people that matter.

With change, there is always some level of disruption. It is therefore essential that you communicate these changes and improvements to DA with clients, colleagues, and stakeholders before any concerns can arise. Perhaps create a flyer with information about the update, and answers to any potential questions you may be asked. Have these left around your office for staff to read.

Have a refresher on Domain Authority.

This is the perfect time to have a refresher on the basics of DA, to look at what makes a great website, and reaffirm your strategy on increasing DA, so that you can make the most of the update. Here are some simple ways to increase DA on your website:

  • Interlink to your old posts when writing new content.
  • Ensure that your website is responsive and mobile-friendly.
  • Have an active social media presence.
  • Remove any bad backlinks to your website.
  • Post good-quality, engaging, and relevant content regularly.
  • Only include high-quality links that will generate traffic.

Expect Domain Authority to make future changes.

Google makes hundreds of changes to their algorithm every year; Moz intend to keep pace with Google and make DA responsive to any changes. This means that DA will remain relevant and up to date. You should therefore expect DA to make continual changes and be prepared for these future improvements.

We hope that our guide has assured you that this update should not be a cause for concern or panic in your business. You will most likely see fluctuations in your DA, but remember that this update will result in a better, more trustworthy metric than before, which will allow you to make smarter decisions about SEO strategies going forward.


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