DA is the most used acronym in the blogging world. It gets chucked around all the time, especially by people that don’t have a good understanding of it. If you’ve heard other bloggers complain about their DA going down or that they’re trying to increase and you have no idea what they’re talking about, this is the guide for you. In this introduction to DA for bloggers we will look at what DA actually is, how to increase it, why it matters and why it doesn’t.
What is DA?
DA stands for Domain Authority. It’s a scoring system created by a third-party company called Moz that assigns a score from 1 to 100 (where 100 is awesome and 1 is not so great) to your site to supposedly establish how much of an authority your site is in the eyes of Google.
Generally speaking, the higher the domain authority, the higher the chances are of ranking on Google.
You can check your DA here. It’s free but you will have to create an account.
How is DA calculated?
Just like Google takes into account loads of different factors in ranking your website, so does Moz when calculating your DA. They look at things like total number of links to your site, the number of different root domains that link to you, the spam score of websites that link to you and more. DA scores are on a logarithmic scale, which means it’s much easier to go from 20 to 30 than from 70 to 80.
What is a good DA score for a blog?
One thing to note about DA is that it’s a comparative tool best used to assess your site relative to that of your competitors. Old authoritative websites with lots of high-quality backlinks have really high DAs, for example Wikipedia has a DA of 98 or The Times has one of 93. But realistically as a blogger you’re not trying to outrank websites like that (you can try, but I don’t know how successful you will be).
Blogs usually tend to have a DA between 20 and 50, with mid-30s being considered a “good” DA score. You also need to remember that your score keeps changing relative to other sites. You might be doing everything right to increase your DA, but so is everyone else, so even if you have been working on getting more quality backlinks to your site your DA might stay the same or even go down. It happens, don’t let it get you down.
Why DA doesn’t actually matter
DA is decided by Moz, not by Google. It’s a system put in place to evaluate how authoritative a website is, but it doesn’t actually determine how much search traffic you receive.
I’m going to repeat that so that it’s very clear; your DA score does not determine how much search engine traffic you receive.
It’s a score created by Moz that says how much they THINK your website is worth in the eyes of Google and how well it should rank accordingly.
I see bloggers stressing out all the time in Facebook groups saying how their DA is really small, that despite their best efforts it’s not increasing and that they’re not getting any traffic from Google. While aiming to increase your DA is something you should always work on, it’s not something I fret over since it doesn’t actually influence how much search traffic my blog gets.
DA is still considered an industry standard metric and it matters for a variety of different reasons (more on that in one second) but it doesn’t actually influence how much traffic you receive. If you’re not getting any traffic from Google or other search engines, you can’t just blame it on a low DA.
I know some bloggers with really high DAs that get almost no search traffic, and others with a really low one that rank on the first page of Google for specific terms.
The image below shows screenshots from the Explorer feature of Keysearch (a tool used to find keywords so that your articles can rank on Google – if you’re ready to jump into keyword research check this guide). It shows how many organic keywords Greta’s Travels ranks for (not 100% accurate but a good indication nonetheless) compared to older blogs with a much higher domain authority. These blogs have a higher DA and can in theory rank for more competitive keywords, yet they all receive less organic traffic than mine.
If you want to learn more about optimising your blog to get more Google traffic, check out my beginners guide to SEO here!
So why do we need DA?
While DA is an indicative measure created by Moz and it doesn’t directly affect your search engine traffic, it still offers a rough ballpark measure of a websites’ authority. A new website with no backlinks will have a very low DA, whilst an old and established website with thousands of backlinks will usually have a high DA.
As a blogger there are only 3 scenarios in which DA matters:
- When working with a brand: DA is one of the criteria that brands will most likely want to know if they’re paying you for a sponsored blog post. The higher your DA, the more you can charge.
- When you write for other bloggers: One of the ways to increase your DA is to have other websites link to your blog. The higher the DA of these websites, the better that reflects on you. When it comes to guest posting and writing collaborations for other websites, you want to aim to do as many as possible with sites that have a higher DA than yours.
- When other bloggers write for you: Just like you’re trying to increase your DA, so is every other blogger out there. When you offer people the opportunity to write for your site you’re more likely to get good guest bloggers if your DA is high since a backlink from your site will be worth their time writing the collaboration.
Google is very secretive about the factors their algorithm uses to rank websites, but one everybody seems to agree on is having a strong backlink profile. As a blogger, you should work on building high quality links back to your site, which will naturally also increase your DA.
How to increase your DA
Now you know what DA is, why it matters, why it doesn’t and you want to work on increasing it. You can increase your DA by following these four simple steps.
Create high-quality shareable content
If you’re a blogger and content creator you’ve probably already heard the saying “content is king”, and that once again is the case also here. You need to write high-quality content that people refer to and will want to link back to. One somewhat easier way to get people to link to you is creating eye-catching infographics. For example, if you create a beautiful map of the coolest attractions in London the next people writing on that topic might want to use yours instead of creating their own.
Become an authority in your niche
Creating high-quality content is good, but doing so while being an authority in what you write about is even better. If you’re known to be an authority in a specific field people are more likely to link to you when they want to share additional information with their readers. For example if I’m writing about the best places to eat in London but don’t have much experience or information on high-end Michelin restaurants, I might find a blog that reviews this type of dining specifically and link to it in my post.
Guest post on other sites
It takes time for people to naturally link to your site so sometimes you will want to give the process a little bit of a push. You can build links to your blog from high-quality sites by writing guest posts or collaborations for other bloggers. This is when you write an article, or contribute to part of an article, for another website and in exchange they link back to your blog.
If you’re not sure how to guest post and build links to your blog, check out SEO The Easy Way. This is a course by Make Traffic Happen that covers all the basics of SEO and how to increase your blog traffic.
Give it time
This probably sounds like bullshit advice and I’m sorry about that, but unfortunately waiting really is one of the best things you can do to increase your DA. It takes time for Moz and Google to index things and pick up on all the new content that is constantly being created, links that are being built etc. Don’t expect your DA to shoot up the moment you get a backlink from a high-authority site. Furthermore websites mature with age, older websites naturally have a higher DA since they’ve been around longer and are more trusted than new websites that might have just been created for a new short-term spam technique.
Hope you enjoyed reading our beginners guide to DA for bloggers and you now have a better understanding of what DA is, how it works, why it matters and why it doesn’t. While it’s true that you should work on building a strong backlink profile to your blog to increase your DA and Google rankings, your DA doesn’t directly affect your search engine traffic. It’s an industry standard measure that you should work on, but not something that you should stress about too much.