How Important is Moz’s Domain Authority for Link-Building Campaigns?
March 15, 2016
Just a few months back, when Moz suddenly updated its key metric known as Domain Authority or DA for many sites, panic could be felt among digital marketers. Many were taken by surprise, whereas others were apprehensive about downslide of their sites’ ratings. There was a widespread fear of loss in traffic or Google rankings, but nothing of that sort ever happened. However, this whole episode fueled a new debate. Is Moz’s DA still relevant as a metric to measure the success of a website?
We can’t assume that Google is endorsing DA because it hasn’t updated its PR for the past couple years. Both DA and PR are still relevant when we talk about the overall “health” of a website.
How relevant is DA for the success of your website?
According to me, DA is a metric that reflects overall performance of a site, but its scope and relevance is still not clearly known. It’s just a metric based on some sound parameters, but there are many other SEO factors that impact your success. It’s perfectly cool to have a rank assigned to your website that tells you how you are faring in comparison to other sites.
If you ask me personally, my answer would be an emphatic “no”. I don’t use DA, when I have to assess the performance or success of a website. I don’t even consider it as an indicator of effective link-building.
So, when the latest DA update happened and many businesses saw a drop in DA, it didn’t translate into any kind of drop in rankings or traffic for their sites.
A successful link-building campaign also leads to good traffic and rankings, but is it the only factor responsible for it?
So, what’s more important for ranking and traffic other than DA?
When we did our research, we found that relevance is far more important for a website than its DA.
If you have a high DA number and at the same time your site also has a high degree of relevance, you are doing great.
Your website needs to be relevant to make sure it succeeds.
Then, why do people even discuss Domain Authority?
We don’t endorse DA as metric to measure the success of a website, but we still respect it. The reasons are varied. First of all, DA is something, which can be measured as a tangible factor.
DA is a complex metric and it uses around 40 signals. Moz doesn’t disclose those signals, but DA is still respected and loved by digital marketers and businesses all over the world. The reason is: DA is a cardinal number (on a scale of 100) and it makes life easier for marketers, when they want to check the efficacy of their websites.
This is similar to test scores among students. It’s well known that one’s grades/scores are used to measure & compare academic achievements even though your test scores can never tell your true potential.
So, should your links be judged on the DA of a website?
You should consider DA as one of the factors to pursue a link, but it shouldn’t be the primary factor. A more important factor is “relevance”.
Relevant links are always appreciated by Google and you should have a lot of such links. (Make sure the sites are not spammy, otherwise imagine Google declaring a war against your website.)
Ordinary web users don’t have a Moz bar attached to their browsers, nor are they interested in knowing the DA of a site before they visit it. They visit a site, because it has some interesting and useful content and they click on the links, because they think that the links are relevant to the content of the website.
Factors to boost natural backlinks
It doesn’t mean that we banish websites with low DA for back-linking and that we should keep a distance from them.What Google algorithm doesn’t appreciate are the low quality spammy sites and the sites engaged in unethical practices like link-exchange and link networks. So relevance definitely comes into sharp focus here, right?
We should focus upon the sites with:
A. Great content
B. Excellent user-experience
C. With contribution from bloggers and experts
D. Relevant to your niche
So, even if a site has a low DA score, but offers the things mentioned above, we should go for it.
Here is a message from David Farkas, the founder & CEO of the Upper Ranks.
When you are always aiming for high DA sites, your job becomes very difficult. Your pool becomes smaller and you’re not able to compete with your rivals because they are choosing relevance for link-building instead of domain authority and are doing much better than you. So we are not suggesting that you avoid high DA sites altogether. The message I would like to send here is that relevance should be our top priority and DA should be secondary. Our link-building campaigns should be based on relevance. If you’re not targeting relevant sites, your site may be flagged and penalized by Google.