Is A Site Low Level? DA vs CF vs TF … DR, DS, AS, TS and more!

What to do with a low ranking site?

I was asked a seemingly simple question by a client today. Should low level sites he owns be scrapped and used for their backlinks by 301 redirecting the sites.

Simplest Answer: I think it’s hard to quantify if a site is low level.

Ultimateseo.org has a DA 19, that seems pretty low. But keep in mind it used to be a DA 40 before Moz changed it’s scoring. Keep also in mind that change in scoring showed no reflection in the site’s ranking. I recommend 301 redirecting based on anchor text not necessarily on the score a site earns.

Longer Answer: What backlinks should be 301 redirected from another domain?

While it is a Domain Authority 19 now it is a CF 34, and a TF 14. It has a DR 45, and a DS 24, TS 22, AS 36 ….. head spinning yet? As a reminder here are what those abbreviations mean … and to whom.

SEO Metrics

  • DA is Domain Authority created by Moz
  • CF is Citation Flow created by Majestic
  • TF is Trust Flow created by Majestic
  • DR is Domain Rank created by AHREFS
  • DS is Domain Score created by SEMRush
  • TS is Trust Score by SEMRush
  • AS is Authority Score by SEMRush

DA is Unreliable To Me

The DA metric lost a lot of credence in my mind when they redid their formula, it made it more obvious that it’s just a number in a vacuum. What we saw after Moz released DA2.0 was as a DA40 became a DA19 it wasn’t reflective by what Google saw.

The day before this site ranked as it did the day after DA2.0. Google doesn’t use DA and what we care about is what does Google think about a site.

So Id say if we want to redirect 301 links we can …. and I do. But I do it because the anchor text is what I want, not because a site’s DA is low.

Assessing A Site’s SEO Value

When we assess if a site is high or low we have to consider all of the SEO metrics we have available and use these numbers together. Keep in mind they are not intended to be apples to apples. For instance Citation Flow is how influential a site appears where Trust Flow and Trust Score are meant to tell us how trustworthy a site is considered. AS is Authority Score which I lump in with CF. I think of DA, DR and DS as comparable metrics.

So assessing if this site is low or high I’d say we have the following metrics:

Overall scores: DA: 19 DR: 45 DS: 24

Trustworthiness: TF: 14 TS: 22

Authority: AS: 36 CF: 34

It’s also important to look at some of the raw indicators to understand the values we are seeing above. I use Majestic, SEMRush And Moz to answer these questions, and I always expect Majestic to have higher numbers because it crawls more of the web than Moz.

Moz likely would say they crawl more of the relevant web … but who are they to decide whats relevant and I dont care what they think is relevant … just what Google crawls.

Backlinks: So how many links to my site are there?

Backlinks . Moz: 18445 Majestic: 139903 SEMRush 1000000*

Backlinks are fine and dandy but keep in mind a million from one website vs a hundred from a hundred sites says something. So what is the “Domain Pop” … how many domains link to our site?

Domain Pop: MAJ 1302 SEMRush: 4,000

Domains can be owned and operated easily from the same cheap shared host. So how many seperate IP Addresses link to our site?

IP Pop: SEMRush 885 Majestic 905

These numbers above 885 and 905 seem a lot more comparable to each other than some of the other numbers.

Now consider a site that may have a DA: 50 vs Ultimate SEO’s DA: 19. I’m willing to bet 9 times out of 10 Ultimate SEO will out rank the other site as long as the other site has 500 or less domains on different IP addresses.

Better Backlinks and Best Backlinks

Trustworthy

Now to be fair this explanation above is overly simplifying the answer. You may wonder how that could be … it seems rather complicated. Well ask yourself which site would you rank higher … a site that has a link to it from 20 research universities or a site that has 200 links to it from random weirdly named domains? Obviously the 20 research universities suggests a more authoritative and trustworthy site.

Authority On The Topic

But getting more complicated what if the page we are considering for ranking is about 2000 dance mixes. The 20 research universities are all medical schools and the anchor text reads “open heart surgery mortality rates” … do we think that the site should rank that high now…and how authoritative do we think the site is on dance remixes of 2000?

301 Backlinks Based On Backlinks Not Your Domain

So the best answer I can give for when to 301 redirect a domain or not is to ignore any one metric completely. If multiple numbers lead you to believe a site isn’t going to be good then sure consider each backlink individually. Keeping in mind what earned the site a low metric across the board IS mostly those backlinks.

If you find a .gov or .edu link using the anchor text you are after on another site then yes … thats the time to 301 redirect that backlink to the best content you have that is relevant to that anchor text. That last part is essential.

You can’t expect long term gains by redirecting a backlink to content that isn’t able to hold its own. User behavior is a big factor in Google’s ranking of a site. And it should be, you can’t prevent what you cant predict.

After all is said and done if no one stays on a site for more than 10 seconds or if they always click the result after yours in Google’s search results you must ask yourself why users hate your content.

And I mean it … people hate your content if you have 301 redirected, optimized your on page and studied your backlinks but users still go elsewhere. Google may rank you high for a time but without users liking your content and staying for awhile you will drop in rankings due to user behavior.

Is A Site Low Level? DA vs CF vs TF … DR, DS, AS, TS and more!

Hiring An SEO? Hear From Google What SEOs Do

Hire An SEO

This Google video “How to hire an SEO” isn’t new but it’s to the point and vital to setting expectations.  I encourage both SEOs and clients to watch this video and learn what Google says you should look for in an SEO.

How to hire an SEO

[embedded content]
Transcript
hi I’m Maile Ohye and I work with Google
search I like to share advice to help
you hire a useful SEO and prevent hiring
a bad SEO one who you might pay a lot of
money without positive results or even
worse one who implements shady practices
on your website that result in a
reduction in search rankings SEO stands
for search engine optimization – some
SEO seems like black magic having worked
with Google search for over a decade
what I’ve learned is that first it’s not
black magic and second if you want
long-term success
there aren’t any quick magical tricks
that an SEO will provide so that your
site ranks number one it’s important to
note that an SEO potential is only as
high as the quality of your business or
website so successful SEO helps your
website put your best foot forward so
that it ranks appropriately in the spot
where an unbiased potential customer
would expect your site to be seen
a successful SEO also looks to improve
the entire searcher experience from
search results to clicking on your
website and potentially converting a
good SEO will recommend best practices
for a search friendly site from basic
things like descriptive page titles for
a blog or small business to more complex
things like language markup for a
multilingual global site SEO is ensure
that you’re serving your online
customers a good experience especially
those coming from a search engine and
that your site is helpful whether
they’re using a desktop computer or
mobile phone in most cases the SEO will
need four months to a year to help your
business first implement improvements
and then see potential benefit my
strongest advice when working with an
SEO is to request if they corroborate
their recommendation with a documented
statement from Google either in a Help
Center article video or Google a
response in a forum that supports both
one the SEO description of the issue
that needs to be improved to help with
ranking and to the approach they
prescribed to accomplishing this
tasks requesting these two bits of
information will help prevent hiring a
poor SEO who might otherwise convince
you to do useless things like add more
words to the keyword meta tag or by
links because if you search for google
advice on this topic you’d see blog
posts and videos from us that clearly
explain that adding keywords to the meta
tag wouldn’t help furthermore while
google uses links for page rank our
documentation highlights that we
strongly advise against the approach of
buying links for the purpose of
increasing page rank one basic rule is
that in a majority of cases doing what’s
good for SEO is also doing what’s good
for your online customers things like
having a mobile-friendly website good
navigation and building a great brand
additionally if you’re a more
established brand with complicated
legacy systems then good search friendly
best practices likely involved paying
off some of your site’s technical debt
such as updating your infrastructure so
that your website is agile and able to
implement features faster in the long
term if you own a small local business
you can probably do the initial work
yourself check out our 30-minute video
series on how to build an online
presence for your local business now if
you still believe you want to hire an
SEO here’s a general process one conduct
a two way interview with your potential
SEO check that they seem generally
interested in you and your business to
check their references three act four
and you’ll probably have to pay for a
technical and search audit 4 decide if
you want to hire let’s break this down
and start with step 1 conduct a two-way
interview in the interview here are some
things to look for a good SEO doesn’t
focus only on search engine ranking but
how they can help your business so they
should ask questions like what makes
your business content and/or service
unique and therefore valuable to
customers they want to know this
information to make sure it’s
highlighted on your website for your
current and potential new audience
– what does your common customer look
like and how do they currently find your
website 3 how does your business make
money and how can search help for what
other channels are you using offline
advertising social networks 5 who are
your competitors what do they do well
online and potentially offline if the
SEO doesn’t seem interested in learning
about your business from a holistic
standpoint look elsewhere it’s difficult
to do good SEO without knowing about a
business’s goals their customers and
other existing marketing efforts SEO
should complement your existing work the
second step in hiring an SEO is to check
references if your potential SEO
provides prior clients be sure to check
their references you want to hear from
past clients that the SEO was able to
provide useful guidance and worked
effectively with their developers
designers UX researchers and our
marketers a good SEO should feel like
someone you can work with learn from
experiment with and who generally cares
about you and your business not just
getting your site the highest rank as
ultimately those techniques rarely last
long if they work at all they’ll want to
educate you and your staff on how search
engines work so that SEO becomes part of
your general business operations step 3
is to request a technical and search
audit if you trust your SEO candidate
give them restricted view not full or
right access to your Google search
console data and even your analytics
data before they actually modify
anything on your website have them
conduct a technical and search audit to
give you a prioritized list of what they
think should be improved for SEO if
you’re a larger business you can hire
multiple SEO to run audits and
prioritize improvements see what each
has to say and then determine who you
could work with the best in the audit
the SEO should prioritize improvements
with a structure like one the issue to
the suggested improvement 3 an estimate
on the overall investment in other words
the time energy or money it would take
for your developers to implement the
improvement and for Google search as
well as searchers and customers to
recognize the improvement the SEO will
need to talk with your developers to
better understand what technical
constraints may exist for the estimated
positive business impact the impact
might be a ranking improvement that will
lead to more visitors and conversions or
perhaps the positive impact comes from a
back-end change that cleans up your site
and helps your brand be more agile in
the future five a plan of how to iterate
and improve on the implementation or
perhaps how to experiment and fail fast
should the results not meet expectations
that covers the structure of the
technical and search audit now let’s
talk about each of these audits
individually in the technical audit your
SEO should be able to review your site
for issues related to internal linking
crawl ability URL parameters server
connectivity and response codes to name
some if they mention that your site has
duplicate content problems that need to
be corrected make sure they show you the
specific URLs that are competing for the
same query or that they explained it
should be cleaned up for long term site
health not initial growth I mention this
because lots of duplicate content exists
on web sites and often it’s not a
pressing problem in this search audit
your potential SEO will likely break
down your search queries into categories
like branded and unbranded terms branded
terms are those with your business or
website’s name like a search for Gmail
is a branded term while the search for
email is an unbranded or general keyword
an SEO should make sure that for branded
queries such as Gmail your website is
providing a great experience that allows
customers who know your brand or website
to easily find exactly what they need
and potentially convert they might
recommend improvements that help the
entire searcher experience from what the
searcher sees in search results to when
they click on a result and use your
website for unbranded queries an SEO can
help you
better make sense of the online
competitive landscape they can tell you
things like here are the types of
queries it would make sense for your
business to rank but here’s what your
competition is done and why I think they
rank where they do for instance perhaps
your competition has great reviews
really shareable content or they run a
highly reputable site an SEO will
provide recommendations for how to
improve rankings for these queries and
the entire searcher experience they’ll
introduce ideas like update obsolete
content they might say your site is
suffering because some of your well
ranking content is obsolete has poor
navigation a useless page title or isn’t
mobile-friendly let’s improve these
pages and see if more website visitors
convert and purchase or if they can
micro convert meaning that perhaps they
subscribe or share content improve
internal linking your SEO might say your
site is suffering because some of your
best articles are too far from the
homepage and users would have a hard
time finding it we can better internally
link to your content to feature it more
prominently generate buzz the SEO might
say you have great content but not
enough people know we can try to get
more user interaction and generate buzz
perhaps through social media or business
relationships this will help us attract
more potential customers and perhaps
garner natural links to your site learn
from the competition your SEO might
explain here’s what your competitors do
well
can you reach parity with this and
potentially surpass them in utilities or
can you better show customers your
business’s unique value again a good SEO
will try to prioritize what ideas can
bring your business the most improvement
for the least investment and what
improvements may take more time but help
growth in the long term
once they talk with you and other
members of your team such as developers
or marketers they’ll help your business
forge a path ahead the last thing I want
to mention is that when I talk with SEO
s one of the biggest holdups to
improving away
site isn’t there recommendation but it’s
the business making time to implement
their ideas if you’re not ready to
commit to making SEO improvements while
getting an SEO audit may be helpful make
sure that your entire organization is on
board else your SEO improvements may be
non-existent regardless of who you hire
so that wraps it up thanks for watching
and best of luck to you and your
business

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Hiring An SEO? Hear From Google What SEOs Do