If the title confuses you don’t worry. Id expect even intermediate SEOs are not familiar with all of those letters. Domain Authority or DA is a well established SEO metric by Moz.com that many often confuse with Google’s ranking of keywords. Lets just remind everyone interested in their DA …that it has NOTHING to do with Google’s search results. It MAY be based on some of the same similar metrics as Google uses but its just a number someone other than Google guessed.
DS – Domain Score by SEMRush
DR – Domain Rank
DP – Domain Pop
DT – Domain Trust by SEMRush
AS – Authority Score by SEMRush
TF – Trust Flow by Majestic
CF – Citation Flow by Majestic
Moz Spam – Is Another Moz Metric
For a more in depth look at each ranking we’ve included the SEO Metrics category from our FAQ section.
Continuing into metric land theres seemingly easy scores that you’d be wrong to expect to be equal. Backlinks are reported by Moz, SEMRush, AHREFs and Majestic. Usually these numbers are widely different, but how could they be different?
Keep in mind that the sites that report these numbers are making crawls and may be different sizes. Ive found MOZ to usually be the lower count, this could mean they have the smaller sample of sites from the others or it could be they have better spam recognition than the others. Another theory could lead you to wonder if one site includes backlinks from redirects where others don’t include redirected backlinks.
It’s important to note that these numbers are just made up criteria that the specific indexing site cane up with and depending on their size and rules the reported number of backlinks almost always vary. Some only count backlinks to the specific domain and not subdomains others do count subdomains.
So whats right? Well to know that you would need to work for a search engine like Google to understand the factors uses to determine a sites values.
In the end no one index has it right, and no one metric is accurate enough to serve as a good predictor to Google’s real metrics.
Domain Authority after all went through a recalculation just under a year ago and we got DA2.0 which saw many sites plumet in the DA metric. That never translated into a drop on Google as DA isn’t considered by Google for ranking purposes.
Lets take a look at the metrics of one of my client’s domains and you may start to understand the disparity between these numbers and see patterns. (Link Opens In New Tab) https://ultimateseo.org/metrics/
Beautiful is it not? A spreadsheet chalk full of data. First Id note that the only benefit to these values is collectively … consider how they interrelate, do they disagree?
In this metrics report the values are often color codes to reflect my opinion of the values I expect in a good SEO site. Red is obviously not what Id want to see.
If a domain has consistently red metrics its a very strong indicator that there is a problem there. If they disagree which they do sometimes then the jury is you. You have to decide which values you accept as accurate and which ones are likely irrelevant to ranking your keywords.
Ive added some overall average score boxes that take into account multiple, similar metrics. Thats also important … not all metrics are intended to show the same thing. Domain trust and Trust Flow are similar while Domain Score, Domain Rank and Domain Authority are similar.
These do generally correlate to one another but sometimes one is oddly higher than usual and that creates an anomaly in the usual spread of these numbers. The oddity can be a sign that the site is optimized towards a metric and not towards Google.
For instance sites may focus on increasing Domain Authority and by doing so they may leave behind other metrics.
Using the image above if we glance across the data we can likely agree the least desirable domain is the third. Even with a DA of 10 its average across all of the numbers available is a 4. With Majestic’s CF and TF giving it a 0 and its DT gaining a 0. It has a total of 9 to 25 backlinks …. only 5 to 10 domains refer to that site. So its likely not a great site … but the third from the bottom is a different story …. still with a DA 10. This time we have an average metric at 10. We average 4934 backlinks across the 3 indexes and we have 350 to 417 referring domains. But what stands out is our ratio … which is flagged in red. There are 10 times as many domains as IP addresses … tell tale sign a PBN has been used to manipulate the site metrics.
Check back as this post is likely to expand rapidly along all of the metrics introduced here.
For more reading on a similar topic check out this article about when to 301 redirect backlinks for an underperforming site. What metrics are important in SEO.