In the business world, many terms exist that you need to keep up with to be knowledgeable in your field. Two terms that not enough people recognize are DA and DR. After looking at our title, you might think this is about a cage match between a district attorney and a medical professional. While that would be entertaining, it isn’t the case in SEO.
This is an in-depth guide covering the differences between Domain Authority (DA) and Domain Rating (DR) and why it matters. If you work in marketing or handle the SEO of your company, these are two terms you’ll want to be able to clearly distinguish.
What Is Domain Authority?
Let’s start with DA, the more recent of the two. Moz created Domain Authority. It’s a score that considers many factors to determine how well your website might rank in the SERPs. Some of the factors that DA takes into account are top-ranking keywords, root domains, spam score, and the age of your site. Plenty of others exist, but these are some of the more important ones.
With all these elements in mind, Moz gives your site a score between 0 and 100 to show you how well your site might perform. However, a high number doesn’t guarantee a high SERP ranking. Due to the fact that DA looks at multiple components of your site to reach a final score, outliers can manipulate the number.
For example, if your website is almost as old as the internet itself, you’ll have an abnormally high DA. This can happen even if you’ve never put any work into improving your SEO. High DAs could also be the result of bringing in traffic from places other than search engines. Regardless of the reason, Domain Authority isn’t always the most accurate.
What Is Domain Rating?
This brings us to Domain Rating, the more consistent metric. This score, which Ahrefs created, also ranks your website on a scale of 0 to 100. In general, though, the DR measurement primarily focuses on the backlinks connecting to your site. The more other websites link to your content, the higher your score will be.
One thing that’s important to note is that the quality of the backlinking sites also matters. If a large publication links to you, your score will increase quite a bit more than usual. While smaller sites won’t have quite the same impact, it’s reassuring to know they won’t negatively hurt your DR score.
Due to this focus on backlinks, you’ve likely realized that you can’t do much to influence your Domain Rating. All you can do is create quality content and outstanding products and hope other sites notice and link back to you.
The difficulty of manipulation is one reason why companies focus more on their DR over DA. However, the fact that backlinks have a larger impact on your SERPs rating is another reason. Back in the day, Google used PageRank to determine how high a site would rank. While they’ve moved away from that, this system still has a lot of influence on a website’s SERPs.
Why Do These Differences Matter?
Now that you know how DA and DR are different, it’s time to understand why their distinctions matter. On their own, both metrics can give you some insight into how well your site performs in the SERPs, but neither can give you the full picture.
DA focuses on too many factors that are easy to manipulate, leading to inaccurate results. At the same time, DR focuses too closely on just one factor, making it too narrow to see the bigger picture. That’s why companies need to use both. Between these scores, businesses can get a good idea of how their websites perform.
However, knowing your performance is only step one of improving your website. Once you see where you stand, you need to make SEO improvements to boost these scores. Ahrefs and Moz are two tools you can use for this journey, but plenty of other quality SEO tools can help drive more organic traffic to your site. All you have to do is find the one that works best for you and get started.