Your Site’s Domain Authority Has Dropped – Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out

Moz has changed its algorithm for calculating DA, causing many site scores to decrease. Here are three ways to maintain your site’s rank now that the dust has settled.

Declining Domain Authority (DA)

The Moz-developed domain authority, or DA, is a metric that many companies use to verify their SEO effectiveness. A recent algorithm update, however, left those who view it as gospel reassessing their strategies.

The update saw many sites’ scores take an appreciable dip, prompting domain owners to worry about both their page ranks and DA’s ongoing reliability. When Moz studied 1,000 randomly selected domains, it found that those sites’ scores went down by an average of about 6%. This isn’t about everyone getting a worse score — it’s a recalibration of the entire algorithm.

Thankfully, the new algorithm hasn’t permanently damaged the DA ranking system or tanked anyone’s site in the eyes of Google. It has, however, increased the number of factors used to calculate a page’s score and created more accurate and detailed rankings.

Make Sense of Your New Domain Score

With the integration of link quality patterns, a “spam score,” and a neural network that trains its algorithm, Moz can better analyze its appreciable link index and give that data back to its users. The drop in scores that many websites experienced is the result of a more nuanced system.

Here’s how to maintain and improve your site’s DA now that the dust has settled on the change:

1. Don’t confuse DA with Google ranking

DA essentially is a trust metric Moz bases on data it has collected and combined. That trust can be a reliable indicator of how Google views your website, but it’s not a guarantee. You can have high rankings and still have a low Moz score, or vice versa. Although DA can be a useful tool to help you improve your SEO strategy, remember that it’s still just a third-party metric. Google does not use it to determine its rankings — so don’t give it more weight than it deserves.

My advice is to consider DA as one metric among many rather than the be-all and end-all of SEO success. Instead of setting a goal to boost your DA score, focus on improving your Google rank. If you treat DA as one more data point in the fold, then you’ll be better equipped to employ a robust, detailed SEO strategy.

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2. Weather storms by focusing on SEO best practices

Moz wasn’t the only company disrupting SEO rankings. Google made a noticeable update to its own algorithms recently, messing with site rankings without clear cause and effect. Rather than send everybody into a panic, however, these types of changes should reinforce this fact: The short-term ups and downs of the algorithm tweaks don’t matter. Instead, you need to focus on long-term goals that come from creating high-quality content and successful SEO strategies.

Prioritizing SEO best practices can keep your site ahead of what Google thinks is important in its ranking factors instead of reacting to everything after the fact. When new elements are introduced to the DA algorithm, you’ll already be doing things right.

No matter what the measuring systems say, keep an eye out for key SEO metrics such as bounce rates and spam scores. Google looks at bounce rates to indicate the quality of content on your site: If many users go to your site and leave quickly, it’s an indication that your content is neither relevant nor helpful. Spam scores will also quickly cause a website to lose rankings.

3. Continue to publish relevant content

A change in score doesn’t necessarily mean a change in your site’s relevance. Think of it this way: If your gas tank is 10 gallons and the fuel gauge reads full, then you have a full tank. If you transfer that same amount of gas to a 15-gallon tank, it’s only going to read as two-thirds full. You still have 10 gallons of gas — you just have more space available.

Likewise, by making its data more accurate, Moz’s measurement has given your site more space to grow. To raise your site’s DA, make sure you’re providing long-form, high-quality content and publishing it on websites that have high DAs. Aim for a strong ratio of high-quality links to low-quality links, and you’ll see your DA begin to creep up.

Look for opportunities to add backlinks to your website from sites with high DAs. Use Google Alerts to track when people or websites mention your company by name, and reach out to the authors to ask for links back to your website or content. This provides value to the authors in many cases, but it also benefits your DA and search rankings.

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Like any SEO solution, Moz’s DA is just another tool in a belt full of SEO best practices. Don’t panic when your score changes and mistakenly think your website is worse off. Instead, look at it as another opportunity to scale your site and keep it relevant as SEO evolves.

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