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DA & DR Metrics Explained: A Thorough Guide & Complete Definition


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DA & DR metrics determine whether or not a domain is a quality addition to a solid backlink portfolio, but a high DA or DR score doesn’t necessarily mean it has the juice. 

Website DA (domain authority) & website DR (domain rating) metrics are often used to understand how well a website performs in organic search.

Websites with high DR and DA metrics also tend to score well on PageRank algorithms to claim the top spots in search results, but these metrics are not factors that Google accounts for.

According to search engines proprietary algorithms, SEO software providers Moz and Ahrefs created DA & DR metrics to understand the secret to achieving higher domain authority.

So while it’s true that websites with good DA and DR scores usually end up in the top results on Google, not all websites with high DA & DR scores are reputable sources of information. 

The Truth Behind DA & DR Metrics

You see, manipulating DA & DR metrics is a tactic many websites use to break into the first page of search results. However, the fun usually doesn’t last.

Search engines evaluate a website’s legitimacy and reliability to provide users with valuable and accurate information according to their queries.

As a result, websites that try to beat the system are often found out and penalized for practicing black hat SEO. 

Top-rated B2B SEO services will help you with the right quality backlinks that can improve search engine ranking, revenue, and positive brand awareness. But bad backlinks can hurt your organic traffic goals.

To avoid penalties for associating with the wrong types of websites, brands need to build a high-quality backlink portfolio with domains that have absolute authority by looking at more than just DA & DR metrics. 

DA vs. DR – What’s the Difference?

Domain authority and domain rating are scores attributed to a website based on how well they rank and its ability to provide value to visitors.

Although DA & DR metrics are not directly connected to Google’s PageRank algorithms, the measurements offer valuable insights into a site’s reputation and authority.

This is why pages with higher DA and DR scores also tend to be the pages that rank highly in search engine results. 

Knowing the DA and DR of your website and others in your niche is crucial to building a solid backlink profile.

Companies that want to see more organic search engine growth over time need to break into higher results ranks.

A high website DR or DA indicates that you’re on the right track, while lower scores show room for improvement. 

One of the best ways to improve your DA & DR metrics is to earn quality backlinks on high-scoring sites. As a result, you’ll benefit from their high DA, and your DA will improve by association. 

On the other hand, earning placements on websites with low authority ratings can hurt your ratings. That’s why targeting backlinks from websites with high DA is so essential. 

Let’s discuss DA and DR’s definitions to better understand how they impact your backlink strategy.

What is Website DA and Why is it Important?

Domain authority (DA) is Moz’s score to determine your ranking. These scores are measured on a scale of 1 (low DA) to 100 (high DA).

Where your website falls on this scale tells other websites how well you rank compared to other sites in the same category. 

Moz uses several factors to calculate a website’s DA, and they are constantly being updated as SEO trends change over time.

Moz currently evaluates 40 different elements to determine the DA score. These encompass factors such as root domains and inbound links. Of these, the significance of the latter stands out, particularly in determining the score. A website garnering numerous inbound links from authoritative and pertinent domains will achieve a higher score.

Inbound links play a significant role in determining a website’s DA score.

But this also prevents websites from playing the game and tricking the system into producing a high DA score that wasn’t obtained ethically. 

When websites game the system in their favor, it’s called black hat SEO.

When search engines catch on to websites using these shady tactics to boost their rankings, they are penalized and sometimes blocked from results entirely, and that means they never appear on the first page of results ever again. 

This is good for reputable online businesses that carefully manage their backlinks to establish a high domain authority correctly. Websites with a strong DA and backlink profile earn the top spots in search engine results.

What is Website Domain Rating (DR), and What Does it Mean?

Domain rating (DR) is a score that Ahrefs uses to measure the impact of your backlink profile. Like DA, the scores range from 1 to 100, but it’s not as complicated a calculation.

Instead, DR is based on how your backlink profile compares to other websites. But you’ll need more than a solid backlink strategy to score a high DR. 

high authority website

Although some organizations try to game the Ahrefs rating system, they are constantly updating their algorithms to understand backlink profile patterns and penalize domains that use black hat tactics to try and increase this metric.

While a high website DR does correlate with high SERPs, it does not directly affect search engine rankings and is better suited for other purposes.

Google ranks individual pages for specific keywords, not entire websites. DR measures the backlink profile of your entire website to give you a clear picture of how your domain stacks up against the competition.

Instead of improving these metrics, the goal should be to create high-quality content worthy of earning backlinks from high-authority websites. Your DR and DA will grow as a byproduct of engaging and informative content. 

How To Raise Your DA and DR With a Strong Backlink Portfolio

A backlink portfolio is crucial for businesses that want to improve their online presence through organic growth.

Your backlink strategy has the potential to make or break your DA & DR metrics and your ability to instill trust in online visitors. Here’s how to build a strong backlink portfolio the right way:

Choose Backlinks Wisely

As you seek backlinks on authority websites relevant to your business, you’re looking for places where you can benefit from the attention of a broader audience interested in your niche.

But you also get the added SEO benefit of having your domain featured on a high DA website; boosting your DA is the process. 

That’s why you should always choose backlinks wisely. Even when you are beginning to build a backlink portfolio, you do not want just any website linking back to your web pages.

No matter if the campaign is led by an in-house marketing team or if you are utilizing outsourced marketing services, brands must be sure that their backlinks are aligned with their overall content marketing strategy and business values. 

Look for high-authority websites that have a loyal following of visitors and a strong brand reputation. By association, readers and crawlers will also see your website as more trustworthy and authoritative.

Build a Diverse Portfolio of Relevant Links

When you find an awesome website to add to your link portfolio, it’s tempting to continue to submit guest posts and ask for backlinks.

Your link juice, the fuel from your high authority backlinks, should come from various reputable sources to receive the most attention from search engine crawlers. 

Nofollow and dofollow backlinks

Brands with a diverse backlink profile from numerous relevant domains gain higher domain ratings than those that stick to only a few backlink channels. The idea behind this is simple.

If one person says you know what you’re talking about, that’s a good thing, but having multiple people affirm that you know what you’re talking about increases your authority and trustworthiness. The same principle can be applied to websites and backlinks from other websites.

Suppose your brand has the support from numerous high authority domains that agree your website provides quality content. In that case, search engines and visitors will widely recognize your authority.

It’s important to note that backlink diversity does not mean backlinks across sectors and niches. Your backlinks should still be relevant to the website, niche, and topic of your optimized content, or else you risk being penalized by Google.

You do not want to be punished by Google because there is virtually no coming back. 

Ensure Your Backlinks are Tagged “Do Follow”

Without a do-follow tag, your backlinks are useless. Sometimes websites will post your content on their website or offer to include a few backlinks in theirs but leave them tagged nofollow.

dofollow link bluetree

There are several reasons why a domain might choose to nofollow tag a link. But it’s mostly used to fight off spam and avoid lowering their domain authority by featuring a spammy backlink. 

If one or more of your links are labeled as no follow on their site, your brand will not incur any SEO benefit from the backlink.

Nothing. Zero. Nada. It won’t hurt your DA, but it certainly won’t help increase your ability to climb the search engine ranks. 

To ensure your links are tagged do follow, you’ll have to ask. Before you submit any content to be featured on their website or ask to exchange links or be featured with a link mention, ask about the website backlink policy.

Let them know that you are seeking dofollow backlinks and offer them the same in exchange for the favor. 

Get To Know Bloggers in Your Niche

The best way to make sure that your website is earning high authority dofollow backlinks regularly is to connect with other sites in your niche.

Many bloggers, reporters, and journalists specialize in creating content for specific niches that publish on multiple websites.

Niche ideas for blogging

High DA & DR websites and popular bloggers use a solid vetting process to be sure that they share relevant, accurate, and useful information for their visitors.

When you work with a network with strong content standards, you can be sure that your backlinks will be placed in high DR domains that can help juice up your DA.

Get to know the bloggers in your niche to help you connect with others in the biz. A referral is a much smoother transition to ask for a backlink than a cold DM.

They might even throw you a few mentions in their upcoming work in exchange for backlinks to their content.

Focus on Creating Backlink-Worthy Content

Finally, if you want to earn high authority backlinks, you will need to create content worthy of mention. The backbone of a strong link-building strategy is a collection of quality content that is equal parts engaging and informative.

Link bait content

Brands need a content development process that includes a variety of blog posts, articles, and content. 

Here are some examples of the kind of high-quality content that earns backlinks from domains with high DR scores:

  • Relevant industry news
  • Story-driven narratives
  • Topic deep-dives
  • Factual information backed by statistics
  • Verifiable research 
  • Pillar posts
  • Valuable listicles

And many more.

When creating quality content, brands should also ensure that adequate research takes place, so the content brings value to readers. High-quality content that is easy to read and understand but is packed with insights and statistics is what earns high authority backlinks from the best domains. 

Create a Quality Link Building Strategy

Earning quality backlinks from authoritative websites is essential to a solid link-building strategy, but sometimes, it can be hard to tell if a backlink candidate is a legitimate business or a black hat link farm. 

We discussed several techniques to help you uncover whether or not a website’s DA and DR metrics are legit or spammy. However, it takes time to master the art of link building and develop an eye for quality backlink opportunities.

Blue Tree’s link building services specialists create content that customers want to read about, with natural link placements across our network of industry authorities that only publish high-quality content.

Blue Tree helps your brand drive organic and referral traffic to your websites with a professional link building strategy and content creation process. 

We never use link farms, and we never sell backlinks. 

Instead, we help you grow naturally with content marketing made to stand up against the steep online competition. Learn more about how Blue Tree can boost your search engine rankings with a powerful link building strategy.

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Sia Mohajer

Get acquainted with Sia Mohajer, the brain behind some of BlueTree's most successful link-building campaigns. Read, learn, and grow.

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