Authority Metrics

Authority Metrics

Glossary  |  2 mins

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Authority in SEO refers to how trustworthy or popular a website is. The BBC, for example, is an extremely trustworthy and popular website.

Though Google itself isn’t known to track authority, many industry standard SEO tools have their own methods of tracking it, and maintain their own branded authority metrics (often accessible for free). Here are some examples:

Moz: Domain Authority (DA)

Moz’s DA is a score out of 100. Their DA checker tool also offers a handful of other handy metrics that contribute to Domain Authority, such as ranking keywords and linking root domains.

Ahrefs: Domain Rating (DR)

Ahrefs Domain Rating also runs from 1 to 100, but unlike Moz’s DA, it’s based solely on its backlink profile. Aside from the raw authority score, Ahrefs will also show the number of linking websites and backlinks, as well as the percentage of dofollow links in each.


Majestic breaks their authority scoring into two metrics: Trust Flow and Citation Flow. While Citation Flow is based on the raw number of links (“citations”) that point to a domain, Trust Flow is based on incoming links from a specific list of trusted sites. Like the other tools, their free authority checker also gives you a breakdown of backlinks, including trends over time for individual backlinks and referring domains.

Website authority is important to monitor, both on your site and your referring domains, due to two main reasons:

  • The authority of your site is a ranking factor, with more authoritative sites tending to have an easier time ranking on SERPs
  • Backlinks from authoritative sites will help your rankings more than links from sites with low authority

As different SEO tools have their own unique way of calculating authority, it’s not easy to say exactly how authority is calculated and what actions can be taken to influence it.

However, it’s generally accepted that authority is affected by things like the total number of links pointing to a page, the authority of those pages, the number of keywords that a domain ranks for, and any spammy elements on the page that crawlers can pick up on.

Gaining multiple high authority links to your website at a natural link velocity is a great way to build your own online reputation, encourage customer loyalty, and build your brand. Although it’s not an exact correlation, the websites that rank higher in the SERPs on average tend to be the most authoritative.

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Authority Metrics FAQs

What Is authority In SEO?

Authority is a qualitative metric used to measure a site’s ability to rank, and the value of the links from a given referring domain. While it’s not publicly tracked by Google, many SEO tools have their own formulas for measuring authority, and it’s held as an important metric by most professional SEOs and content marketers.

Why is website authority important?

Website authority is important for two reasons: it will help you assess the ranking potential for your site, and the value of links from a referring domain you might want to target for link building. When conducting research for a link building campaign, it can be a powerful indicator for assessing the value of a link, and setting benchmarks against competitors.

What is a good Authority score?

Authority vary across different softwares.

For instance, Moz’s DA scores between 40 and 50 are considered relatively strong, so anything above this can be considered good.

The same can be said for Ahrefs’ Domain Rating, where scores above 60-70 are tough barriers to break – and can be considered to be very strong.

Majestic Trust Flow is a slightly different scale, where the ratio to Citation Flow is important along with the Link Density. That said, Trust Flow scores over 30 are considered strong – and anything above 50 is excellent.

How Often Does Authority Update?

Your authority score will update every time an SEO tool crawls it, which is influenced by how strong your website is. Lower authority sites are less likely to be crawled as regularly as stronger websites. Different softwares will have their own crawl cycles, and might calculate authority metrics outside of lighter crawls to assess backlink profiles. On average, relatively strong websites might see fluctuations (however small) weekly to fortnightly.

Questions to ask your link builder