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DR vs. DA – What’s the Difference Between These Domain Metrics and Do They Matter?

  • 7 min read
  • March 27, 2024

DR? DA? What are these terms that pop up on popular search engine optimisation software? Well, both are considered key SEO metrics and prevalent ranking factors. 

The DR DA scores will often tell us how well particular campaigns or website pages are performing. However, the difference between DR and DA scores is actually very small so can easily be confused. 

So, the pros here at KIJO have simply deciphered the difference between these two SEO metrics for us. Learn the DR DA difference (and why you should care what these scores are) below!

What is a DR?

What is a DR?

If you use an SEO metric software, it’s probably one of the famous three: SEMRush, Ahrefs or Moz. DR stands for Domain Rating. This is a metric developed by Ahrefs which is our SEO software of choice here at KIJO. 

The Ahrefs domain rating estimates the strength of a website’s backlink profile compared to others site’s within their database. The score is out of 100; the closer to 100, the more desirable the score. 

Ahrefs obtains a DR score by assessing the following factors:

  1. How strong is your backlink profile?
    Back links are links that one site gets from another. In other words, a vote of confidence in your content from another site. The more reputable, unique and quality sites and brands referring back to your content, the higher your domain rating will be.  
  2. What’s your backlink profile like compared to other sites?
    To determine your domain rating, Ahrefs will also assess what your backlink profile looks like next to other sites in their database.
  3. Do you have strong internal linking?
    In other words, are you properly internally linking to other content and pages on your site within your site? This can impact your domain rating positively.
  4. Are you using “Dofollow” links?
    One for the coders out there; if your link is coded with a “dofollow” instruction, this means that it can be crawled (tracked) by search engines. These pass on link equity and can result in a more desirable DR.
  5. How quickly are you acquiring backlinks?
    This rate can determine both a positive and negative domain rating depending on generation speed vs. how they’re being obtained.

It’s important to remember that whilst valuable, Google does not use the Ahrefs domain rating score to rank your page. So, it’s arguably more valuable to look at how your DR is looking compared to your competitors over anything else.

What is a DA?

What is a DA?

SEO software Moz is the mind behind the DA score. DA stands for Domain Authority. It scores websites and their pages on a scale of 1 to 100. The higher the score the greater the chance of them ranking preferably on Google and other search engines. So, a high DA would be a score nearer 100. 

Moz obtains a DA score by assessing the following factors:

  1. How many high-quality, trustworthy links does your site have from other reputable sites? The higher this count, the more likely you are to get a high DA.
  2. How does your site fare on the Moz Machine Learning Model?
    This Moz-designed model looks at the algorithm that best correlates with rankings across the hundreds and thousands of search results it predicts against. 
  3. How well is your site structured? How good is the User Experience (UX)?
    If your site is deemed user friendly and well organised, this will help boost your DA score.
  4. What’s the quality of your site’s content?
    If your content is good and optimised, this is more likely to attract good quality links. Good quality links can increase your DA score.

Like the Ahrefs domain rating, Google does not use the Moz DA score to rank your page. The score indicates how likely it is that it will rank well on Google. However, the score itself is not considered by the search engine. 

It’s also important to remember that like DR, the Moz DA score is more a handy tool too. It helps you see how well your page is performing in comparison with your competitors. But, it isn’t a factual, absolute metric. That said, sites with a strong DA tend to earn the higher spots on search engines.

DR DA – The Difference Explained

DR DA - The Difference Explained

To summarise, DR essentially tells you how strong the backlink profile of a site is. DA pretty much tells you how well a website is going to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Arguably, the Ahrefs domain rating could be considered less complicated than the Moz domain authority. This is due to the latter’s specific machine learning model. However, although both scores look at slightly different things, they have a virtually equal value. They are measured in a very similar way and have a shared goal. 

Both, DR and DA scores will fluctuate and change in accordance with the ever changing web landscape. Moz and Ahrefs will also update their algorithms which too can alter the score. Both scores should be considered a broader statistic regarding your general website analysis rather than something to focus solely on.

How to Improve your DR DA Scores

These scores aren’t the be all and end all. However, they can indicate areas of improvement your site may benefit from. This will help your site be taken more seriously by SERPS and users alike. Ways to boost your DR DA scores on both Ahrefs and Moz include:

Quality Content

Want to improve your DR DA scores? You need quality content.

If you want to improve the likelihood of your site ranking well and obtaining backlinks from reputable sources, your content has to be of high quality. This includes regularly refreshing it too. You should update the content so it remains of value to your user, relevant and linkable. You’ll also want to review it at regular intervals. This will ensure the content is currently optimised with the most recent keywords.

Why not read our Top 10 Tips for Content Marketing article here?

Improve Linking Quality

Want to improve your DR DA scores? You need to improve your linking quality.

This goes for your internal link. Your content should be linking, where relevant, to other content or service pages on your site, and your backlink profiles. If your content is of quality, it will naturally earn you backlinks from other sites. But, even more ways to bolster this would be to offer guest content to a reputable, relevant site. An example of guest content would be something like a blog!

One absolute no-go in terms of building your backlink profile would be instructing a link farm. Link farms are a collection of websites that link to each other with the aim of boosting backlink numbers. These sound attractive and offer you the ability to get a high load of backlinks. However, most of these will be poor quality. This will then actually result in a negative impact on your DR DA scores. 

Page Optimisation

Want to improve your DR DA scores? You need to optimise your pages.

As well as ensuring your content is optimised for SEO via keywords, your on-page elements should be optimised too. These include H1s, meta titles and descriptions. You also want to make sure that your site is mobile friendly and responsively designed. Google now considers this a ranking factor. So, this should be a priority anyway, but your site’s responsiveness can also impact your DR DA scores. 

Domain Rating & Domain Authority Explained

So, there you have it. You now know the difference between DR and DA in terms of SEO metrics! 

Think you could use some further support in improving these scores on your site? Take a look at our KIJO Optimise package. This is where the expert KIJO team conducts a full audit of your site and pinpoints exactly how to make your site rank higher on Google, boost traffic, and increase conversion volume and ratio. 

Contact us today!

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