The popular SEO toolset Moz has announced that they will update and upgrade their Domain Authority metric.
Domain Authority is a score given by Moz for a given domain that takes into account how valuable and ‘authoritative’ it is, and how well it might rank on search engine results pages.
The problem with this metric and those supplied by other tools such as Ahrefs, is that the score out of 100 can be influenced by the types of links Google deems as spammy – particularly paid links.
The new update from Moz is therefore geared towards weeding out more of the untrustworthy signals so that their Domain Authority score is more in line with how Google – and other search engines – may view a domain.
In a blog post announcing the update, Moz said:
Domain Authority has become the industry standard for measuring the strength of a domain relative to ranking. We recognize that stability plays an important role in making
Domain Authority valuable to our customers, so we wanted to make sure that the new Domain Authority brought meaningful changes to the table.
As search engines don’t use or publish domain scores such as Domain Authority, the metrics used by SEO tool providers can cause confusion for SEOs and online business owners.
This has become an even bigger problem since Google stopped showing their PageRank scores, which has led to many SEOs referring to Domain Authority as the official metric by which to judge a website’s authority and ranking potential.
The need to make the score as accurate as possible is therefore a key requirement for tools such as Moz Pro.
Russ Jones, Moz’s Principal Search Scientist (great job title!) explained in his blog post how Moz went about making technical changes to come up with a more trustworthy Domain Authority score. He said: “We can remove spam, improve correlations, and, most importantly, update Domain Authority relative to all the changes that Google makes.”
Here’s a quick rundown of what has been changed:
- Training set: Domain Authority is now better at understanding sites which don’t rank for any keywords at all than it has in the past (i.e. dodgy/spammy websites).
- Training algorithm: Rather than relying on a complex linear model, Moz switched to a neural network. This offers several benefits including a much more nuanced model which can detect link manipulation.
- Model factors: Domain authority doesn’t just look at link counts, Moz added Spam Score and complex distributions of links based on quality and traffic, along with a host of other factors.
- Index: Moz now has an index of 35 trillion links.