Demystifying Domain Authority: A PR Perspective

the ultimate guide to domain authority

Domain authority (or DA) holds the power to impact your online visibility and influence, especially in the realm of public relations and media coverage—but it is also a commonly misunderstood metric. 

Understanding Domain Authority (DA)

In essence, domain authority is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz, a renowned software company specializing in SEO tools. It predicts how well a website will rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). The score ranges from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating a greater likelihood of ranking higher in search results. DA takes into account various factors, including the number and quality of backlinks pointing to a website. (Backlinks are links from other websites to yours, essentially acting as “votes” of confidence in your content.)

Measuring DA

While the exact algorithm Moz uses to calculate domain authority isn’t publicly disclosed, we do know that it considers factors like the number of linking domains, the quality of those domains, and the overall link profile of a website. A logarithmic scale is used, meaning that it’s significantly harder to increase your score from 70 to 80 than it is to move from 20 to 30. That being said, it’s an effective way to differentiate between websites with higher or lower link profiles.

Domain Authority in PR and Media Scores

In PR, securing press coverage on authoritative websites is typically a key goal. When your brand or company is featured on websites with high DA, it not only boosts your online visibility but also enhances your credibility and reputation. Here’s how:

  • Credibility: High DA websites, typically anything above a DA of 50, are considered trustworthy or notable sources of information by both users and search engines. When your press hits appear on such websites, it automatically lends credibility to your brand or message.
  • SEO Benefits: Press coverage on websites with strong DA can positively impact your B2B SEO efforts. Backlinks from reputable sources signal to search engines that your website is valuable and relevant, potentially leading to improved organic search rankings.
  • Wider Reach: Reputable websites often have a larger audience. When your press release or news article is published on these platforms, it exposes your brand to a wider audience, increasing brand awareness.
  • Building Relationships: Establishing relationships with journalists and bloggers from high DA websites can lead to recurring media coverage, establishing you as an authoritative voice in your industry.

Is a Low DA Bad?

Not necessarily! Many niche and industry-specific outlets will have a lower DA, but this doesn’t make them bad outlets, it just might mean they don’t have as large of a reach. But if you are a company trying to spread your message to engineers who are working on software for veterinarians, then an outlet as niche as Vet Techies Today (DA: 29)* would actually be the perfect outlet to have cover your news. It is a common misconception that you need a high Domain Authority KPI to indicate success. You really need to assess the audience you’re trying to reach before discounting publications/sites with a low DA. 

DA is a critical metric to assess when looking at media hits in a  digital landscape, but you need to understand its intricacies. When harnessed effectively in your B2B PR and media strategy, it can propel your brand’s visibility, credibility, and online influence. 

But don’t let a low DA hinder your options! I have had clients tell me countless times that their ‘best media hit of the year’ was one of the small ones on a site with a lower DA, that happened to reach their specific target audience and earned them four new big clients! So, keep an eye on your DA, but remember to look beyond the initial number throughout your strategic PR endeavors.

*I made that outlet up but the point still stands!


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