Why You Should Ignore MOZ DA Score

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Last updated: March 13, 2021

Moz DA score has been a popular SEO metric for many years, used by lots of bloggers, agencies and SEO practitioners to get an idea of a website’s authority and organic traffic. I’ve always tried to ignore it because in my opinion Moz DA is flawed, irrelevant and inaccurate.

There are other, much better ways to determine how authoritative and well-established a website is and how much organic traffic it roughly attracts. Moz DA simply doesn’t add much value anymore in this regard.

But sadly though, there are still many bloggers and Internet marketers who check their Moz DA score on a regular basis, desperately hoping for positive movements.

In this post I will be diving deeper into this whole Moz Domain Authority thing, and I will give you reasons why you can safely ignore it.

Update April 2018:
Great news, Moz has finally, kind of, admitted that their Open Site Explorer tool including their DA score calculation was outdated. They have replaced OSE with the brand new Link Explorer that will hopefully spit out much more accurate numbers than the outdated OSE did. You can find the new Link Explorer tool here. You will need to create a free account in order to try it out.
I’m not a “I told you so” kinda guy, but I’m glad that Moz has basically confirmed my thoughts about their DA ranking system. Here’s a quote from one of their articles explaining the reasons behind the new Link Explorer tool:
“So over time, DA became a less and less indicative measure of how well you were performing in Google’s rankings.”
This is the headline of the article that really says it all:
“Moz’s Link Data Used to Suck.”
Update March 2019:
Another update! Moz has released Moz DA 2.0. Apparently this is quite a drastic update, a complete overhaul if you like. And lots of (DA obsessed) people are going nuts about it. Either because their sites took a dramatic fall, or their DA went up. But who cares, right?
I have to admit though that Moz is heading into the right direction. This Moz DA 2.0 thing does in fact appear to be a lot more reliable. It’s now a much better indication of how well a site can rank in the search engines. Well, hopefully.
But remember: Google does not look at Moz DA. It is not a ranking factor.

What is Moz DA?

Before you read on, let me be clear that I do appreciate everything Moz has done for the SEO community. Their blog articles are great (most of the time) and I’ve learned a fair bit about SEO from them. I just really don’t care one second about their DA ranking system.

Let’s have a look at the definition Moz uses for their Domain Authority scoring system:

“Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages. A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.”

Pretty awesome definition. Pretentious almost. When you read this definition on the Moz website as a newbie Internet marketer or blogger, then you’re probably thinking, “oh shoot, I really need to get my DA up as soon as possible otherwise I won’t get any traffic”.

Moz calculates their Domain Authority score by evaluating linking root domains, number of total links, MozRank, MozTrust, etc. In other words, backlinks are the most important factor in their DA algorithm.

There are two problems with this.

Why Moz Da Score Is Inaccurate and Irrelevant

The first problem is that Moz isn’t actually all that great at tracking backlinks. Ahrefs and Google Search Console are much better at that.

The second problem is that backlinks don’t matter as much as they used to, back in the day. To rank high in the search engines today, a website will first need to publish high quality and relevant content. This content then needs to be optimized such that both the search engines AND the readers will love it.

Quality backlinks are still very important though, but there are hundreds of other ranking factors that help determine a website’s potential to rank organically.

Moz Domain Authority (DA)

In the not so distant past, backlinks were the most important search engines ranking factor. Back then, Moz DA was a lot more accurate. But now? It’s very inaccurate and should not be used as a way to evaluate a website’s authority, traffic or value.

A good example is a small niche website I started back in 2016 that at some point attracted around 30K organic page views per month. It was an authoritative website in its niche… and had a staggering DA score of 1. That’s right, one.

Sadly though, Moz DA is still a widely used metric these days, with lots of SEO tools out there using this metric to help evaluate websites. Examples are Keysearch and Long Tail Pro, tools that I personally prefer not to use anymore.

I’d rather use blogging tools like Ahrefs and Semrush that don’t consider Moz DA and offer much better SEO related features to help analyze websites.

4 Reasons Why Some Bloggers Are Obsessed With Moz DA

I’m involved in a few Facebook Groups around SEO, making money online, blogging, etc. Some of these groups are actually quite useful. You learn a thing or two from others, and occasionally you can throw in a few tips yourself. It’s fun.

But then there are also groups that add very little value and are a bit of a waste of time.

One of my websites is a travel related blog that is doing really well. As such, I am (or was) a member of a few travel blog focused Facebook groups. This particular site attracts around 100K organic page views per month and is the number one authority in the niche it is in. But it also has a low Moz DA score of only 17. Do I care? Gosh, no.

It occurred to me that a lot of bloggers in those travel-niche groups are quite obsessed with the Moz DA score of their website. This fascinated me, because I never look at the DA score for any of my websites. I simply don’t care. I care about things that actually matter.

But anyway, after having been part of these groups for a while, I’ve been able to roughly identify four reasons why some bloggers get very excited (or sad :)) about their latest Moz DA score.

1. It’s a Status Thing

Yes, for many bloggers that Moz DA score is a status thing. It can brush someone’s ego. They tend to go into Moz a few times a week to check their latest DA score and then share it around with others.

When they see their Moz DA hasn’t gone up, they typically don’t understand why. They can even get quite upset about it. For a lot of these people, achieving a higher DA is a goal in itself. Not to get more traffic or anything. No, improving the DA score of their blog is their main objective. Because it looks good.

Moz DA score is a status thing

The term also sounds really good, powerful almost.

Say it out loud: “My DA is…”.

Get what I mean?

2. A Higher Moz DA Gets You More Traffic

Some bloggers do actually believe that a higher DA leads to more organic traffic. Just like that.

So their primary goal is to increase their DA ranking. Nothing else matters. They try to achieve this by adding more and more backlinks, often via two- or three-way link swaps.

A higher Moz DA does not get you more traffic. It’s an SEO myth. Google doesn’t look at Moz DA. They don’t care. It’s not a ranking factor. It’s just Moz’s interpretation of a site’s authority and ability to rank.

In an ideal world, an increase in organic traffic would lead to a higher DA, not the other way around. But even that doesn’t apply anymore either.

3. To Participate in Link Swaps and Collab Posts

A lot of bloggers in these Facebook groups are there so they can participate in link swaps and collaboration posts. There is not much wrong with that.

However, each time someone asks for a link swap or for participants in a collaboration post, there is almost always a minimum-DA requirement. For example, someone with a DA of let’s say 30 is only willing to cooperate with someone whose blog has a DA score of at least 25. They honestly believe that working with a website that has a lower DA could hurt their rankings.

I could easily dig up a whole bunch of examples of websites with a Moz DA of around 30 that should be very happy to receive a backlink from certain websites with a much lower DA.

It’s always tempting to respond to these requests and ask them why the minimum-DA requirement is there, just to get that discussion going, but I’ve given up on that.

Moz DA score

If you’re looking for link swaps or collaboration partners, don’t look at their DA score. Look at other, more meaningful metrics.

How much organic traffic are they getting? You can use a tool like Semrush for this. What is their niche? How old is their site? Are they regularly publishing new content? How much content do they have? How is their social media engagement?

There are in fact quite a lot of things you can look into to work out how authoritative a website potentially is, and Moz DA isn’t one of them.

4. Marketing Agencies Use It to Find Bloggers to Work With

Arguably, this is a valid reason to strive for a better Moz DA score. There are actually marketing agencies out there that use a blog’s DA score as the primary method of identifying a blog’s authority and traffic. If it’s too low, they won’t bother working with them. Sad, but true.

As a (professional) blogger, you’d have to ask yourself though whether you would want to work with these agencies. If they rely solely on that Moz DA score, would you really want to work with them?

I would expect a marketing agency to employ skilled digital marketing people who know a thing or two about SEO and website analysis.

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Final Thoughts on MOZ Domain Authority

Yes, you can safely ignore the Moz DA score of your website and of other people’s websites. It doesn’t mean a whole lot anymore and it certainly won’t get you more traffic.

Instead, use professional tools such as Ahrefs or Semrush to analyze a website’s potential organic traffic, value and domain authority.

If you’re really curious, you can calculate the Moz DA score of your website here.

Categories SEO
AJ Mens

I am a corporate IT nerd turned digital marketing enthusiast, specializing in SEO and content strategy. I have been blogging since 2015, and my aim with Blog Pioneer is to help you achieve success online. Connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

  1. Hi, AJ! I’ve enjoyed your article so much because I have long waited to find an article that publicly talks about how Moz DA isn’t worth the trouble anymore. I’m not sure how relevant it was a few years back, but I’m positive it is worth nothing today. Google PageRank was the only hope, and even that wasn’t fully accurate. Now, we have no idea how Google does its thing to calculate the “authority” of a page as there are too many variables. The best we can do is try to isolate the content of the page, it’s on-page optimization and its backlink profile. These 3 can give us a rough idea of the “authority”. Thanks!

  2. I see you’ve added an update to say the new moz score is more accurate. My DA was rising rapidly and consistently by 2-4 points per month. since the new moz came in, my DA has remained the same ever since – for over 6 months now. I have spoken to countless others who’ve said the same. In fact I don’t know anyone who’s noticed an improvement in their DA in recent months. I’m ranking for things in theory I shouldn’t be with that DA so I’m inclined to agree with you it doesn’t matter but it is frustrating for the purposes of collabs guest pots and link swaps. I’m just curious to know do you still think the new system is more accurate? In an ideal world I’d use Semrush or Ahrefs to monitor my progress but they are really expensive!

    • Hi Leanne, yes I think the new Moz DA scoring system is “more accurate” in the sense that the new link explorer is doing a better job at tracking backlinks. But Moz DA score is still a largely pointless metric and can be ignored. It’s still a very poor reflection of how well a site is ranking in the search engines. There are tons of ranking factors and backlinks, while important, is just one of them.

      You’re right, Semrush and Ahrefs are very expensive but they are great tools to track your organic traffic. If you just want to track the basic things, the free versions of both tools can actually get you quite far. You just need to learn how to get the most out of these tools with the least amount of queries.

  3. Regardless, anyone comparing their DA to whatever it was on a different date is using DA wrongly. It’s a relative metric, so great for comparing yourself against competitors, but not much else.

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