Moz has announced that they have upgraded and improved how they measure their internal metric that they call “domain authority,” which is a score given by Moz that estimates how vaulable a domain is in terms of how it ranks in Google or other search engines.  According to Moz, the upgrade is meant to create a more trustworthy measurement by better weeding out paid and spammy links designed to game the metric.

The upgrade rolls out om March 5.

But to Google, domain authority is not a thing and doesn’t use it to determine ranking.  For a number of SEOs, this domain authority metric has caused confusion in the field.

Since Google killed their visible PageRank scores, there are some folks in the SEO community who used domain authority or “DA” as a substitute for the toolbar PageRank metric.  The confusion stems from the fact that the Moz DA metric has no connection with Google.

Moz defines it as “a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.”

The Principal Search Scientist at Moz, Russ Jones, described how the company made several technical changes to how they calculate domain authority. “We can remove spam, improve correlations, and, most importantly, update Domain Authority relative to all the changes that Google makes,” they added.

Here is what he said changed:

  • Training set: Domain Authority is better at understanding sites which don’t rank for any keywords at all than it has in the past.
  • 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 bevy of other factors.
  • Index. Moz has an index of 35 trillion links.

There are a number of situations where SEOs get distracted in the case of domain authority.  These SEOs tend to focus on the Moz DA score, and will ask Google how to improve their DA scores on their websites.  It won’t matter how good your DA score is, as there is no direct connection to improving your rankings  on Google.  When PageRank was still a thing, it wasn’t a smart thing to focus on that metrics.  It was more of just distraction.  This distraction was a main reason why Google killed PageRank.

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