Domain Authority vs. Domain Rating: How to Assess a Website

3 August 2023
Reading: 5 min

Consider a scenario where some highly reputable website with a large audience expresses interest in partnering with your site. However, they request additional information to ensure that the partnership will be mutually beneficial. While you provide them with visitor statistics, they specifically inquire about your website’s DA and DR scores. What are the metrics? Let’s find out together!

Domain Authority vs. Domain Rating: How to Assess a Website

What domain authority and domain rating are

Domain Authority (DA) is a metric used to evaluate the search engine ranking performance of a website. Developed by Moz, a software company, DA provides insights into the potential visibility and success of a website in search engine results. The metric assigns a score ranging from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating better ranking potential. 

Domain Rating (DR), is a metric provided by Ahrefs that evaluates the relative power and authority of a website’s backlink profile. It is measured on a logarithmic scale ranging from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating a stronger backlink profile and greater overall authority.

Thus, both DA and DR are metrics used to assess the performance and authority of a website. The difference is, DA focuses on the overall search engine ranking potential of a website, taking into account various factors such as backlinks, trustworthiness, and relevance, while DR specifically evaluates the strength and authority of a website’s backlink profile. 

How Domain Authority is calculated

Domain Authority is determined by evaluating various factors, including the number of link root domains and total links, to generate a single DA score. This metric is valuable for comparing websites and monitoring a site’s “ranking strength” over time. The calculation of a domain’s DA score relies on a machine learning algorithm that predicts the frequency of Google using that domain in search results. However, it’s important to note that DA is not a direct ranking factor for Google and does not have a direct impact on SERPs.

A website’s Domain Authority score can experience frequent fluctuations as new data points are taken into account. For example, if some website acquires a significant number of new links, it may cause the DA scores of other sites to decrease in comparison. As more authoritative domains accumulate larger link profiles, they tend to rank higher, leaving less room at the end of the scale for other domains with less robust link profiles. As a result, it is generally easier to increase a score from 20 to 30 than from 70 to 80. Therefore, it is essential to use the Domain Authority score as a comparative metric rather than an absolute measure.

Domain Authority vs. Domain Rating: How to Assess a Website

How Domain Rating is calculated

Domain Rating is calculated using a similar approach to Google’s PageRank, with the main distinction being that PageRank is calculated between individual pages, while DR is calculated between entire websites.

Technically, the calculation process involves identifying all domains that have at least one subsequent link to the target domain. The number of other domains each referring domain links to is determined, and a portion of DR is passed from each referring domain to the target domain. This allocation is roughly based on dividing the DR of the referring domain by the number of unique domains it references. Thus, the DR metric in Ahrefs is solely based on links — other factors are not taken into account.

Additionally, it is worth noting that DR does not consider backlink spam: numerous low-quality backlinks can potentially increase DR rather than decrease it.

What good DA&DR scores are 

The interpretation of a good DA and DR scores can vary depending on the industry and competitive landscape, making it challenging to provide a specific number. Reputable websites with a strong online presence often have higher DA and DR scores, while newer or less established sites may have lower scores. To gain a better understanding of your website’s performance, it is important to compare your DA&DR with that of competitors in your industry.

The primary objective should be to continuously enhance your rank over time by focusing on building high-quality backlinks, creating valuable and relevant content, and optimizing your website for search engines. 

Domain Authority vs. Domain Rating: How to Assess a Website

What DA and DR help you with

Knowing the Domain Authority and Domain Rating of a website serves several important purposes:

  • Competitor comparison. Understanding your site’s DA and DR allows you to assess its strength and authority relative to competitors in your industry.
  • Search visibility assessment. Higher DA and DR scores suggest greater potential for achieving higher rankings in search engine results. This can lead to increased organic traffic and improved visibility for your brand.
  • Backlink quality evaluation. DA and DR metrics help in evaluating the quality of backlinks by considering the authority and strength of the linking sites. High-quality backlinks from sites with high DA and DR can positively impact your site’s ranking and enhance its authority in the eyes of search engines.
  • Partnership and advertising management. Knowledge of your site’s DA and DR can be valuable when engaging in negotiations with partners and advertisers. A high DA and DR can serve as evidence of your site’s quality and attractiveness for potential partnerships and advertising opportunities.


Assessing a website’s Domain Authority and Domain Rating is essential for evaluating its strength, authority, and potential in the online landscape. While DA focuses on the overall search engine ranking potential of a website, DR specifically evaluates the strength of its backlink profile. 

By comparing your website’s scores with competitors in your industry, you can gain valuable insights into your site’s performance and identify areas for improvement. Remember, a strong online presence requires continuous efforts.

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