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If you are blogging especially in competitive niches, you are going to need some sort of metrics such as DA or DR. In this article we are going to be comparing DA vs DR to see which one you should use.
In case, you don’t know what both of these metrics are, they are the metrics used by Moz and Ahrefs to measure the “authority” of a domain or website based on their backlink profile.
These metrics are then used for analyzing the SERPS to see how easy or difficult it is to rank for a specific term.
Different Tools like to use slightly different metrics and that’s then of course also the case for their users.
Domain Authority vs Domain Rating
While Moz uses the metric DA or Domain Authority, Ahrefs uses the metric DR.
Both of these metrics run on a scale from 0 to 100, so quite often they spit out some similar or even the same numbers.
They are both great metrics but keep in mind that Google does not use Moz or Ahrefs’ data when deciding who is being ranked where on the SERPs.
That of course doesn’t mean that these metrics are useless though, as there definitely is a correlation between higher rankings and links to the domain i.e DA/DR.
But don’t take them too seriously, they are just unofficial metrics.
How They Supposedly Differ
When checking metrics for a couple of sites, you may have noticed that the DR and DA were not the same.
This can be for two reasons.
Firstly, Ahrefs has a bigger database than Moz and often finds links faster.
This means that sometimes it will show a different number to Moz.
The second reason is that they aren’t the same metrics and don’t measure the same thing.
Ahrefs measures the overall strength of a backlink profile, while the Moz DA metric predicts how well a site will rank.
I assume Moz means that they take relevance into account when making their Calculation.
However, there are tons of high (Moz) DA sites that don’t rank at all, so there definitely are some flaws to the way Moz calculates DA if they want it to predict how well a site will rank.
Domain Rating Is Less Stable
Something that I have personally noticed as well is that (Ahrefs’) Domain Rating is less stable.
If you don’t build links to your site for one or two weeks, you will often find that it starts decreasing fairly quickly.
The reason for this, I assume is that it may take Link patterns into account as it maybe wants to see that Links are built in a naturally increasing way.
However, when Links are built naturally, they don’t necessarily always keep increasing in a straight line, as sometimes you have to look for guest posting opportunities or pitch your content.
Of course, some months will be better or worse than others.
Sometimes I have noticed that Domain Rating & Domain Authority completely differ, for example, you will find a site with loads of links, Ahrefs will show 1.5 while Moz shows 15.
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Which One Is More Accurate?
If you ask me, I couldn’t give you an answer on which one is more accurate.
Usually, I tend to use both to get a better idea of the quantity, as well as the quality of the links to that domain.
Often, the scores are very similar, so it’s not really a big deal.
Moz users will say that their metric is a lot better, while Ahrefs’ users will say the same about theirs.
The bottom line is that they both work completely fine, but I would always recommend using both.
Moz DA vs Ahrefs DR: Key Differences
Here is a list of differences between the two metrics:
- They supposedly measure different things
- Domain Rating seems to be less stable
- Ahrefs has a bigger & quicker Database
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Da vs DR vs Manual Check
You don’t always want to trust either of these metrics blindly, as they have flaws.
Otherwise, there wouldn’t be people selling links from High DA sites on places like Fiverr for $5.
So, what you want to do, is take the website you want to check.
Check BOTH metrics, then see if it’s getting traffic from Google and for what it’s ranking.
This will give you the best idea of a site, not just some little score that can be manipulated pretty easily.
How To Do An Effective SERPs Analysis & Copy The Winners
If you have a keyword that you really want to rank for, you should do an effective and in-depth SERPs analysis, if you need help on finding keywords check my post on how to do keyword research.
I will admit that I don’t do this for every keyword myself, this is just for keywords that I really want to rank for, so you can do the same if you wish.
Take the keyword, you want to rank for, type it into Google, and take a look at:
- The DA/DR of the rankings (links to the domain)
- PA/URL Rating
- On-Page SEO
What you then do with all of the individual metrics is described below.
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You want to copy the On-page SEO.
By copy, I don’t mean copy it exactly but get inspired by it if you want to call it that.
Look at the:
- Keyword Density
- Meta Tags
- Internal/External Links
You want to basically do what they did, if they are ranking high.
Who do you copy?
You can either copy #1 or get an average from all the people who are ranking on the first page.
Something you could do also if you see somebody with a low DA and pretty low PA ranking high, that’s usually an indicator that they did a brilliant job with their on-page.
So, then you can look at what they did.
Wordcount/Quality/ Search Term
The next thing you want to get a feel of is the word count, quality, and search term.
What I mean by search term is, what’s the user looking for?
If the term is something broad like “digital marketing”, then they are probably looking for a huge guide that they can read about digital marketing.
On the other hand, if the term is a short question like “How many times did Germany win the world cup” then the user is probably looking for a quick answer.
So, you kind of want to get a feel of how you can beat all the pages that are ranking.
You don’t necessarily always have to have more words, but you want to have the best content for the user, with the best on-page if that makes sense.
Domain Authority/Domain Rating
This is arguably the metric that you can’t beat, at least not in the short term.
In the long term, of course, you can.
However, you still want to get an idea of the DA/DR of the pages that are ranking, despite not necessarily being able to beat them in this metric. Why?
- You want to see if it’s even possible to rank (combined with the other factor)
- It’s also helpful to get an idea of how much you have to beat them on the other metrics
Page Authority/ URL Rating
If your site has a much lower DA/DR, you can beat those sites by having more links to that specific page.
After doing your research, if you see that the site ranking has a much higher DA/DR, then you will need to make sure you try to beat them in all other aspects, one of them is links to that specific page.
There really isn’t like a secret formula that I could tell you about, you kind of just need to make your own estimate when it comes to determining how many/what quality links you need.
Beating the website on all of Google’s 200 different ranking factors will probably be impossible.
However, what isn’t impossible at least for most keywords is beating that site overall.
On all the factors that I have mentioned above, you want to win overall.
And, that includes technical SEO, relevance and all the other important factors.
You can’t just beat someone simply by writing more words or whatever.
Yes, word count can be important, but that’s not all.
In Google’s eyes, you have to have the best overall package and not just win in one aspect.
Likewise, hundreds/thousands of backlinks will not do anything, if Google has no clue what you are writing about, or your technical SEO is a pile of…
The Magic Formula That Top SEO’s Use
There is no magic formula.
You have to look at what’s ranking and try to beat them as a whole overall package, not just in one aspect.
And, beating them might take months or even years for some specific keyword.
It’s not down to just DA/DR, neither is it down to one other metric on its own, Google ranks you overall.
So, just be aware of that and try to beat your competitors as an overall package, not just with one metric or in one aspect.
DA Vs DR: Conclusion
Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors, but you can’t depend on one metric to just tell you whether you will rank or not.
It does not matter if Moz claims that their metric predicts how well a site will rank, as the keyword is “predicts”, there are sites with high DA’s that don’t really rank at all.
Backlinks are important, but useless if you don’t have everything else in the right shape.
You simply can’t rely on one ranking factor on its own as I have mentioned throughout this guide.
Do a manual SERPs analysis, check all the metrics and see how you can beat them in the majority of factors, not just in one.
And in terms of determining a winner between DA vs DR, there isn’t one.
Both metrics are useful, but not everything and they both have their own flaws, so I say just use both to get the best possible idea.
A site my have a really high DR due to the quality of the links, but Moz might show less due to less relevance.
Of course, to get the best idea, always combine with how the site is doing in Google.
This is something that you definitely should be doing anyway.