A philosopher once said that change is the only constant in life, and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to SEO. Changing SERPs, changing algorithms and changing websites combine to create an ecosystem that is unpredictable, volatile, and at times straight-up mind-boggling.
Consequently, measuring performance with any degree of accuracy or certainty can be difficult. Numbers fluctuate, arrows change from red to green and back again, and just when you think you’ve got it all figured out the people keeping score go and change the scoring system. This just happened with Domain Authority (DA), the score devised by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on SERPs.
Last year Moz announced a massive update to its link index that made it 20x larger, fresher and generally better in every way. Naturally, having access to a greater pool of link data has allowed Moz to undertake a radical overhaul of the DA metric.
Consequently, Moz has come up with what it claims to be the most accurate metric in the industry when it comes to predicting SERP rankings, more so than Citation Flow and Trust Flow (Majestic), and Domain Rank (Ahrefs).
A key driver behind this DA update was spam prevention.
In a recent post detailing the ins and outs of the new DA model, Moz notes that the score has become a target for spammers and link sellers in recent years – as with any algorithm, DA can be manipulated, so driving up DA could drive up fees and demand for backlinks. For the sake of credibility, Moz is keen to put an end to that.
Specifically, Moz is coming down hard on sites operating within the following circles:
- Random domains
- Blog comment spam
- Low-quality auction domains
- Mid-quality auction domains
- High-quality auction domains
- Known link sellers
- Known link buyers
- Domainer network
- Link network
The worst offenders – low-quality auction domains – dropped DA score 98% on average. Ouch.
For site owners operating outside of the above circles, this update probably won’t mean a great deal. Moz notes that while your DA might drop a bit, so will your competitors’. However, for SEOs and link prospectors it will likely make high DA sites harder to find.
Again, it is important to note that DA is not a ranking factor or a reflection of performance, it merely predicts the likelihood that one domain will outrank another. While the new DA is causing quite a stir in the SEO world, it doesn’t really change anything; good websites are still good websites and bad websites are still bad websites, the difference between the two is not determined by a DA score alone.