“What’s your DA?” is as relevant to your SEO campaign as “What’s your sign?” is to your dating success.

Asking your “DA” is like asking for your star sign.

Citing “DA” is a self-biasing process

You’re only going to seek out others who use the same flawed premise and miss out on many fantastic opportunities because of the resulting biases.

What Is “Domain Authority”?

It’s a fictional, 3rd party metric that is ATTEMPTING to mirror or copy the process behind Google’s Page Rank algorithm to represent numerically the “authority” of a page based on the number and quality of links to a site.

Why Is “DA” a Garbage Fire SEO Metric?

Domain Authority is hot garbage

Oh, DA. How do you fail me? Let me count the ways:

“Because it tells me nothing about my profit centers and doesn’t quantify anything. It’s nebulous, a big space cloud of a number that means dick to humans.”

SEO Beau Pedraza
  • If you’re “Qualifying” your potential link partners using DA as a metric, you’re going to reject opportunities to get deep links with unique relevant anchors, which is the BEST metric for SEO IMO.
  • Even garbage, trash, and junk link farms can trade, inject or buy enough links to get a “high DA score”
  • Google’s Pagerank algorithm is only a PART of a much larger process that covers link information into “authority” signals used for rankings. Ignoring context, position on the page, and anchor text seriously degrades its value as a proxy for Google.
Online innovator Ashley Balstad reminds us that pretending that DA is an accurate proxy for Google is garbage.
Excel wizard David Bressler reminds us that You can have a garbage site, and still improve your “DA” score
Creshendo SEO Dylan Jones hits at the core problem, that DA gets substituted for valuable metrics so you can “show progress” of some kind.

As Will Scott from Search Influence put it, “Domain Authority is a garbage metric because it’s too easy to manipulate. High DA won’t help you get customers.”

To improve your SEO, it’s essential to look beyond Domain Authority and consider other metrics and factors that are more relevant to your specific goals. For example, check out these top 10 SEO tools for boosting your website’s ranking, follow these 12 essential on-page SEO tips, and debunk these 10 common SEO myths. By focusing on these strategies and tactics, you’ll be well on your way to improving your website’s search engine visibility and driving more traffic to your site.

Section 1: Critiques of Domain Authority (DA):

DA sucks because it is little more than a 3rd party guesses based on partial (and also guessed) data. It’s also easily manipulated, and the term “DA” is used in a high percentage of spam mails to flog crap links on worthless sites.

Peter Mindenhall

Because it gives no indication of relevancy… you could get a link for your automotive client on a fashion site with 90DA but have far more impact with a niche auto site with a 38DA

Jasmine Granton

it’s not a Google metric and just seems to look at links to a site in a very simplistic way to determine Authority. Authority is about more than just IBL I lean towards metrics from Majestic where Trust, Topical, and Citation flow provide more insight

Terry Van Horne

Section 2: Criticisms of Using DA as a Metric

It’s a vanity metric, pure and simple. Created by SaaS tools, whether it’s Moz or Ahrefs, it’s not used by Google at all to give any weight to potential ranking.

Ryan Jones 

The number shown by various third-party tools as ‘the DA score’ is at best a rough estimate of a metric that Google says doesn’t even exist, and at worst, they can be (and often are) artificially manipulated for the sole purpose of selling more ‘attractive’ links.

Scott Hendison

DA helps measure the value of inbound links – that’s all. It does not attach any weight to relevance or link growth velocity. There are websites with very low DA which rank for impactful words because of high-quality deep links from other low da sites.


It’s about as useful as knowing the ratio of unicorns to leprechauns but it becomes something that is fixated on. People latch onto it without actually understanding it, where it comes from and that has zero to do with how Google actually works

Neil Hannam

DA is an oversimplification of what it means to have a solid link profile. While it’s easy to gain links to build that metric the reality of what moves the meter is getting relevant links and for certain queries especially regionally.

Adam J. Humphreys

Explaining DA and showing it go up and down is a lazy way to convince clients you’re ‘doing’ work they understand. It’s a BS metric because it’s made up. It’s a guesstimate.

Melissa Popp

It’s antiquated for starters, and doesn’t mean as much as it used to even as a proxy metric. More importantly, you could improve DA (or equivalent, across whatever tools) but see metrics which actually matter to a business go backward.

Andrew Davies

Section 3: Criticisms of Link Building Based on DA

By acquiring links judging on those metrics, you’re just putting your website in the bad neighborhood of “websites that buy links”. And you totally wouldn’t do that, in the age of machine learning classifiers

Martino Mosna

Ignoring the fact that it is highly inaccurate, the biggest problem with DA is that it is a DOMAIN-level metric, yet people use it to judge and make decisions about pages. If you are going to use any of Moz’s worthless metrics, at least PA makes some sense.

Mike Friedman

DA does not account for relevance or quality of website/web page. Acquiring links or rating ‘authority’ on DA alone is a big mistake. A website with a pure


Categories: SEO

Jeremy Rivera

Jeremy Rivera started in SEO in 2007, working at Advanced Access a hosting company for Realtors. He came up from the support department, where people kept asking "How do I rank in Google" and found in the process of answering that question an entire career. He became SEO product manager of Homes.com, went "in-house" at Raven Tools in Nashville in 2013. He then worked at several agencies like Caddis, 2 The Top Design as an SEO manager and then launched a 5 year freelance SEO career. During that time he consulted for large enterprise sites like Smile Direct Club, Dr. Axe, HCA, Logan's Roadhouse and Captain D's while also helping literally hundreds of small business owners get found in search results. He has authored blog posts at Authority Labs, Raven Tools, Wix, Search Engine Land. He has been a speaker at many SEO conferences like Craft Content and been interviewed in numerous SEO focused podcasts.

1 Comment

Jeremy Rivera · March 7, 2023 at 12:45 am

Remember, it’s not that LINK BUILDING is invalid, it’s that DA (or DR) is presented by many agencies, freelancers to clients (or in-house present to C-suite) with the “metric” of Domain Authority as a “catch-all” representation of Google’s handling of links as a ranking signal. That’s incredibly far from reality because Google has on multiple occasions disavowed that there even IS a similar metric or number they use.

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