Beyond Domain Authority: What Else to Analyze for SEO Programs

Is Domain Authority still a critically important metric in the world of SEO?

Short answer: yes, absolutely — but it shouldn’t be used alone.

Let’s revisit the purpose of Domain Authority (DA). At its core, DA is an objective predictor of the ranking potential of a website against a competitive set, measured on a 0 – 100 scale. While it has certainly been a leading and credible search metric for years, if used alone to inform strategy and/or qualify prospective third-party websites for link building efforts, critical factors like relevance can be ignored.

To complement insights gleaned in DA, I prefer to incorporate deeper SEO metrics that indicate true business impact. Why wonder how our website might rank when we have the ability to concretely measure that through ranking data? One of my favorite metrics is the raw number of ranking keywords at the domain level, and there are a number of tools that measure this, including SEMrush, Ahrefs and Google Search Console for owned properties.

Why do I love it? For one, it helps marketers understand overall ranking performance of their websites. But it also helps to optimize strategy by highlighting the specific pages driving the most significant traffic today and those that have the greatest potential of doing so in the future.

From an off-page perspective, it’s all about measuring publisher strength before determining whether or not to build a relationship. My favorite way to predict this isn’t quantitative in nature or measurable with a tool. A website’s relevance and alignment with a client’s brand is critical, and a bit of manual review can go a long way. Do your research and ensure that the site’s content is consistent with your brand’s tone, regardless of its Domain Authority. Ask yourself, “is this something my customers would read?” If the answer is unclear, it’s likely not worth the effort.

Remember, the ultimate objective of any SEO and link building strategy is driving sustainable, qualified traffic. If you’re earning citations from third-party websites that prospective customers are reading, you not only ensure the right search signals are sent, but also increase the potential of generating referral traffic for a more direct path-to-purchase.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding SEO strategy, metrics, or link building!

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