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Does Domain Authority Matter When Backlink Building?

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Moz Domain Authority

When it comes to backlink building, one of the most misunderstood factors is domain authority. Many people want to know why it is so difficult for a new website to gain popularity with the masses. There are also some sites that tend to get away with behavior that is more unnatural than most other sites. Why is this? This article will examine how exactly you can use domain authority to your own benefit.

The “RAT” Checklist

The first thing you need to do is to go down your RAT checklist. All backlinks that are worth anything contain RAT. Here are the different components that RAT is comprised of:


This refers to every factor that is in any way related to the link’s theme. It doesn’t matter if it is incoming links of the website that links to you or anchor text, all of these factors play a role in influencing the relevance of a link.


This will be explained in the remainder of this article.


Followable links that transfer link value from page to page. Link value transfer is most closely indicated by PageRank.

Domain authority comes with age

Old Computer

Time is the main ingredient of domain authority. Websites are able to gain more authority by having other authority sites linking to them, having links pointing to the site for a longer period and by behaving themselves for a decent amount of time. It is best for websites that are new to start to gather domain authority as quickly as possible. As soon as the site goes live, the process of link acquisition should begin. Before these links can gain their full effect, they must be allowed to ripen over the course of several months. Domain authority is negatively influenced by any association with tactics involving spam. If you happen to utilize black hat SEO techniques, or if your website receives many of its links from networks used for spam, it can result in losing a large amount of your domain authority. If you decide to involve yourself in spam, it can take a considerable amount of time to get back all of your domain authority.

Authority is domain-wide

An entire domain name is affected by domain authority. A new page that is featured on an old website is able to be ranked from the first day it is online. However, it still needs to receive enough link value. This factor can affect your decision making process if you are about to start up a new marketing campaign. You can either do it under a subsection of your main domain or under a new domain. It is nearly impossible to score in the organic results for Google in a short period of time with a domain that was previously unused.

Subdomains begin with the identical domain authority as their www parents. If a subdomain starts to link intensively to negative or low authority websites, it can lose its authority without having much of an impact on the rest of the domain. Because the activities that take place within a directory have a tendency to influence the entire domain that it is on, this can play a role in a person’s choice to use subdirectories or subdomains.

Examples of authority

A generic search query is the best way to find domain authority in the eyes of Google. Many people believe that a search for “www” will bring up and many different web technical guides. However, a search like this will show results for many sites that have existed for a long time, have outstanding links to them and primarily link to each other. This helps to keep away tactics that are used by spammers, and the majority of the time they are well-known names.

Local authorities are shown if you do a search for “www” in versions of Google that are country specific. By placing scoring sites in categories, you could possibly find some descriptions such as: Search engines, big online sales platforms and social platforms. Universities, charity, government agencies and big media companies. Big companies in transport, healthcare, tourism and telecom.

From this information, it is plain to see that there are a wide variety of websites you could possibly consider to be an authority in real life as well.

Gaining domain authority

Gaining Domain Authority

Receiving links directly from authorities can help to reduce the time that a site needs to gain authority. Getting a link that is anywhere on an authority domain will allow some of that site’s authority to rub off on your domain. The exact location of the link does not make much of a difference in terms of authority. It will only have an impact on transfer and relevance. A great deal of authority can be gained by a domain that scarcely links out.

When a large company decides to change their name, merges or changes to a new domain, many people believe that the company will need to start at the bottom all over again. However, this is not the case. Google has protocols in place for just this type of situation. Google is able to transfer nearly all of the authority value that a domain has built up through a domain-wide 301-redirect. If you are trying to give a new website a boost, think about looking for a bankruptcy or taking over a domain that already exists.

Other tips

It is not easy to acquire links from authority sites. This is because they are very careful when they decide to link out. You can find out what authority sites are already linking to by using Bing operator “” as part of your research. Try to find out why the authority has chosen those sites to link to. If you are somehow able to emulate those other sites, it is not out of the question that you can obtain some valuable authority links.

When any unnatural behavior is located on your site, domain authority is a factor that could help you to get the benefit of the doubt. A new site is banned from the Google index and damaged for life if it suddenly receives a large number of links to porn. However, there is no negative effect if these same links are directed at a site like Wikipedia.

The more authority that your domain has, the more damage can be done to it by being associated with the wrong links. Always distance yourself from tactics that could in any way be perceived by Google to be used for the purposes of spamming. If there is any doubt in your mind, then it is probably not a risk that is worth taking. These types of tactics will destroy your domain authority. With the reputation of your site at stake, you should always play it safe. Otherwise, all of the authority that you worked so hard to build up could disappear in the blink of an eye.

To put it simply, domain authority should be one of your primary concerns when you are in the process of backlink building. Your site’s domain authority is one of the main factors that will determine if it is a success of a failure. The more domain authority your site has, the easier it will be to find.

Want more information on link building? Head over to our comprehensive guide on link building here: SEO Link Building: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

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George Nielsen

George Nielsen has been in the internet marketing game since 2008 and is passionate about helping businesses use SEO and inbound marketing to generate leads online. He has a B.S. in Marketing Management, loves fishing, and is a big football fan.

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