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How Important is Domain Authority When Building Links?

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Link Building


A few weeks ago I came across this great post on SEOMoz by Adam Thompson that talked about whether or not an inbound link’s domain authority should be how a site owner decides to disavow a link. Adam’s conclusion? “Don’t go out and delete links just because they are on a site with low domain authority. I’d rather have a natural, editorial link from a quality site with 25 or 30 domain authority than an unnatural link from a site with 50 domain authority.” I have to agree with him but I think that site owners need to take this advice one step further to when they are actually doing their link building. Just like you shouldn’t disavow a link based solely on its link authority you shouldn’t avoid building a link for the same reason.

Why Would a Website Have Low Domain Authority and Still Be a Good Source of A Link?

Domain authority is influenced by age, size and trust. A brand new website just doesn’t have the trust factor of a brand that has been online for 5-10 years and has “proved” itself in the eyes of the search engines. For instance, a new industry blog might be pumping out great content every day, but it takes time to build the following and network of some of the bigger, more established blogs so their domain authority might be much lower, even though it’s actually a great website.

A site’s domain authority is also partially influenced by its back link profile. Again, a newer or smaller website isn’t going to have as many links as a huge, popular website. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t an incredibly valuable linking opportunity for your own SEO, especially if it caters to your target audience.

I regularly read Marketing Pilgirm, which was founded by online reputation management expert Andy Beal. According to SEOMoz, Marketing Pilgrim has a domain authority of 85 (out of a possible 100). I’d argue that a B/B+ (if you wanted to look at it like that) is a pretty good grade for a website and would happy to get a few inbound links from this domain. Search Marketing Standard, another SEO blog I routinely read, only has a domain authority of 66. Search Marketing Standard still produces great content and resources, is a respected source of information and writes to the same audience that I am trying to target—would I turn down a guest blogging or linking opportunity from Search Marketing Standard because of its domain authority? Absolutely not!

Just like many other components of SEO, it’s important that you don’t silo your activities. If you just look at domain authority or page rank or another other single measurement when trying to decide if a website is a good source or a link or not you’re not getting the whole picture. You might be passing up some valuable link building opportunities simply because one number isn’t big enough!

Now, there are plenty of websites out there with a low domain authority that should be avoided (because a multitude of other reasons), but a lower domain authority does not automatically equate to a bad website.

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