The difference between Domain Rating (DR) and Domain Authority (DA)

If you’ve been immersed in search engine optimization, or SEO, for any length of time, you’ve heard the terms Domain Rating (DR) and Domain Authority (DA) have probably come across the terms. Both are metrics used to measure the authority of a domain. Although this suggests to many that they are doing exactly the same thing, that is not the case. In fact, there are some distinct differences between Domain Rating and Domain Authority:

  1. Origin: DR was developed by Ahrefs, while DA was developed by Moz(1,2).
  2. Calculation: the DR and DA scores are based on different calculations. DR results from the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to a domain. DA, in turn, considers multiple factors, including link profile, on-page optimization and social signals. This therefore means that DA’s calculation is more complex.
  1. Reliability: both metrics involve estimating the authority of a domain. Therefore, they may have limitations in predicting a Web site’s performance in search engines. After all, actual website performance depends on numerous factors. Among other things, content quality, relevance and user experience also play a decisive role.

DR and DA both are used to measure the authority of a domain. Still, there are some points where the metrics differ. It is important to understand how the calculations are made, as well as the limitations of DR and DA when evaluating the performance of a Web site. Incidentally, the two also share an important similarity: they are measured on a scale of 0 to 100.

DR, DA and other metrics to assess website quality

Before proceeding to answer the above question, let me briefly consider the meaning of DR and DA. Both Domain Rating (DR) and Domain Authority (DA) are only estimates of a domain’s authority. So for that reason, they are also not directly related to the quality of a website. The metrics are based on the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to a domain. However, that is only one of the factors that determine the quality of a Web site.

Therefore, be aware that no single metric provides a complete picture of website quality. For this reason, it is advisable to use a combination of different metrics and analytics. This is how you obtain the most accurate image. Some examples of other metrics and analytics you can use to assess the quality of a Web site are:

  • Page Authority (PA).
  • PageRank
  • Mobile usability
  • Core Web Vitals(3)
  • Social signals
  • Content quality and relevance

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What factors affect a website’s SEO value?

Determining the SEO value of a website is not an exact science. Therefore, there are no absolute criteria for determining SEO value. That said, there are several factors that can be mentioned that influence the value of search engine optimization, including:

  1. Content: the quality of website content, also known as content, contributes greatly to SEO value. It is essential to publish quality, relevant and unique content. This content serves two purposes: to increase the authority of the Web site and to meet the needs of the user.
  2. On-page optimization: optimizing the on-page elements, such as title tags, meta descriptions, URLs and internal links can also contribute to the SEO value of the website.
On-page optimization
  1. Backlinks: the number of backlinks, like their quality and relevance, is a factor in SEO value. Therefore, make sure you obtain backlinks from other relevant and authoritative websites(4).
  2. Technical SEO: A well-structured website with a logical layout and functioning technical aspects can also contribute to SEO value.
  3. User experience: of course, a good user experience also contributes to the SEO value of a website(5). These include short load times, easy navigation and mobile-friendliness.
  4. Social signals: if you have a strong presence on social media and sufficient interaction with your website users there, this too contributes to the SEO value of your website.

So although there are no absolute criteria for determining the SEO value of a website, the above factors can help you better understand the SEO value of a website. Always use a combination of different analyses and metrics to get the most accurate picture of that value.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
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I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 27 August 2023. The last update of this article was on 10 January 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.