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What is domain authority and why does it matter in PR?

By Lindsey Chastain

Tracking and building domain authority scores can amplify the SEO impact of earned media coverage.


A search engine on a tablet screen.Domain authority is a metric developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. It's calculated based on an analysis of over 200 ranking factors, including the quantity and quality of links pointing to a domain. 


For public relations professionals, understanding and tracking domain authority is crucial in four key ways.


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1. Domain authority boosts search visibility and earned media coverage.

A core goal of PR is to secure earned media placements and coverage on high-authority websites and publications. This third-party credibility boosts a brand's domain authority score. The higher the authority of the sites linking back to your domain, the more SEO value those backlinks impart. 


For example, a link from a reputable site like The New York Times (DA 99) passes much more authority than a link from a random blog (DA 5). As PR pros secure high-value links, it lifts the domain authority of the brand's website, which translates into better search rankings and visibility.


2. Analyzing domain authority helps target link-building outreach. 

Domain authority provides a concrete way for PR teams to identify and prioritize outreach targets for link-building campaigns. Sorting prospects by DA makes it easy to see the publications, blogs, and websites that deliver the most SEO impact. PR pros can focus their pitching efforts on securing backlinks from high-authority sites to capitalize on their ranking power.


3. Domain authority helps you track SEO value of PR campaigns over time.

Monitoring domain authority over months and years provides insight into the cumulative SEO effects of sustained PR and outreach efforts. As earned media coverage and high-quality backlinks accumulate, DA builds steadily. PR teams can point to this as a metric showing the long-term SEO value generated by their campaigns. It's a tracking benchmark for success beyond just vanity media metrics.


4. Domain authority establishes a target for link prospecting goals.

Using domain authority tools, PR professionals can look up the DA score of any website. This allows them to set defined SEO ranking goals for link prospecting and outreach based on DA tiers, such as:

  • Secure two backlinks from DA 80+ news sites
  • Obtain five links from DA 70+ blogs
  • Get 10 links from DA 50+ trade publications

With domain authority as a guide, PR teams can pursue links not just from well-known outlets but niche sites and competitors that have built authority in a relevant subject area. The DA score contains actionable information to focus efforts.


Domain authority matters for monitoring SERP rankings.

As domain authority climbs, it enables websites to outrank competitors in search results, given other optimization factors are also in place. PR teams should regularly search for relevant brand keywords to see if earned media wins are translating into higher search rankings. Improved SERP positions are the ultimate proof that focusing on DA in PR and outreach works.


While domain authority is not directly used as a ranking factor by search engines, it remains a useful metric for PR professionals to track. Domain authority scores are calculated based on many of the same signals that search algorithms evaluate, such as link quantity, quality, and authority. Higher DA generally correlates with better search rankings, even if it isn't a direct ranking factor. 


Monitoring domain authority over time provides insight into how earned media coverage and link-building efforts are translating into organic visibility. As high-authority backlinks accumulate from PR activities, domain authority climbs as a tangible indicator that the website is gaining relevance in search engines' eyes. While not a perfect measure, domain authority aggregates the cumulative SEO value of PR efforts into a benchmark to optimize around.


Contact us today to learn more about how we can increase your domain authority through public relations efforts.


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Photo by PhotoMIX Company

Topics: owned media, web media

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