What is the Difference Between Domain Rating (DR) And Domain Authority (DA) in SEO

Difference between DA and DR in SEO

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Whenever you create your domain for a brand or services, a question would strike your mind: How would you be able to gauge the performance of your domain?

Well, naively speaking, search the keyword in the Google search bar and look where your domain stands in the search engine result pages (SERPs). It is good for you if it appears in the top 5 positions; if not, you should be concerned about its performance.

This process seems odd, as you must keep doing this on and off and keep looking without knowing what factors are contributing positively to your ranking and which are harming it.

Unfortunately, search engines like Google do not explicitly speak about their ranking process and rightly so, as people will try to manipulate those factors.   

Fortunately, there are two third-party ranking metrics that are widely used in the SEO industry to gauge the performance of your domain: Domain authority, abbreviated as DA and Domain Rating, abbreviated as DR, where the former is developed by the Moz and later by the Ahrefs. 

Let’s learn about the difference between DA and DR in SEO.

What is Domain Authority

Domain authority is the ranking metric developed by the mighty Moz, one of the oldest in the SEO industry. The scale of DA ranges between 0-100, where 0  means lowest and 100 highest authority. The higher the value of DA, the higher the chances of appearing in the top position in the SERPs.

How to Find Domain Authority

Domain authority can be found using Free Domain Authority Checker, a free SEO tool. It can also be found using Moz’s Link Explorer or the SERP analysis section of Keyword Explorer. The process is rather simple: add the URL of your domain into the search bar and press Enter, and your authority score will be displayed.

How to Find Domain Authority

What is Domain Rating

Domain Rating is another ranking process developed by another SEO tool, Ahrefs. This scale also ranges between 0-100. Here, 0 means low rank and it is highly unlikely that a domain with a rank equal to 0 will appear in the 2 to 3 pages of SERPs. Conversely, if you rank 100 in DR, then it is highly likely that you would earn the top 3 to 4 spots in the SERPs.

How to Find Domain Rating

Like Moz, Ahrefs also offers a free Website Authority Checker to find the domain rating. Add the URL and press Enter, and your Rating will be displayed.

How to Find Domain Rating


Before diving deep into the DA and DR and its features, it is pertinent to mention here that both ranking methods are developed by a third party, and it does not guarantee you the position in Google’s or any other search engines’ SERPs.

Having said that, it is believed that both metrics have incorporated the factors that Google and other search engines use for the ranking calculations. Hence, these ranking processes are good and reliable enough to gauge the performance of a domain.

Moreover, SEO experts have used both metrics, and their results are credible enough to find the effectiveness of a domain.

Key Factors of Domains Authority Calculations

Key Factors of Domains Authority Calculations

Moz is one of the oldest in the SEO industry, has evolved over the years and has incorporated many factors required by bloggers, outreachers, SEO experts, digital marketers, webmasters, and social media campaigners.

DA score is based on the machine learning algorithm, which also considers the SERPs of Google about a domain, which means if a domain appears more often in the SERPs of Google than its competitors, it will have a high authority.

Moz considers more than 150 factors to calculate the authority of a website. Its bots crawl the website and its pages to collect the data and then calculate the website’s authority. Since it is based on AI and incorporates many factors, its result often fluctuates as more data points are available. Following are some of the key features and factors that Moz uses for its calculations.

  • Domain authority gives a high weightage to your presence on social media. Social media plays a key role in the presence era in marketing. Although Google does not consider the links at social media apps in its ranking process, however, it increases the traffic at your platform, which Google considers. Moreover, it’s not just your presence that matters; how active you are on your social media pages is also important. So, a site with more shares and links at different social media apps will likely get better DA.
  • Backlinks are another factor that Moz considers in its authority calculations. So, try to get as many backlinks as possible from different authoritative sites if you want a higher authority. It is also worth noting that Moz pays high attention to how diversified are your referring domains. If you get multiple backlinks from the same domain, then it will not improve your authority.
  • Moreover, try to get links from high-authority sites rather than low-authority platforms. More high authority referring domains will pass more link juice and higher will be your authority.
  • Moz also considers the age of your domain. So, an old website will get more authority than a new entrant in the market.
  • Moz also considers spam scores while assigning an authority to a domain. If you get links from spammy and malicious websites after paying a couple of bucks, then Moz will not consider them your organic links and will de-count them. Such links are detrimental to your site, not only in the eyes of Moz but also in the calculations of Google. Google has a very strict stance against using Black Hat strategies to earn such links, as these links manipulate Google’s ranking process.
  • Content quality and relevancy are other factors that can affect the authority calculation. Try to develop content that has the attributes of Good Content. Such great content will increase your page’s traffic and give you high business.
  • On-page SEO helps the search engine to index the content in a proper repository. Moz also looks keenly at on-page SEO. So, try to add a heading, subheading, table of contents, internal and external backlinks, do follow links, no follow links, etc., for better authority. These features help visitors to navigate easily and search engines to index it properly.

Key Factors of Domain Rating Calculations

Key Factors of Domain Rating Calculations

Ahrefs is the proprietor of Domain rating, and it ranked second after Google for its ranking results. Its AI-based algorithm handles all the data for metric analysis and rating calculation.

 As per the article of 2022, the Ahrefs database consists of 30.3 trillion known links, 262.7 billion indexed pages and 208 million unique domains. Moreover, Ahrefs is crawling 5.76 billion pages daily, which is mammoth. Following are the key features and factors that are being used for calculations.

In contrast to Moz, Ahrefs uses much fewer factors in its calculations. It looks at a platform’s backlink profile to find the Rating. This process is much less complicated and easy to understand. Apart from using fewer factors, the working mechanism of Ahrefs is much like Moz.

It is well known now that Google gives a very high value not only to the quality but also to the quantity of backlinks. As per the study by Backlinko, on the SERPs, between positions two to ten, there are 3.8 times more links on average. This is the very reason Ahrefs rating criteria are more focused on a domain’s backlink profile. Following are some of the key factors that Ahrefs uses for its calculations.

  • Ahrefs uses only do-follow links pointing towards your domain in its calculations. All those links tagged as no-follow will not contribute to its calculations.
  • In addition to do-follow, domain rating of the referring domain will also contribute to the Rating process. The higher the Rating of the referring domain, the higher your Rating will also be.
  • Furthermore, the quantity of referring domains and referring pages are also a rating measure as per Ahrefs calculations. With more referring domains and pages, high will be your Rating in the Ahrefs’ calculations.

Similarity Between DA and DR

Similarity Between DA and DR
  • Both DA and DR scale their ranking from 0-100, where 0 and 100 are the worst and the best, respectively.
  • Both DA and DR give high weightage to the backlink profile.
  • Authority and Rating of referring domain is equally important in both rankings.
  • Both rankings are independent of Google, meaning their high value does not guarantee the top position in Google’s SERPs.
  • It is highly likely that higher DA and DR sites will also take higher value in Google’s SERPs, as both use similar factors as Google does for the ranking calculations.
  • Both ranking processes use the logarithmic scales, meaning the efforts required to increase your ranking from 60 to 70 is much higher than increasing 30 to 40. Mathematically, the logarithmic scale presents the data in very compact form. So, a single-point rise in ranking at higher DA and DR value will require massive efforts.
  • Moz and Ahrefs can check a website’s ranking with their free tools. Detailed reports of both tools can only be accessed through a subscription.
  • Both DA and DR present a relative value compared to other platforms of your niche. If your competitor earns more backlinks in a month, then it will lower your ranking despite earning backlinks similar to the previous month.

Differences Between DA and DR

Here are the key differences between DA and DR in SEO.

  • The Moz develops DA, whereas DR is developed by the Ahrefs.
  • DR considers the backlink profile only, whereas DA considers more than 150 factors other than backlinks.
  • DA also considers the domain age and content quality, whereas DR does not consider these factors.
  • DR only considers do-follow links, whereas DA considers all types of links and presents the spam score of the domain.
  • Your spammy links would not affect the DR, as it does not take them in calculations, whereas DA will be lowered if such malicious links are present.
  • Ahrefs’ DR calculations are rather simple and well explained, whereas Moz’s DA does not provide the true picture of calculations.
  • The report of DR of a website will present the data related to backlinks only, whereas the DA report will consist of concise information on many factors. It provides top pages by links, spam score, keyword information, top snippets, and many more.

Final Thoughts

It is very hard to say which one is better than the other. We have discussed the merits and demerits of both in the above paragraphs. Based on our experience and fellow SEO experts, we believe DR is better than DA because of the following points.

  • Domain rating algorithm is rather simple than domain authority as DA works on many factors for its calculations, and little is known about its calculation mechanism.
  • It is well known now that Google relies heavily on the backlinks profile of the domain rather than other factors, so DR is closer to Google’s ranking process.
  • For SEO experts, it is easy to focus on a couple of factors rather than opening many avenues. So, DR allows them to focus more focused efforts.
  • Having said that, we still believe that both ranking processes are reliable. If you are comfortable with the DA, then it’s good for you, and so is the case for DR.

Improving your DA and DR requires deep knowledge of backlink profiling, content writing, on and off-page SEO and many other factors. Such expertise is a rare trade to find in one place. Luckily, Dlinx Outreach is an Florida based SEO agency with all this expertise and can work on your domain to increase your DA and DR. Please feel free to contact us for more information and quotation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is DA?

Domain authority is the ranking mechanism of websites devised by Moz.

What is DR?

Domain rating is the ranking mechanism of websites devised by Ahrefs.

Does high DA and DR guarantee a high position in the SERPs?

Both DA and DR are third-party ranking mechanisms; it has nothing to do with Google’s SERP results. Since both mechanisms consider the factors that Google uses for its ranking, it is highly likely that a high DA and DR site will appear at the top positions of Google’s SERPs.

DA and DR: which one is more reliable?

Both DA and DR are equally good and reliable.

DA and DR: which one is handier and easier to understand?

DA incorporates more than 150 factors, whereas DR relies heavily on the backlink profile, so Ahrefs’ DR is handier and easier to understand.

DA and DR score scale is linear or logarithmic.

Both scales are logarithmic, which means earning a score from 20-30 is much easier than 30 to 40. Furthermore, it helps to represent the data in a more compact form.

Can Dlinx help you increase your DA and DR scores?

Dlinx is an SEO agency with a penalty of experience in link building and other on and off-page SEO. So, their experts can be helpful to earn high Rating and authority.


Haiqa Saleem

Haiqa Saleem

Haiqa is head of content at Dlinx Outreach. She is an avid writer and bookworm and has been with Dlinx since 2019. As a true tech geek and an extraordinary content strategist, she leverages her passion for the digital sphere and love for writing to share her knowledge through insightful content. She writes with a data-driven perspective.

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