What Is Domain Rating?

Adam Steele
Jun 10, 2021

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If you own a website, you’ve probably encountered the terms ‘domain rating’, ‘domain authority’ and ‘page authority’.

These scores are used by Google search and other search engine algorithms to determine the authority and value of a given website and assign a rank to that website in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

This article takes an in-depth look into what domain rating is, why your domain rating is essential, and how you can improve your domain rating to enjoy a better PageRank in the Google rankings and other searching engines.

What Is Domain Rating?

Domain rating (DR) is a metric created by the SEO toolset Ahrefs that shows “the strength of a website’s backlink profile compared to the others in the ahrefs database on a 100-point scale”.

Ahrefs uses a website’s backlink profile to determine their DR.

Depending on the number of high-quality backlinks from unique domains, ahrefs can get a rough idea of how other webmasters perceive that particular website.

Read more: How to Increase Domain Authority

Why is Domain Rating Important?

Domain rating is essential in the same ways that Moz’s domain authority is.

Search engines such as Google need some way of ranking and assessing websites, and metrics such as domain rating allow them to do this.

As such, domain rating is important for several reasons from different perspectives.

From the perspective of a search engine, domain rating is important as it allows the search engine to show its users the best and most relevant material on the website. This guarantees a valuable user experience on the search engine.

From the perspective of internet users, domain rating ensures they read and engage with trustworthy content because the results towards the top of the SERPs have website authority, as shown by having quality dr scores.

Finally, from a webmaster’s perspective doing digital marketing, having a solid ahrefs dr score means their website and web pages have good search engine rankings, meaning they get more traffic and customers than their competitors.

Domain Rating FAQ

What is a good domain rating?

Your competitors determine a good domain rating.

You don’t necessarily need a DR score of 80+. You just need one that is as high as, or higher than, other websites in your niche.

As increasing your DR score is a lengthy and costly process, analyzing your competitor’s websites with a free domain authority checker SEO tool is worth doing, so you know roughly the number of backlinks you need to be competitive.

What is a domain score?

A domain score is assigned to a domain according to the number of external links that point back to that domain. More like from high-dr websites correlate with a more authoritative website, which search engines then list higher in their SERPs.

How is domain rating determined?

SEO tools and search engines determine a website’s domain rating according to several fundamental link building metrics.

These metrics look at:

In any campaign to improve your domain rating, it’s important to consider where your backlinks are coming from, not just how many you’re getting. This is where working with professional white-hat link building services can give you the upper hand against your competitors.

How do I increase my Ahrefs domain rating?

Increasing your Ahrefs domain rating is achieved by increasing the number of referring domains to your website by getting new websites with solid link juice to give you a backlink.

In most cases, you want to get as many dofollow backlinks from referring domains as you can, not a nofollow link, as search engines don’t include nofollow links in your da score.

The more domains you have pointing to yours, the higher your DR, and the higher you rank in the SERPs logarithmic scale.

A fast and effective route to growing your DR is by collaborating with content marketing agencies and other websites to buy links or trade links.

But caution must be exercised, and it is a good idea to understand how you can safely purchase links before embarking on a campaign to improve your link profile.

How do I avoid bad links?

Just like good links improve your domain rating, bad links can hurt your domain rating. Getting inbound links with honest techniques, such as guest posting on relevant blogs or offering expert advice to journalists as a quotation, gets you good links.

Simply buying links off content marketers saying they give links will hurt your DR, as search engines punish this practice.

Remember, domain rating is a system of reviewing website content, and directly buying spammy links is akin to purchasing fake reviews for a restaurant or app. Eventually, you get caught out and punished.

How long does it take to improve my domain rating?

It does take time for search engines to trust new websites.

This is why you need a sound strategy to growing your backlink profile and growing your DR. If you do it right, you can see a gradual but constant increase in your DR within months. Depending on your timeframe and available funds, you can grow your DR as quickly or slowly as you like.

The best link building services can grow your DR by 5-8 points a month by getting links with high link equity.

How do I find my domain rating?

The best way to find your domain rating is to use our free domain authority SEO checker tool.

Simply input the URLs you wish to analyze, input your email with which to access the dashboard, and check your and your competitors’ domain ratings and other metrics.

Don’t forget: check out the other definitions (over 200) in our growing SEO glossary.


Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of domain rating.

Understanding that domain rating is an important factor for getting high ranks in search engines allows website and business owners to invest wisely in link building campaigns.

Investing in growing your domain rating should be seen as a long-term play that will pay dividends within four to eight months, as you get higher SERP rankings which attracts exponentially more website traffic for you to convert into customers.

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

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Written by Adam Steele on June 10, 2021

COO and Product Director at Loganix. Recovering SEO, now focused on the understanding how Loganix can make the work-lives of SEO and agency folks more enjoyable, and profitable. Writing from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.