Why Does Domain Authority Drop

Why does domain authority drop

Why Does Domain Authority Drop: Answered by SEO Jesus

If you’ve been building backlinks for a while and your Domain Rating (DR) has gone down, it’s probably left you wondering: ‘What on Earth is going on here?!”

I see a lot of people asking this question. A lot of my own clients will actually come back to me after a month or two saying: ‘You’ve been working with us, building 10 quality backlinks a month; yet, our DR either isn’t as moving as much as we want it to. Sometimes they say it’s even gone down. That’s an unusual scenario, but it could happen.


Understanding Ahrefs’ DR as a Relative Metric

Domain Rating from Ahrefs is a pretty misunderstood metric and there are loads of different nuances to it. But in this case, it’s a relative metric and not an absolute metric. This means that all the websites influence DR in the Ahrefs database. As 100 is the ceiling in Ahrefs, it can’t go beyond that ceiling, so it’s got to reassess the levels of individual domain ratings constantly. To simplify that: if all your competitors or even websites around the internet all got a load more backlinks Ahrefs just can’t just create higher DR beyond the 100 mark, so the DR metric simply has to adjust to account for those new backlinks.


Why Your Competitors’ Link Building Affects Your DR

You could have 50 backlinks and stay with 50 backlinks but your DR will change based on the activity of other websites and how many backlinks they get within the Ahrefs database. That means potentially you could be building links and your Dr would still go down if lots of other websites are aggressively building links. That’s one reason why your DR might have gone down. It is based on the activity of other websites within the Ahrefs database and how many backlinks they’re acquiring.


The Importance of Consistent, High-Quality Link Building

People think all they have to do is to just build a site, and attract links organically over time like Google wants you to.

The reality is you’ll just fade away if you do just that. You need to keep that engine pumping, you need to put some fuel on the fire. The internet keeps growing, building more and more links, so you don’t want to get left behind; otherwise, your domain rating will just fade away into obscurity. I see this a lot with expired domains where you might see an expired domain on the marketplace and once you actually check it in Ahrefs, you might find the latest data is very different from when that domain was listed 6 months ago. Also, it might have lost half of its DR in that time.


The Role of Source Site DR

A lot of that comes down to the actual sites you’re getting your links from. Generally, your DR is influenced by the DR of the sites you’re getting links from. At SEO Jesus, we aim for a minimum DR of 30 for English-language links. The average is normally around 55 and obviously, we consider other quality metrics including traffic. But that mostly depends on the link-building activity of the site you’re getting the link from. If they’re building links, then their DR should climb and therefore your DR should also climb in line with theirs.


Risks of Low-Quality Link Farms

However, the opposite is also true. If rely on low-quality link farms that link out to thousands of websites, then the power you’re getting from that link tends to be quite low. I see loads of agencies getting excited about building links with a DR of 60 or 70, but those are linking out to 100,000 outbound links and therefore the power you’re getting from that link is small and things could even get worse. If that site is constantly linking out to more and more people and not acquiring any more links itself, then the influence on your DR will reduce even further. Over time, you’ll be getting less and less power.


Effective and Proven Link-Building Strategy for Top Ranking

How to stop the DA drop and reverse it

That’s why when we do link building, we’re always trying to get sites on an uptrend. We want to see the traffic going up, we want to see the visibility and backlinks going up as well. Why? Because we are hoping to get a really good link that’s going to keep growing and get more powerful. We want to try and rank that page, alright, but we also want to see that that website is getting better and better and that its traffic is Increasing.


How to monitor and adjust your link-building efforts

Loads of sites we see are fading away to nothing, especially news sites. if they’re struggling with monetization, then often, selling links is one of the last resorts they’ll use to try and get some revenue coming in. As a result, you’ll find, during your outreach exercise, that there are loads of sites that are basically on their way out and are just clinging on, trying to get some revenue by working with SEO agencies.

Ideally, you want the site you’re Building links from to be gaining backlinks rather than just giving out loads of links and reducing their power over time. That’s a key part of our screening process here at SEO Jesus: we’re always looking at how many outbound links are on a website and we compare that against the number of sites that link to this site (number of inbound links). That often gives us an idea of whether we want links from the site or not.



So What Should You Do If Your DR is Dropping?

For most of my clients, even when building a consistent number of high-quality links, we do see a little bit of turbulence, because as we say, it’s constantly based on the Ahrefs database updating in line with the broader internet. So there are always a bit of ups and downs. Generally, if you’re noticing a severe drop of more than 3 DR, you should probably consider building more backlinks.

Also, make sure they’re high-quality backlinks where they’re not over-diluting themselves by linking out to thousands upon thousands of websites or increasing that number of outbound links at a high rate. We make sure to check each link’s backlink profile. We’re also always on the lookout for signs of DR manipulation because there are several ways you can inflate the DR of a linking site.

This post is based on SEO Jesus video: This Is Why Your Domain Authority Keeps Dropping.


Example of Poor Link-building Strategy and Consequences

For example, we recently saw a website (they’re now in our black list) ) that built scammy redirects from different Google domains, just to manipulate its DR. That’s just one of the ways people go about it these days. A few years ago, YouTube and Pinterest were used as manipulation hacks, and only one of those links would get your DR up to 60 or 70 instantly.

Those have now been filed out of the Ahrefs algorithm, so you never know when something like this might happen, and if you have been relying on building cheap or scammy links, you might suddenly find that the high DR sites you depended on would instantly drop down to DR 10 or 20 overnight because they’d been using these unsustainable practices to manipulate their DR.

That, actually, could also be another reason why your DR has been dropping.

TL, DR: You can halt your DR from sliding down the ranks if you

  • Maintain consistent backlink building
  • Monitor outbound links of potential link sources
  • Steer clear of DR manipulation



Final Thoughts: Quality & Diversity Are Key For Link Building

As usual, the key is quality and diversity. We advise that you still stick with press releases and the citations even though those are generally low-quality links. It’s a good foundation on which you can then build your high-quality outreach links and that will really propel you to the top. One last thing to note about DRs is that they provide only a sense of rankability. If the top 10 of Google for your main keywords are all DR 50s and 60s you know you need to get up to DR 50s and 60s.

If they’re in the ’80s and ’90s, then unless you have a big budget for link building you might need to think about other techniques or other keywords because those are hard to penetrate. On the other hand, if you discover that your main keywords have got DRS of 20 and 30 in the top 10, then you know you can rank for that pretty quickly.


The Inspiring Success Story of an SEO Jesus Client

One of our clients started at zero DR and zero traffic as of November 2022. but they are now hovering around a DR of 27 and 28 through our average quality process (we build links with sites with a DR of 30 or more, amongst other requirements).

In that time, their traffic has responded well, going from zero at the end of 2022 right up to nearly 40,000 visitors per month in April 2024. If you want to get similar results, you can sign up for our free Ranking Revelations Newsletter or if you have a budget you can go to apply. We have a waiting list but we tend to accelerate clients we think could benefit from our SEO services and get serious ROI. So fill in the application form there and you’ll get a free audit just for your inquiry because my team will dig deep to work out where we can get you ROI. You can also check our blog for more insightful analyses like this. We’re always looking for ways to provide a clear road map for you to implement.

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