Every Friday, Remora's Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Steve Seeley, is here to answer any questions you might have related to your dealership's digital presence. From tracking data in Google Analytics to website optimization and running campaigns in Google Ads, no question will go unanswered. With this in mind, let's go ahead jump in to this week's edition of FAQ Fridays.

For years, the SEO community has touted that there are over 200 ranking factors within Google’s ranking algorithm. How accurate is that number? Nobody truly knows, as Google will never come out and actively discuss details regarding these mysterious ranking factors. There are however different algorithms used based on the business category or industry in which your website resides. Take payday loans, pharmaceutical, poker, and local brick and mortar stores (the category into which your dealership falls). Each of these has a separate algorithm located within Google’s “core algorithm,” and that is why local SEO is much different than ranking nationally for terms.

So What Is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority is actually a metric developed by a search engine optimization (SEO) software company called MOZ. The Domain Authority within Moz’s tool can range from 1 to 100, with higher scores equating to better valuation of your root domain. Moz has just over 40 factors that it uses to calculate this score, and these factors are ones that they developed and laid the groundwork for, in addition to the algorithm used to issue a domain’s overall score. Moz calculates your website's Domain Authority by evaluating things like your total number of backlinks or root domains that link to your site, as well as how strong those domains are in their own right.

All of this data comes from a tool called Link Explorer, which is not used by Google, Bing, or any other search engine on the Internet. Instead, they use machine learning calculations - and your score can and will fluctuate over time. Moz even states that you should always use Domain Authority as a relative metric and never an absolute value when comparing your site's score to that of other sites.

A standard example of what a Domain Authority readout looks like for your average dealership.

In other words, Moz’s Domain Authority is simply a tool that can be used to help gauge how your website’s link profile stacks up to those of your competitors.

If It Is Not Used by the Search Engines, Does My Domain Authority Really Matter?

Yes and no.

Yes, it matters if your score is extremely low because this means that you have a lot of spammy links, penalized domains that link to you, or heavy usage of exact match keyword anchor text pointing to your site. You would then want to analyze your backlink profile and clean up those bad backlinks, even if your dealership paid thousands of dollars to an SEO company that built them all. In the long run, those links are doing more harm than good and will lower your Domain Authority within the Moz tool.

On the other hand: No, it does not matter because you can still outrank a local dealership even if your score is lower than their score. A lot of our clients enjoy top rankings and search engine result page (SERP) domination with a lower score because our platform excels thanks to a plethora of technical SEO advantages and premium page load speeds - so much so that being 20 points lower in terms of DA score is a non-issue.

Domain Authority Does Not Look at Local SEO Factors like Location

Take this example, for instance: You want to rank in Atlanta, GA, for model-specific terms, but your dealership is located in Roswell, GA. Your dealership's Domain Authority is a 60, while a competing dealership is only a 40. This is a great example of why having a higher Domain Authority is irrelevant because your dealership is not based in Atlanta, GA.

Google’s local algorithm takes your dealership's physical location into account more than anything else. Since you are about 24 miles north of Atlanta, Google will give precedence to the dealer or dealerships that are actually located in Atlanta.

Where a website ranks is not based on a single metric like Domain Authority, especially when the search engine did not develop the metric in the first place. The search engines use a variety of metrics which will even vary from query to query based on the intent of the search being done, as well as the location of the person who is doing the search.

Official Moz logo.

In the End…

For your car dealership, do not focus solely on what a third-party tool is reporting, as it is not the end-all, be-all in determining where your site ranks. Many tools, like Moz's Domain Authority, do not take into consideration other factors, such as the Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, Hummingbird updates, or quality signals that Google also uses to rank your site.

Do You Have Specific Website or Marketing Related Questions You Would like Answered?

Have a burning question about your dealership's website or online marketing endeavors that you would love to see answered in this weekly feature? Then be sure to send in this query via our contact form and there is a good chance it will be featured on an upcoming FAQ Friday post.