What Is Your Website’s Domain Rating & Why Does It Matter?

In 2020 alone, Google garnered around two million searches — of these searches, 500 similar keywords dominated 8.4% of those queries. That's a whopping 168 billion searches! But why do a website domain rating matter?

Imagine what it could mean for businesses and website creators to rank on the first page of Google's search results. That much exposure could bring in a lot of traffic, brand awareness, and sales. 

Why do we say this? For every 5 million searches on Google, only 0.78% of users click on a link beyond the first page!

Getting a high ranking on Google does not happen by magic. The world's most powerful search engine uses an algorithm to ensure that they're pulling in the best possible results for queries to save users from the inconvenience of visiting unrelated sites. This includes metrics defined by third-party sources that Google deems credible, like domain ratings from Ahrefs.

If you want to dig deeper into the relevance of a domain rating on a website and what you can do to improve it, here's what you'll need to know:

An introduction to SEO

blue and white logo guessing game

While Google isn't the only search engine, it's undoubtedly the most popular operation. The practice called 'search engine optimization' or SEO is where brands and creators curate their content to meet Google's standards. Websites aren't the only content that businesses can curate. It can also be images, social media posts, or other methods to increase website traffic.

Websites, though, represent the most often curated content. After all, people can't exactly access your content if Google doesn't list your site in search results. This makes SEO more critical; without it, Google won't list pages of your website if they don't meet their criteria. 

Here are some vital SEO basics you can try for your website:

  • Crawlability. Before you wonder where your site ranks on Google, check if Google can access your site in the first place. Specific codes can get in Google's way of classifying your site for their search results.
  • Unique, relevant, and compelling content. The best practice to rise more quickly in Google search results is to provide highly informative and unique content, website loading speed, and backlinks.
  • Optimized keywords. Google scans your site layout and the content you publish to determine what search queries or tags they can file your site under. Make sure your content is readable and has relevant information.
  • User-friendliness. If you've ticked off all the other basic practices on this list, there's one more thing you need to do - make it user-friendly. This way, Google will see it as more credible.

While it can feel overwhelming, having a strong SEO presence is essential to ensure your website is credible and relevant. This may involve tweaking a few things here and there, but all in all, it will yield significant gains in the long run as your website rises in Google's search rankings.

What is a domain rating?

man wearing white top looking at projector graph screen

So, why is a site's domain rating (DR) relevant? Aside from the criteria listed above, other institutions help classify the integrity of websites. 

A domain rating is a metric developed by tech giant Ahrefs to evaluate a website's backlink profile (a profile of the collection of inbound links from different sites that lead to your website). The more high-ranking websites that reference your site, the higher your credibility becomes, too!

A high domain rating means that readers and writers trust you and your work. This indicates well-researched and accurate information on your site.

Domain rating should not be confused with domain authority (DA) - a metric similar to Ahrefs' domain rating measurement developed by SEO experts at Moz. 

The difference between them is that domain ratings rank pages on a scale of 1 to 100. In contrast, domain authority predicts the likelihood of pages ranking well on search engines. Domain rankings focus mainly on backlinks, while domain authority looks at how your website is doing in search engines.

Why domain rating matters

An important thing to note is that Google doesn't rely on external source reports when deciding how to rank results. However, having a higher domain rating means that you're essentially meeting Google's criteria to evaluate how a page gets ranked. So while it doesn't take its cues from establishments like Ahrefs, the latter does take notes from Google. So if you're rating high with them, the more likely you'll rate high by Google's standards as well.

How can you improve your domain rating? While it may seem like getting backlinks is the only way to increase your rating, it's not the only way to go. Some website creators have been building their backlink profiles for years. Hence, don't feel pressured to have a high domain rating immediately. Be patient and develop a strategy to steer you closer to your long-term goals.

Strategies to improve your domain rating

Two people at work in discussion with their Microsoft devices

Now that you know what a domain rating is and why it's essential, you probably wonder how you can improve it. Here are some of the tactics you can adopt:

  • Optimize your content. When creating content to publish on your site, ensure that you have answers to these questions: Are your keywords optimized? Is your content easy to read? Is the topic relevant to users? Optimized content means higher ratings.
  • Refine your linking strategy. You want to make sure that each external link on your site leads to other relevant and helpful pages for your readers. 
  • Market your content on social media. Getting your link to gain popularity is easier done on social media. You can do this by working with influencers, joining groups, sharing your blogs on your social media pages, and posting your links on other sites.
  • Optimize your website. Ensuring that your website is optimized - loading speed, landing pages, content - can help increase your domain rating. Google prioritizes having a smooth, informative interface when analyzing a website's domain rating.


Getting your page to rank high on Google can feel impossible. It isn't, though! Once you learn the basics, you'll be on your way to a higher domain rating and search ranking. 

Google has worked hard to gain and maintain the trust of its users. While complying with their standards and guidelines can be complicated, it will give your website higher exposure to a broader range of people to gain trust and credibility for your business.

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