Do you ever need to explain the importance of Domain Authority to customers or employees with little or no SEO experience? In this case, Andy Crestodina, the moderator of Whiteboard Friday this week, explains how to get your message across successfully.

Anatomy of a perfect pitch email

Click the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video transcription

SEO is actually very difficult to explain. There are so many concepts. But it is also very important to explain so that we can show value to our customers and our employers.

My name is Andy Crestodina. I am a co-founder of Orbit Media Studios. We're a web design company here in Chicago. I've been doing SEO for 20 years and explaining it for about that long. This video is my best attempt to help you explain a really important concept in search engine optimization, which is Domain Authority, to someone who doesn't know anything about search engine optimization at all, someone who isn't technical, someone who might not even be a marketer .

Here is a framework, a set of languages ​​and words that you can use to try to explain Domain Authority to people who may need to understand but have no background in the field.

Find ranking factors

OK. Let's go. Someone is looking for. You type something into a search engine. You see search results.

Why are they seeing these search results instead of something else? The reason is: Search ranking factors have determined that these will be the top search results for that query or keyword or term.


There are two main factors influencing search ranking, in the end two reasons a web page may or may not rank for a phrase. These two main factors are mostly the page itself, the words, the content, the keywords and the relevance.

We call this relevance SEOs. So this is the most important thing. This is one of the most important factors in search ranking: relevance, content, keywords and content on pages. I think everyone gets this somehow. But there is a second, very important search ranking factor. It is something that Google has innovated and that is really very important now on the web and in all searches.


There are links. Do these sites have links to them? Are they trusted by other websites? Did other sites vote for them because of their content? Did you go back to it, quote it? Have you linked to these pages and these websites? That's called authority.

So the two most important factors in search ranking are relevance and authority. Hence, the two main types of SEO are on-page SEO, content creation, and off-site SEO, PR, link building and authority. Because links are basically trust. Website, links to websites, it's like voting.

That is a vote of confidence. That said, this website is likely credible and likely important. So links are credibility. Great way to think about it. It depends on the amount. Having a lot of pages link to your page will add credibility. It is important that there are a number of websites that link to you.

Connection quality

The quality of these links is also important. Links from websites that you have many links to are worth a lot more. Links from authoritative websites are therefore more valuable than any other link. It is the quantity and quality of the links to your website, or the links to your page, that have a lot to do with whether or not you ranked in a related keyword search.

When a page is out of rank, one of two problems almost always occurs. It's either not a great page on the subject, or it's not a page on a website that the search engine trusts because it hasn't built enough authority from other websites, related sites, media pages, and other sites in the industry. The name for this stuff originally in Google was called PageRank.

Side rank

Capital letter P, capital letter R, a word, PageRank. No website, no search results page, but named after Larry Page, the guy who made it up, one of the co-founders of Google. PageRank was number 1 through 10 that we all knew. It was visible in that toolbar that we used back then.

They stopped reporting on it. They don't update that anymore. We don't really know our PageRank anymore, so you can't really tell. The way we now understand if a page is believable among other websites is by using tools that emulate PageRank by similarly crawling the internet, seeing who is linked to whom, and then theirs Create your own metrics, which are basically proxy metrics for PageRank.

Domain Authority

Moz has one. It's called Domain Authority. Written in capital letters D and A, this is the Moz metric. Other search tools, other SEO tools also have their own, like SEMrush which has an Authority Score. Ahrefs has a domain rating. Another popular tool, Alexa, has a tool called Competitive Power. They are all basically the same. They indicate whether a website or page can be trusted based on links to other websites.

Now we know that some links are worth much, much more than others. We can do this by reading Google patents or doing experiments or just using best practices and expertise and knowing firsthand that some links are worth a lot more.

But it's not just that they're worth a little more. Links from websites with a lot of authority are worth exponentially more. It's not a fair fight. Some sites have tons and tons and tons of authority. Most websites have very, very little. So it's on a curve. It's a log scale.

It is on an exponential curve the amount of authority a site has and its ranking potential. The value of a link to you from another site is on an exponential curve. Links from some websites are worth exponentially more than links from other smaller websites, smaller blogs. These are quantifiable in these tools, tools like Moz, tools that emulate the PageRank metric.

And what they can do is look at all of the pages that rank for a phrase, look at the authority of all of those websites and all of these pages, and then average them to show the likely difficulty of ranking for that key phrase. The difficulty would be more or less the average authority of the other pages ranking compared to your page's authority, and then would determine whether or not that is a page that you actually have a chance to rank for or not.

This could be called Keyword Difficulty. I looked for "baseball coaching" with a tool. I used Moz and found that the difficulty for this key phrase was about 46 out of 100. In other words, your page must have enough authority to stand a chance of ranking for that phrase. There is a subtle difference between Page Authority and Domain Authority, but we'll put that aside for now.

"Squash Coaching," wow, different sports, less popular sport, less content, less competitive phrases that rank for this key phrase. Wow, "squash coaching" is a lot less competitive. The difficulty for this was only 18. That helps us understand how much authority we would have to have to have a chance to rank for this keyword. If we don't have enough authority, it doesn't matter how great our page is, we will likely never rank.

If youIf you

So it's really important to understand one of the things that Domain Authority is telling us is our ranking potential. Are we sufficiently trustworthy to target and possibly rank for this key phrase? This is the first thing the Domain Authority defines, measures and shows. The second thing it shows, which I mentioned a second ago, is the value of a link to us from another site.

So if a highly authoritative website links to us, a website with high domain authority, then that domain authority is showing us the value of that link to us. A link from a website, brand new blog, young website, and smaller brand would have lower domain eligibility, indicating that that link would be of far less value.


The bottom line is that Domain Authority is a proxy for a metric in Google that we no longer have access to. It's created by an SEO tool, in this case Moz. If it's spelled with an uppercase D, uppercase A, then it's Moz's own metric. It shows us two things. Domain Authority is the ranking potential of pages in this domain. Second, Domain Authority measures the value of another site in case that site is linked back to your site. That's it.

Hope this was helpful. Feel free to pass this on to anyone you want to explain this to. Add. Let us know in the comments. I hope this was useful and it was a great pleasure and honor to be able to do a Whiteboard Friday for Moz. Andy from Orbit Media again. Thanks to all.

Video transcription from


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here