What is DR in SEO? Why Does it Matter?

DR stands for “domain rating” and it’s a metric used by Ahrefs to represent the strength of a website’s backlink profile. Generally, the more high-quality backlinks a website has, the higher the DR. 

That said, there are a number of other factors that impact your domain rating as well and SEOs across the world are constantly trying to figure out what these factors are. 

In this quick guide, we’re going to answer the question “what is DR in SEO” and why is it important? 

How is DR Calculated?

I’ve talked about this a handful of times now but I want you to think of each authoritative backlink as a tablespoon of “link juice” and think of your website as a cup. 

The more good “dofollow” backlinks you have, the more link juice you’re pouring into your cup. 

This is essentially how your domain rating is calculated on a scale of 0-100. A website with 0 website DR, has little to no backlinks and is likely a very new website. 

Sites like Google and Amazon have extremely high domain ratings, usually around 90+. 

As I mentioned, there are additional factors that many people believe play a role in your DR:

  • The amount of high-quality content on your website
  • User-friendliness and experience 
  • Mobile optimization
  • Keyword optimization
  • Proper metadata 

Now, let me be crystal clear about something. 

These factors will not increase your DR according to Ahrefs. In fact, they come right out and say it.  

Ahrefs explanation of domain rating

But, domain rating is similar to PageRank which is the actual metric used by Google to determine the rankability of a website. So, in a way, domain rating is a phantom metric. 

Doing all of the “extra” things I mentioned, will not necessarily increase your domain rating but it will increase your rankability which will gain you more links and increase your domain rating. 

Got that? 

Why is DR Important? 

The higher domain rating your website has, the more link juice it has. The more link juice it has, the more potential it has to rank for more competitive search phrases. Ultimately, a higher DR provides you with more opportunity to make money. 

While DR is not a direct ranking factor used by search engines like Google, it is often correlated with higher rankings because it reflects the website’s authority and credibility.

Since domain rating is heavily influenced by link quality and quantity, this tells Google that you have a reputable site. 

Think of each high-quality, dofollow link, as a vote of confidence from another website. They’re endorsing you and by doing so, they’re telling Google that your site is great and has valuable content on it. 

Lastly, DR is important as a comparison metric. It provides insights into how strong your backlink profile is relative to others in your niche. Understanding your competitors’ DR can help you identify areas where you need to improve to outrank them in search results.

How to Find Your DR?

There are a bunch of free tools out there and even Ahrefs offers a free website authority checker. I’d recommend using that if you don’t pay for an Ahrefs subscription. 

website authority checker

All you have to do is put your domain into the search field and you’ll receive a domain rating based on the total number of dofollow backlinks you have and the amount of websites that link to you. 

How to Increase Your DR

I believe that all great websites start with great content. Sites that regularly publish great content score backlinks naturally without having to do outreach or revert to spammy black hat methods. 

Don’t forget about your internal linking strategy either. Pages that perform well and rank high in the SERPs can actually pass link juice to other pages on your website. You don’t always need to look outward to get better results. 

Using Link Whisper can help with this. Link Whisper will find relevant internal linking opportunities on your website automatically so you don’t have to spend hours scouring the site. 

Final Thoughts

Now you know what DR is in SEO and you should hopefully understand why it’s important and why it matters to the overall success of your website. Your domain rating has a huge impact on your site’s performance and is a major indicator of the quality of your site as a whole. 

Follow the tips outlined in this guide and be sure to always focus on doing things the right way. Don’t use black hat methods like paying for low-quality links. A single great link is better than 100 crappy links! 

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