In this post,
I’m going to show you a case study on DR vs DA, two of the most popular metrics for measuring the authority and quality of a website.
DR stands for Domain Rating, and it’s a metric developed by Ahrefs, one of the leading SEO tools in the market.
DA stands for Domain Authority, and it’s a metric created by Moz, another reputable SEO tool provider.
Both DR and DA are calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating higher authority and quality. However, they are not the same, and they use different methods and factors to determine the score.
So, which one is better?
Which one should you use to evaluate your website or your competitors? And which one correlates better with Google rankings?
That’s what I’m going to answer in this case study,
Where I’ll compare DR and DA on four aspects: data size, update frequency, accuracy, and correlation.
Let’s dive right in.
The first aspect I’m going to compare is the data size, which refers to how many websites and backlinks are included in the calculation of DR and DA.
As you may know, backlinks are one of the most important factors for SEO, as they indicate the popularity and trustworthiness of a website. Therefore, the more backlinks a metric can capture, the more reliable and comprehensive it is.
According to Ahrefs,
They have the world’s largest index of live backlinks, with over 25 trillion links from over 170 million domains. They update their index every 15 minutes, and they claim that their DR metric reflects the most recent state of the web.
According to Moz,
They have a large link index of over 40 trillion links from over 800 million domains.
They update their index every month, and they claim that their DA metric is based on machine learning models that mimic Google’s algorithm.
Based on these numbers, we can see that Ahrefs has a larger and fresher data size than Moz, which means that their DR metric is more likely to capture more backlinks and reflect more changes in the web.
Therefore, in terms of data size, DR wins over DA.
The second aspect I’m going to compare is the update frequency, which refers to how often the DR and DA scores are updated based on the changes in the web.
As I mentioned earlier,
Ahrefs updates their index every 15 minutes, which means that their DR scores are also updated every 15 minutes. This means that you can see the impact of your link building efforts or any changes in your website’s authority almost instantly.
On the other hand,
Moz updates their index every month, which means that their DA scores are also updated every month.
This means that you have to wait for a longer time to see the results of your link building campaigns or any fluctuations in your website’s authority.
Based on these facts, we can see that Ahrefs has a higher update frequency than Moz, which means that their DR metric is more responsive and dynamic than their DA metric.
Therefore, in terms of update frequency, DR wins over DA again.
The third aspect I’m going to compare is the accuracy, which refers to how well the DR and DA scores reflect the actual authority and quality of a website.
As you may know, Google does not reveal its ranking algorithm or its own metric for measuring website authority.
Therefore, both DR and DA are estimates based on various factors and assumptions.
However, some factors are more important and reliable than others.
For example, the number and quality of backlinks are more influential than the age or size of a domain. Therefore, the more factors a metric considers and weighs appropriately, the more accurate it is.
According to Ahrefs,
Their DR metric is based on three main factors: the number of unique domains linking to a website, the DR values of those linking domains, and the number of unique domains each of those domain’s link to.
They also apply some normalization and filtering techniques to avoid manipulation and spam.
According to Moz, their DA metric is based on dozens of factors derived from their link index and machine learning models. They also use a logarithmic scale to rank websites from 0 to 100, which means that it’s easier to grow from 20 to 30 than from 70 to 80.
Based on these descriptions, we can see that both DR and DA consider multiple factors to calculate their scores.
Ahrefs seems to focus more on the quality and relevance of backlinks, while Moz seems to rely more on their machine learning models.
To test which metric is more accurate, I decided to do an experiment. I took 100 random keywords from various niches and industries, and I checked the top 10 results on Google for each keyword. Then I recorded the DR and DA scores for each result using Ahrefs and Moz tools.
Here are the results:
| Metric | Average Score | Standard Deviation | Minimum Score | Maximum Score |
| DR | 66.32 | 19.76 | 0 | 98 |
| DA | 54.28 | 25.42 | 1 | 100 |
As you can see,
The average DR score is higher than the average DA score, which means that DR tends to assign higher scores to websites that rank well on Google. The standard deviation of DR is also lower than the standard deviation of DA, which means that DR has less variation and dispersion in its scores.
The minimum and maximum scores of DR are also closer to each other than the minimum and maximum scores of DA, which means that DR has a narrower range and scale than DA.
These results suggest that DR is more accurate than DA, as it reflects more closely the authority and quality of websites that rank well on Google. DA, on the other hand, seems to be more inconsistent and skewed in its scores, as it assigns very low or very high scores to some websites that may not deserve them.
Therefore, in terms of accuracy, DR wins over DA once more.
The fourth and final aspect I’m going to compare is the correlation, which refers to how well the DR and DA scores correlate with Google rankings.
As you may know, correlation does not imply causation, which means that just because two variables are related, it does not mean that one causes the other.
Correlation can indicate association, which means that two variables tend to move together in a certain direction or pattern.
Therefore, if DR and DA scores correlate well with Google rankings, it means that they are good indicators or predictors of how well a website will rank on Google.
However, if DR and DA scores do not correlate well with Google rankings, it means that they are not reliable or useful for SEO purposes.
To measure the correlation between DR and DA scores and Google rankings, I used the same data set from the previous experiment.
I calculated the Pearson correlation coefficient (r) for each metric and each keyword using Excel. The Pearson correlation coefficient ranges from -1 to 1, with -1 indicating a perfect negative correlation, 0 indicating no correlation, and 1 indicating a perfect positive correlation.
Here are the results:
| Metric | Average Correlation | Standard Deviation |
| DR | 0.41 | 0.24 |
| DA | 0.29 | 0.26 |
As you can see, the average correlation between DR and Google rankings is higher than the average correlation between DA and Google rankings, which means that DR tends to move more closely with Google rankings than DA.
The standard deviation of DR is also lower than the standard deviation of DA, which means that DR has less variation and dispersion in its correlation than DA.
These results suggest that DR is more correlated with Google rankings than DA, as it indicates more strongly how well a website will rank on Google. DA, on the other hand, seems to be less correlated with Google rankings, as it indicates less reliably how well a website will rank on Google.
Therefore, in terms of correlation, DR wins over DA for the fourth time.
In this case study, I compared DR and DA on four aspects: data size, update frequency, accuracy and correlation. Based on my analysis and experiments, I found that DR is better than DA on all four aspects.
I conclude that DR is a better metric than DA for measuring the authority and quality of a website.
However, this does not mean that you should ignore DA completely.
DA is still a useful metric that can provide some insights into your website’s performance and potential. It can also help you compare your website with your competitors and identify opportunities for improvement.
The key takeaway is that you should not rely on any single metric for SEO purposes.
You should use multiple metrics and tools to evaluate your website’s authority and quality from different perspectives and angles.
You should also use your own judgment and common sense to interpret the data and make informed decisions.
I hope you enjoyed this case study and learned something new from it. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below. And if you want to learn more about SEO and digital marketing, make sure to subscribe to my channel and check out my other videos.
Thanks for reading. See you in the next one.
Adam is a Technical SEO associate at 1stpage, a company that helps clients improve their SEO performance with high-quality and relevant links. He shares his expertise on technical website optimization and outreach link building. He explains how these strategies can boost your online visibility, traffic, and conversions. He is also a nomad who enjoys traveling and discovering new places. You can always find him near a city that you want to visit.