The AI generated image is of an owl, wearing a graduate cap and glasses, with a diploma next to them. It accompanies a blog post whose title is "What is the difference between domain authority and topical authority?".
This entry is part 23 of 44 in the series Topical Authority

The lead post in this series is Mastering Topical Authority: A Comprehensive Guide to Boost Your SEO.

Domain authority vs topical authority

While both are important to the SEO rankings of websites, they’re drastically different.

Domain authority (DA or MozDA) is a numerical score assigned to websites.

Topical authority is a framework for helping to ensure you publish high quality content.

Understanding domain authority

The domain authority metric was created by Moz (back when they were SEO Moz), is a numerical score from 1 and 100, and is considered to be a measure of how authoritative a website is overall.

It is calculated from a set of measurable inputs, such as the number of domains that link to the target domain, the number and distribution of inbound links to the domain (the backlink profile), and the number of unique root domains linking to the website (.com, .org, .biz, .co.uk, etc).

Exploring topical authority

Topical authority is NOT a metric of any kind, but rather is a “content quality framework” that is related to the Google concept of EEAT.

It’s all about how to ensure you publish high quality in-depth informative useful trustworthy, etc, content that helps people.

Key differences between domain authority and topical authority

The wording of this section heading seems simultaneously both reasonable and odd.

Reasonable because it’s not uncommon for people to conflate the two.

Odd because they’re completely different, and the heading above implies if there are differences, there must also be similarities.

I’m thinking the ONE similarity is they both deal with the concept of “authority”.

But whereas domain authority is focused on the relative authority of your site, compared to other websites, topical authority is a publishing framework that focuses on a subset of the entire website and there is no reason a website can not have high topical authority for multiple topics.

Why you need to understand both

Because both matter, but in different ways.

The numeric metric of domain authority is meaningful, and in terms of earning backlinks, the higher the DA of the site linking to yours, the better.

But, without regular and frequent publishing of useful quality content, your site will never obtain a high DA.

So in a very real sense, using the topical authority framework to publish high quality content is the core activity of HOW your site obtains a high DA score.

In closing

While they’re very different things, they both matter greatly, and you need to pay attention to both.

It is also helpful (I think) to consider that in terms of causality, using the topical authority content quality framework is HOW you obtain a high domain authority for your site.

Series Navigation<< What is a topical map for SEO?What is an example of a domain authority? >>

Kevin Carney
Kevin Carney

Kevin "fell into" SEO by accident, like many others. The SaaS platform to help writers boost their topical authority came years later after various SEOs said it was something they would like to see. https://organicgrowth.biz.

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