How To Use Ahrefs Domain Rating

Ahrefs Domain Rating (or DR) is one of the most prominent metrics in Ahrefs that you can see in nearly every report we have.

A lot of our customers track fluctuations of their websites’ DR almost religiously and quite often get very nervous if it drops by a few points.

As a result, the vast majority of sites that currently have DR 30–50 will drop to nothing (because, in fact, they don’t deserve to have the “medium” DR that they currently have).

What is Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR)?

Ahrefs Domain Rating is a proprietary Ahrefs’ metric that shows the strength of a target website’s total backlink profile (in terms of its size and quality). DR is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 100, with the latter being the strongest.

Are Ahrefs Domain Rating and Ahrefs Rank connected?

Yes. In fact, they’re almost the same. Ahrefs Rank orders all websites in our database by their “raw” DR values. So you can think of AR as a much more granular DR.

How do you calculate Ahrefs Domain Rating?

To put things simply, we calculate the DRof a given website the following way:

  1. Look at how many unique domains have at least 1 dofollow link to the target website;
  2. Take into account the DR values of those linking domains;
  3. Take into account how many unique domains each of those websites link to;
  4. Apply some math and coding magic to calculate “raw” DR scores;
  5. Plot these scores on a 0–100 scale (which is dynamic in nature and will “stretch” over time).

But the above information might be totally meaningless to you. So let’s reframe it in a much more actionable way:

  • The second, third and subsequent links from the same website will not improve the DR of a target website;
  • The more unique websites a site links to, the less “DR juice” it will transfer to each of them;
  • If the website is only linking to you via nofollow links, it won’t increase your DR;
  • If the linking website gets more backlinks and their DR increases, that will positively affect the DR of each website that they link to (with dofollow links).

Which DR range is considered “bad” or “spammy”?

There’s a lot of uncertainty and mixed opinions in the SEO space on the topic of “bad links.”

Some say that “real-time Penguin” will no longer penalize you for having a bunch of “questionable” links (it will simply ignore them). Others say that you should watch your backlink profile carefully and disavow any link that looks suspicious.

Ahrefs is not an SEO agency and we don’t have any hands-on experience with spammy link building and recoveries. So we can’t really comment on which is the right thing to do.

Ahrefs Domain Rating is NOT a measure of a website’s quality and legitimacy. You cannot rely on this single metric alone in determining if a website is spammy or not.

Does Ahrefs use Domain Rating to prioritize crawling the web?

Yes, Ahrefs Domain Rating is one of the factors that we feed to our own crawler. It helps us decide how many pages of a given website we want to crawl (how “deep” we want to go).