Is a site with a lower Domain Rating worth working with


Hi, guys, and welcome to another edition of Zupo SEO Talk & Tea. 

Today's conversation: is a site with a lower domain rating still worth working with? Now that's a mouthful. It's three Ws in a row. But again, is a site with lower domain rating still worth working with?

The reason why this is important is because when it comes to link-building, oftentimes you have many different sites that you can work with, and oftentimes people really care about the top tier domains, because of course they have high domain ratings and they'll be sending you really strong links. But the other consideration is what if a site has a lower domain rating than you. Is it worth actually working with them?

I will answer that question today, but I want to introduce the tea we have today first. Today we have a smoked oolong that I don't know very much about. All I know is that this was a gift from my clan, essentially. So my dad and his father wanted to go back to China. We haven't been since, like, six or seven generations removed. But they wanted to go back to China to reconnect with our ancestor or our family's clan and meet the family who are still in China till this day.

And so when they met the family, the family gifted my father this tea, and so we're going to have this very special guest. This tea is... I can tell it's a pretty smoked oolong, and that's something that's has a very smokey taste when you're brewing it, so I tend to like to have it when I want something a little bit more smokey, and that usually can happen when it's a little bit colder. But I'm going to go ahead and start getting this brewed, and let's get chatting.

So generally the case is, when you are doing link-building, the general rule of thumb is you want to work with sites that have a stronger domain rating than yours or domain authority than yours, and that's because if you're trying to link build, you want to make sure that you're getting links from sites that are stronger than you so then when they're passing equity, your site will actually gain something from those links.

Now, that's a pretty common rule of thumb, and I actually used to follow that pretty strictly, but actually over the years, I have tapered off from that rule, and not because I've been lazy or anything like that. But my main reason is because, yes, it is, if I have a choice, I'm always going to work with a site that has a higher domain rating, but there are great opportunities I have found with websites that may have a lower domain rating, but there are occasions where link-building with them does make sense.

Now, let me give you the first reason why it still makes sense. Number one, and the obvious reason, is a link is a link. A referring domain's a referring domain. If you can acquire one, go acquire one, right? So I wouldn't turn down a link or referring domain just because they have a lower domain rating. That would be, I don't want to say foolish, but I think you may be wasting opportunities by doing that.

There are many campaigns that I have run where if I didn't take links from lower domain ratings, we would have lost more than half the links and referring domains. And this is more apparent in cases like if you're doing a resource link-building campaign.

So for example, during the COVID-19 period when the stay at home order first started, some of my clients were running these campaigns where they were offering free services to companies, and a lot of these publications or websites were publishing and saying, hey, this company is offering services. Some of those websites were weaker than us, but we still got lots of links because of that effort, right? And so that's one of those obvious cases where a link is a link, a referring domain's a referring domain. If you can acquire it, acquire it.

Of course there is a line. If it looks spammy, don't go there, or if it's really low and it all looks spammy, then don't do that. But if your domain rating's out of 30 and the other site's out of 25, just take it, you know what I mean? There's no point in not taking it.

Now, the second reason. Oh my God, I forgot to pour this out. See, I get so into this conversation I always forget to pour it out.

The second reason is also the strategic use of UR. So in another video, I have defined what UR is, but again, UR is URL rating, and every site has a domain rating, but each page has a URL rating. And what can often happen is that even though a site has a high domain rating, only a handful of their pages actually have a strong URL rating.

So what this all means is sometimes you can be working with a site, and their site might have a lower domain rating than yours, but the link that you can acquire from them might have a really high UR. And when it comes to link-building for your own website, if you can get links with high URs to your pages, that's a huge plus, because getting high UR pages can be quite difficult. Oftentimes they're really only homepages or really strong, powerful articles, right? So saying that, if you can get a high UR link from a lower domain rating, then you might as well, and you should, right?

So a good example is you might have clients or friends who have homepages where they partner with your company, and on their homepage, they say that we partner with your company, essentially. They had the logo of your company. That would be a great place to add a link to your website, and then even though your friend's company might have a lower domain rating, their UR on their homepage is probably really high. URs on homepages are typically very strong. And if you can acquire... It's not the domain rating that's important at that point. It's the UR, the URL rating.

So this, again, is when it gets a little bit minute and really granular, but oftentimes it's hard to drive links to specific pages of your website. And so when you're trying to really grow your SEO and you're trying to drive links not only to your homepage, but to different blog articles and service pages, links that essentially you can drive to specific pages and get high URs, or even if they're not high URs, but you can get a lower domain rating site to link to a specific page that you've been desperately trying to get links to, it's still worth it.

So I guess the best way for me to put this, kind of end this conversation, is that lower domain ratings does not mean it's an automatic no. How I always do it is my number one priority is to work with sites that have a higher domain rating, but if I also have sites that have lower domain ratings that are interested in working with us and we can get some links from them, I will use them for other strategic purposes.

It might be, oh, hey, this company, they're offering us a link on a very high UR page. It might be their homepage or their guide page. Yeah, we'll work with them. Or two, even though they have a low DR and they have a lower UR, we can still gain value because we've been trying to drive links to these specific sections of the website, and we've just been having a hard time getting links there. Maybe they can kind of help us get the ball rolling, right?

So I would say the general rule of thumb is yeah, get a link from a high domain rating site. But how I would encourage people to think about it is as you go about your day with SEO, don't completely reject people who are lower than yours, but just use them in a different capacity, and that there are still value in using them and you don't want to turn them away.

So, like I said, are there pages that you're trying to link to that you've been having struggle with? Maybe a lower domain rating site can help you. Can you get a high UR link from a lower domain rating site? It's very possible. Go look into that. And then that way you can still maximize every link-building opportunity that you have.

So hopefully that was helpful in really opening up the link-building conversation and how to maximize every opportunity. Again, the rule of thumb is yes, you're going to get more value from sites with higher domain ratings. But again, I wouldn't turn down so many opportunities from sites that have lower domain ratings because they can be of extreme value to you in other places.

I'm going to go ahead and pour my tea, guys. If you guys found the video valuable, please like and subscribe, and hope to see you guys again soon. Thanks, everybody.

Jason Khoo

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.