Ahrefs Domain Rating

ahrefs domain rating


Ahrefs is one of the most well-known companies in the world of backlink and keyword research. Their all-in-one SEO toolset features a small, but powerful collection of about five tools which were created to help even the most novice of webmasters obtain high rankings in major search engines. The company is based out of Singapore and launched their first version of Site Explorer back in 2010. Since then, Ahrefs has steadily grown and their crawler now processes up to 8 billion pages a day. According to the companies website, that’s more than a third of what Googlebot does! Webmasters, digital marketers and SEO experts utilize the tools offered by Ahrefs to research competitor backlinks and keyword rankings, discover new keyword and keyphrase ideas, scan their website or blog for possible SEO issues, monitor their search engine rankings, and research new content ideas. Together, all of these tools have helped thousands of individuals and businesses grow in both popularity and revenue. Along with its toolset, Ahrefs also offers free learning materials that you can reference to learn more about search engine optimization in general, as well as how to become a master at using the tools they offer.


Ahrefs Domain Rating shows the strength of a website’s backlink profile when compared to other sites listed in their database on a 100-point scale. Essentially, the domain rating is a less granular version of Ahrefs Rank. The score is calculated based on the number of links pointing to the domain, along with the quality of those links. The source domain splits its rating equally amongst the domains it links to. For example, a website holding a Domain Rating of 10 which links to only three other domains can influence your DR more than a website holding a Domain Rating of 80 which links to a million other domains. After repeating these calculations, Ahrefs gets a specific rating between 0 and 100 for each domain. Remember, these ratings are determined using the companies own algorithm and their own database. It’s also worth noting that Ahrefs uses a logarithmic scale. This means the gap between DR 77-78 is much bigger than the gap between 27-28. Basically, the higher your Domain Rating gets, the more challenging it will be to grow it by another couple of points.

The term Domain Rating is a relative term in the sense that it’s dependent on not just the total number of high-DR websites that link to you, but also on how many other websites these high-DR sites link to. Although the Domain Rating metric does correlate with Google rankings fairly accurately, it doesn’t do this as well as the Ahrefs URL Rating (UR). With that in mind, you should consider the Domain Rating metric as one that’s ideal for selecting websites to build links from. Overall, you should aim to get backlinks from high-DR websites because they carry more “weight” which will likely give your search engine rankings a boost.

The highest domain rating you can have is 100 and the lowest is 0. You should be aiming for a rating of 100.


Ahrefs Domain Rating is often used as a filter for finding domains with existing backlinks. The metric is determined by assessing the relative link popularity of a given domain name. Expired domains with high “link popularity” are often more valuable (and likely receive more existing traffic) than those with a low popularity. Domainers use Domain Rating and other pieces of the Ahrefs toolset to perform in-depth research and analysis of backlink profiles. Metrics like Domain Rating make it quick and simple to see if a specific domain might have some existing backlinks or SEO rankings attached to it. Those with a low Domain Rating won’t have many incoming links, which means they also probably have very little or zero existing traffic and search engine rankings.

If a domain shows a low rating, it doesn’t necessarily mean that is has no traffic or search engine rankings. It simply means that Ahrefs does not see many other websites linking to it from inside their database. Domains can have a low Domain Rating and still receive type-in traffic and traffic from small keyphrases in Google which do not require high link popularity to rank for. Anyone purchasing expired domains with the sole purpose of getting referral traffic (traffic from links on other websites) will always want to check its Ahrefs Domain Rating. If the number is high, that means the domain has several websites linking to it and it probably has some existing traffic and potentially some existing search engine rankings as well.


Ahrefs paid tools can be accessed by logging in to your account at their website. The company also offers a Free Domain Rating Checker available here. Ahrefs does offer a seven day trial period for $7, but after that you will need to pay for a monthly subscription to access the paid tools.

Ahrefs data is also available via an API.

One simple web request can display Ahrefs data for your desired domain, including backlinks, anchor text, referring pages, and referring domains (requires your own, working Ahrefs API key):


The Ahrefs API offers a quick way to bulk check backlink data on thousands of domains, but the pricing can be expensive. A standard API package costs $500/month and an Agency level account comes with a cost of $10,000/month.


The toolset that Ahrefs offers makes them a top choice for both businesses and individuals because they can perform all of their domain and backlink research from just one place. Domain Rating scores are determined using Ahrefs own algorithm and database which makes it extremely hard to manipulate with limited amounts of downtime. It can’t be faked with bots or toolbars, but users should consider doing further due diligence to make sure the backlinks pointing into a desired domain name are not spammy. If someone has tried to cheat the Ahrefs system with spammy backlinks then you will notice a large number of incoming links, but a low Domain Rating because the incoming links are spammy and do not carry much weight. On the other hand, if you find a domain with lots of incoming links and a large Domain Rating, it’s likely a good quality domain and not spam.


To go along with their 7-Day trial plan for only $7, Ahrefs also offers four different pricing plans depending on your needs. The smallest plan is their Lite package which costs $99/month. Next is the Standard package which costs $179/month followed by the Advanced package for $399/month. Finally, the company offers an Agency package which is their largest, costing $999/Month. All packages have access to the same tools, but there are daily/weekly/monthly limits depending on which package you have. For example, the Lite package is limited to only 175 domain lookups in Site Explorer each week, while the Standard allows for 700, the Advanced allows for 1,750 and the Agency allows 7,000. Customers wanting access to the Ahrefs API will need to purchase a separate API package and have three to choose from. The API Standard package has a cost of $500/Month and includes 500,000 API rows. The API Plus package has a cost of $2,000/Month and includes 5,000,000 API rows. Finally, the API Premium package has a cost of $10,000/Month and includes 30,000,000 API rows.

How Is It Calculated

Ahrefs created their own database which stores the websites they crawl, and Domain Rating is determined by the number of links a domain has pointing into it from websites within that database. To make things simple, Domain Rating is essentially calculated the following way:

1) Looks at how many unique domains have at least 1 dofollow link to the domain.
2) Takes into account the Domain Rating values of those linking domains.
3) Takes into account how many unique domains each of those websites link to.
4) Applies a mathematical algorithm and coding magic to calculate “raw” DR scores.
5) Plots the scores on a dynamic 0-100 scale which “stretches” over time.

The above information might still sound a little confusing. So, here’s an explanation in a more actionable way:

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

Similar Metrics

There is one excellent alternative to Domain Rating which is MOZ Rank. The MOZ Rank SEO metric also focuses specifically on backlink data and how much link popularity a particular domain has.