Introduction to Brand Authority: Measuring the Immeasurable

We are all aware of the power of brands, but all too often the value of brand building is reduced to hand gestures and wishful thinking. Today Moz makes the power of a brand measurable.

Starting today, you’ll find something new in our domain survey tool: a brand authorityTM Score for your domain (or any domain you want to analyze):

Screenshot of the Moz domain survey tool showing the Brand Authority Score for a website

You’ll also see a new visualization—a four-quadrant grid—that compares your brand authority and domain authority to that of your closest online competitors. Here’s an example for electric car maker Lucid Motors:

Screenshot comparing your Brand Authority and Domain Authority Score to that of your competitors in a four-quadrant grid

It’s easy to see how Lucid compares to its closest search competitors and where more authority may need to be built. Last but not least, we are introducing a new API endpoint (for now) to allow API customers to access Brand Authority directly.

What is brand authority?

Brand Authority is a (1-100) score developed by Moz that measures the overall brand strength of a domain. While Domain Authority measures your ability to rank in search engines, Brand Authority measures your broader influence across all marketing channels.

Why Brand Authority?

We know brands matter, online and in the world. We recognize the impact brands have on search results, although the details of that impact are difficult to pinpoint. Consider this figure from Google’s Quality Rating Guidelines:

Screenshot comparing your Brand Authority and Domain Authority Score to that of your competitors in a four-quadrant grid

If someone searches “Apple” in 2023, Google knows they are likely referring to the Apple company (i.e., the “dominant interpretation” or “dominant intent”). Even if didn’t get their SEO quite right or didn’t build enough link equity, people expect it to come first.

We also know that Google understands real-world entities and attempts to represent them in search, which may include Knowledge Graph results and other rich search result features. Google’s job is to model the real world, and brands are a big part of that world.

The problem is that while we all intuitively understand what a “brand” is and have our own ideas about which brands are important, we often rely on hand gestures to measure brand strength. At best, we are limited by our own prejudices and influences.

How does it all work?

If someone goes to Google and searches for “Apple”, “Apple Store” or “Apple Customer Service”, they already know and are familiar with the Apple brand. When they search for terms like “iPad,” “MacBook,” or “AirPods Pro,” they’re also influenced by the Apple brand, even though they’ve never used the word “Apple.”

Brand Authority leverages two core strengths of Moz: (1) our deep knowledge of search results and extensive search capabilities, and (2) our extensive database of search volume information. Google’s rich search results and brand signals allow us to recognize a variety of branded terms to understand how often people search for that brand and calculate a score.

What can you do with it?

Anytime you want to associate a website with a brand and understand its broader influence, you can use Brand Authority. Key use cases include:

(1) Strength and gap analysis

Brand Authority can help you better understand your strength as a brand and identify opportunities for improvement. Over-optimizing your website could lead to declining revenue (and poor ROI) if no one knows who you are. On the other hand, if you’re a better known brand but are lagging behind online, investing in your SEO and content efforts might make a lot more sense than more offline advertising.

(2) Evaluation of brand value/potential

From sales prospects to M&A targets to reputation management clients, Brand Authority allows you to measure the overall strength and influence of a brand and determine if it’s a good opportunity for you. Many underperforming websites might be built by solid brands with ample growth potential, while some seemingly strong websites might be built around virtually unknown companies, creating challenges for broader marketing efforts.

(3) Impact measurement of digital PR

While everyone hopes to garner authority-giving links through their digital PR efforts, a big part of the PR game is getting the mentions themselves viral. Brand Authority provides PR agencies with a quick and easy way to measure the broader impact of PR campaigns Illustrate by measuring the actual word-of-mouth influence of the brands that pick up on your stories.

By fleshing out the concept of a brand, we hope Brand Authority will open up new opportunities for marketers, even beyond SEO. We look forward to seeing how you use Brand Authority as the metrics and tools evolve, and we’d love to hear your stories.

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