SEMrush recently updated its Authority Score metric. Authority Score (AS), like Moz’s Domain Authority (DA) or Majestic’s Trust Flow (TF), is an attempt to mimic Google’s PageRank scoring model which causes some websites to appear much higher in search results than others. It’s the backbone on which Google search is founded and the reason why it’s a billion-dollar business today. We don’t have access to it so we rely on 3rd party tools like SEMrush to mimic it for us.

So what has changed? From SEMrush themselves:

  • Factoring in organic traffic to better judge a site’s real value
  • Factoring in spam signals to resist manipulation
  • A visualizer in the tool that shows how we calculate the score
  • A Network Graph report that makes it easier to spot Private Blog Networks (PBNs) and signs of natural/unnatural link profiles

The visualizer is really insightful:

Authority Score Visualizer

It’s split into 3 parts: Link Power (the size/quality of the backlink profile), Organic Traffic (does this then actually correlate to rankings/traffic), and is it a Natural Profile (does it programmatically seem as though this link profile is manipulated or fake in any way?). Clearly, all this gives much more insights to domain owners about what strategy they might need to better curate their own off-page SEO.

So almost every domain has had their AS change on SEMrush in January. themselves have even dropped so no claims of bias can be made here: AS following new scoring model Authority Score (AS) following new scoring model rollout in Jan 2023

So what does this mean? Hopefully, SEMrush’s backlink scoring is now more accurate in understanding how domains are weighted from Google’s perspective. To provide some clarity here I ran some analysis of a random set of top domains (definitely random, not my most visited list of websites) from various places and called out the biggest winners and losers since the change.

Biggest Winners

Biggest Winners from SEMrush Authority Score change
Biggest Winners from SEMrush Authority Score (AS) change

The biggest winners from a random list of top authority domains. If any trends can be derived it seems like well-established online brands have seen their AS increase.

 Biggest Losers

Biggest Losers from SEMrush Authority Score (AS) Change
Biggest Losers from SEMrush Authority Score (AS) Change

The biggest losers definitely comprise some more esoteric or select domains. There are a few examples of adult sites that have suffered as well as blogging ( and advertising platforms (like

SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz are all on the biggest losers list interestingly. There certainly can’t be a claim that there’s bias in the model.


Authority Score is the single most useful metric to define the quality of the backlink profile of a domain. This indicates its ranking potential and the value of a link from that domain to your site. The new metrics provided by SEMrush for quantifying this provide more clarity for domains to ensure their backlink profile is natural and traffic yields correlate to the backlinks acquired. This change will be a positive one for anyone using SEMrush data for their campaigns.

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