What is DR and UR in Ahrefs?

Domain Rating (DR) and URL Rating (UR) are the metrics Ahrefs uses to rate the backlink profile of a website.  DR is a measure of the quantity and quality of the backlinks going to an entire domain, while UR rates the backlinks going to a specific page.  While these metrics are useful, it is important to remember that websites do not rank solely because of their backlinks, and sometimes even a high ranking will not turn into traffic.

How is DR Calculated?

According to Ahrefs’ own website:

To put things simply, we calculate the DR of 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).

I can also add that from personal experience, Ahrefs indexes far more links than Moz, and a bit more than Majestic, so the numbers that you are getting for DR are probably a more reliable indicator of the strength of a site’s backlink profile than any other tool.  At the same time, it is clear that the above calculation of DR is way simpler than the algorithm that Google uses to determine rank.  This is why you cannot rely on DR to determine whether a site is going to help you to rank.

Wil Reynolds recently illustrated this through an anecdote from a few years back:

Here both he and Rand speculate that the reason that the link from the NY Times did not help the site to rank was the impact of spam from other sites, but they fail to take into consideration the user history of the sites that were already ranking.  In other words, the sites that were previously ranking had been successfully fulfilling user needs (I want a product, I search, click on this product, and don’t go back to Google).  In the eyes of Google, these sites were already filling the need of the searchers; it would make sense that a link from the New York Times wouldn’t necessarily make the algorithm change its mind about its results.

How is UR calculated?

Ahrefs explains its calculation here. In a nutshell, this number is rating the backlink profile of that page and not the entire domain.

I can tell you that there is definitely a correlation between a site’s rank and its UR, but thinking that you need to “raise your UR” in order to rank your site is flawed thinking.  As you can see in this screenshot of sites ranking for “web design companies in south jersey,” there is little correlation:

what is ur in ahrefs

The UR of these sites is all over the place as you go down the rankings.

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