Author: Gary Lilley | Date: 20 October 2023

Seo statistics in the legal sector, a comprehensive overview (2023). 

When diving into the world of SEO, you’ll undoubtedly encounter a wide range of abbreviations such as DA, TF, DR, and PR. Navigating this alphabet soup can be overwhelming. In this article, we strive to demystify these terms, providing a clear explanation of each to enhance your SEO understanding.

Pagerank / PR (discontinued) : 

Originally, Google evaluated and ranked websites using the pagerank algorithm. Evident from their patents and original research paper, this method was loosely inspired by the citation scoring system used in academic papers. The fundamental philosophy was simple: a website that receives more links (or citations), sees an increase in its PageRank (PR), subsequently boosting its ranking potential. 

Until December 2013, Google regularly updated their PageRank score, and this information was publicly available for everyone to see. In early 2016, Google stopped displaying PageRank completely. PageRank was the go-to metric for SEOs to get a general idea of how “powerful” a domain was; after Google stopped updating it, many were left looking for alternatives.

There had always been third-party services that scored and ranked domains based on their own internal algorithms. These services became increasingly more important during this period, as SEOs started relying on non-Google services to make sense of a domain’s strength.

The big four 

Four main services have emerged in the past decade as the go-to for many SEOs when it comes to domain statistics: Ahrefs, Moz, Majestic, and Semrush.

Generally speaking, these companies do the same thing as Google: They send out millions of automated robots to crawl the web, taking note of who is receiving links from which websites. They all aim to create their own version of a map of the internet, just like Google has, and rank websites accordingly.

Google might see things differently

It’s critical to acknowledge that these metrics are external interpretations and don’t necessarily reflect how Google or other search engines perceive or rank a website. Google uses a complex algorithm to determine search rankings, the specifics of which are not (fully) publicly disclosed. As such, while the above metrics can serve as useful references for SEO, they should not be viewed as definitive measures of a site’s actual standing or performance in organic search results.

Ahrefs  : Domain Rating (DR)

Domain Rating (DR) is Ahrefs’ attempt at simulating their own PageRank score. In their own words, it is “used to estimate the site’s ‘link popularity’ compared to other websites.

The score is directly related to how many other websites are linking to yours, taking into account the ‘power’ of those domains as well.

It is not uncommon for digital marketing firms to inquire about the DR of a website that will be publishing a PR piece.

Moz : Domain Authority (DA)

Moz has been around for almost two decades at this point, and over the years their DA metric has become a gold standard for understanding a domain’s overall strength. According to Moz,  DA is best understood as “how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs)”. They later further clarify this by stating, “Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating multiple factors, including linking root domains and the total number of links, into a single DA score.

Majestic : Trust flow (TF) and Citation flow (CF)

Majestic SEO is one of the best tools for backlink analysis, and it’s no wonder that they have also built up one of the most comprehensive link databases in the world. When it comes to their flagship metrics, they take a two-pronged approach: Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF).

Citation Flow is generally measured by how many websites are linking to you, including how many websites are linking to them (and so on).

Trust Flow is measured by your website’s ‘distance’ to trusted websites (if you imagine a map of the internet).

A high CF and a low TF could be a sign of many low-quality websites that are linking to you.

Semrush : Authority score (AS)

Although SEMrush is seen as the main alternative to Ahrefs when it comes to SEO research, their Authority Score (AS) metric is the least used in day-to-day SEO activities. In terms of scoring, it is one of the most complex. It not only considers links but also takes additional factors into account.

According to SEMrush, authority score is calculated by : 

  1. Link Power: quality and quantity of backlinks
  2. Organic Traffic: estimated monthly average of traffic 
  3. Spam Factors (Natural Profile): indicators of manipulation or spam in the link profile

Besides the above metrics, which are designed to mimic PageRank, there are additional factors often considered when discussing link placements, PR work, or the buying or selling of domains.

Referring domains (often abbreviated as ref or refdom) 

As the name implies, this metric represents how many other domains are linking to you. It is used in conjunction with the above metrics by many SEO professionals to get a rough idea of a domain’s popularity or power. It goes without saying that quantity doesn’t trump quality. For instance, one link from a major news publication like the BBC will far outweigh hundreds of links from low-quality websites.

Be wary of SEO companies that promise to boost these kinds of metrics, especially referring domains. An abundance of low-quality links can potentially harm your website’s performance in the search results. Google even advises disavowing these links in the google search console. 

If you need assistance acquiring backlinks that will genuinely improve your law firms’ SEO, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

Domain age 

Whether or not domain age is a Google ranking factor has been a point of discussion since Google’s inception.

If the first question is whether or not it actually matters, the second one would be how Google could even measure age.

A Google patent called “Information retrieval based on historical data” provides some insight into this matter. The patent describes various ways of assigning a score to a document based on historical data, including:

  • Information about its inception date.
  • Elapsed time measured from the inception date.
  • The manner and frequency in which the content of the document changes over time.
  • An average time between the changes, the number of changes in a specific time period, and a comparison of the rate of change in the current time period with the rate of change in a previous time period.

The inception date, in this case, most likely refers to the first date that Google discovered or crawled the document.

It seems somewhat unlikely that the age of a domain has a direct impact on how a domain performs in the search results. However, a link from a website that has been online continuously for years is probably more valuable in Google’s eyes than one from a brand-new website.

Top-10 of each metric in our Legal Digital 200

Are you curious about how some of the top UK legal websites fare in terms of domain metrics? An insight into some of the domain metrics in our legal digital 200

Ahrefs Domain Rating : 

Legmark 200 average : 46
Legmark 200 median : 46


Moz Domain Authority 

Legmark 200 average : 42
Legmark 200 median : 41


Majestic TF 

Legmark 200 average : 34
Legmark 200 median : 38


Majestic CF:

Legmark 200 average : 35
Legmark 200 median : 34


Referring domains : 

Legmark 200 average : 1021
Legmark 200 median : 446


Want to see more in depth law statistics? View the digital top-200 or visit our dashboard.