Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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Lots of business and online marketers think that Domain Authority is a huge offer.

There are guides everywhere about how you can improve your site’s Domain Authority for better rankings in search results page.

But does a higher Domain Authority really lead to better rankings?

In this chapter, we will explore what Domain Authority is and the evidence regarding whether it is a Google ranking aspect.

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What Is Domain Authority?

To comprehend whether Domain Authority is a part of the Google algorithm, first, we must comprehend what Domain Authority is.

First, there is domain authority– the concept– and Domain Authority (DA), the metric by Moz.

As VentureSkies explains it, the basic meaning of domain authority is as follows:

“The domain authority of a website explains how crucial the site is for a specific targeted discipline [and] importance with regard to … search words.”

Then, there’s Moz’s Domain Authority or DA rating, which defines the metric as “… an online search engine ranking rating developed by Moz that forecasts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is determined using dozens of elements, consisting of the variety of connecting root domains and the overall number of links. The score itself is shown on a 100-point scale.

It deserves keeping in mind that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has actually established a metric for measuring site authority. You will also discover that:

  • Ahrefs has an Ahrefs Rank and Domain Ranking. AR ranks websites in the Ahrefs database by the size and quality of their backlinks, while Domain Score shows the strength of a site’s backlink profile compared to others in the Ahrefs database on a 100-point scale.
  • Semrush has an Authority Score that determines the overall quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or website.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Scores that determine the number of links a site has and the quality of the site’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Element

Many short articles going over Domain Authority describe it as an online search engine ranking rating and recommend it is an excellent predictor of how well a website will carry out in SERPs for targeted keyword expressions.

This can lead some to believe that Domain Authority is a ranking aspect for search engines like Google.

There is even an interesting Buy Twitter Verification thread in 2020 from the co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, revealing internal documents from Google, recommending Google does have a domain authority-like metric.

However continue reading– the evidence ends up being clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect: The Proof

Moz’s site states its Domain Authority rating does not effect Google search results.

“Domain Authority is not a Google ranking factor and has no result on the SERPs.”

In 2015, Gary Illyes, Chief of Sunlight and Happiness at Google, was asked about authority passing from HTTP to HTTPS. His action:

“We do not have “authority”, however signals should pass on, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes responded to a concern about whether including or removing pages from a website impacted its domain authority.

“so, my issue is that I do not understand of anything in ranking that would equate to “domain authority”, so can’t address”

A couple of weeks later on, during a conversation about linking to image files or webpages for an impact on domain authority, Illyes replied:

“We don’t actually have ‘general domain authority’. A text link with anchor text is better though”

From there, you will discover many confirmations from John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists but that Google doesn’t use it.

In December 2016, Mueller responded to a remark about a desktop domain having greater authority.

“Google doesn’t use ‘domain authority'”

In 2018, someone asked if Domain Authority existed on a Reddit AMA with Mueller.

Mueller’s response acknowledged that:

“Naturally it exists, it’s a tool by Moz.”

Later that year, when asked on Buy Twitter Verification if Domain Authority existed– again– Mueller responded:

“‘Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking rating developed by Moz’ so exists = yes. Search engines don’t utilize it.”

In 2019, when inquired about a site-wide metric comparable to Domain Authority on Buy Twitter Verification, Mueller responded to:

“We do not utilize domain authority. We typically attempt to have our metrics as granular as possible, sometimes that’s not so easy, in which case we take a look at things a bit broader (eg, we’ve spoken about this in regards to some of the older quality updates).”

Later that year, a Buy Twitter Verification user asked if a drop in online search engine traffic was because of a loss in Domain Authority. Mueller responded:

“We do not use domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d recommend starting a thread in the help forum with the details, consisting of the URLs & queries you’re seeing changes in.”

In 2020, Mueller received another concern about domain authority. This time, somebody asked if backlinks from high domain authority sites matter in site rankings. His response:

“We do not utilize domain authority at all in our algorithms.”

A couple of months later on, Mueller was asked how important Domain Authority was to crawling websites much faster on Buy Twitter Verification.

“Just to be clear, Google does not utilize Domain Authority * at all * when it pertains to Search crawling, indexing, or ranking. This is pretty clear on their site.

We do, however, index tweets that talk about it.”

Up till that point, Google agents appear clear that there is no usage of Domain Authority. However, in a late 2020 interview with SearchLove, Mueller was quizzed on whether Google had a domain authority-like metric.

Unlike the ones prior to, this response hints at a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.

“I don’t understand if I ‘d call it authority like that, but we do have some metrics that are more on a site level, some metrics that are more on a page level, and a few of those site-wide level metrics may kind of map into comparable things.”

In 2022, Mueller responded to another concern about Domain Authority on Reddit. The question was how to increase a site with a Domain Authority of 31. Mueller responded to:

“I’m kinda torn. On the one hand, you do not need DA for Google Search. Google doesn’t utilize it * at all *. If you wish to level your site up in search, you ‘d need to focus on something else, or at least utilize other metrics for it. This is mainly why DA as a metric is discredited by lots of SEOs. For context, I do not believe I’ve ever looked up the DA for a site in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

He provided extra recommendations on how one could enhance a domain’s authority by focusing on a subject with low competitors and producing “… a sensible collection of wonderful material” about that topic.

He stressed that user signals, not any sort of authority score, would be what moves the needle.

[Advised Read:] Google Ranking Elements: Fact or Fiction

Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Verdict

Domain Authority (DA) by Moz is similar to Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority Rating, and Flow Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics determined by third-party tools that have no real result on search engine rankings.

While Mueller when recommended that Google has metrics that map into similar things as Domain Authority, he has actually repeatedly rejected making use of Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verification and Reddit.

He also kept in mind that they do not call anything they do internally “domain authority.”

For that reason, we can conclude that Domain Authority is absolutely not a ranking factor.

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