Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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Numerous business and marketers think that Domain Authority is a big deal.

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

However does a higher Domain Authority in fact lead to much better rankings?

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

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What Is Domain Authority?

To understand whether Domain Authority belongs of the Google algorithm, initially, we must comprehend what Domain Authority is.

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

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

“The domain authority of a site explains how important the site is for a particular targeted subject area [and] significance with regard to … search words.”

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

Domain Authority by Moz is computed utilizing lots of elements, including the number of linking root domains and the total variety of links. The score itself is displayed on a 100-point scale.

It deserves noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has developed a metric for measuring site authority. You will also find that:

  • Ahrefs has an Ahrefs Rank and Domain Score. AR ranks sites in the Ahrefs database by the size and quality of their backlinks, while Domain Rating reveals the strength of a website’s backlink profile compared to others in the Ahrefs database on a 100-point scale.
  • Semrush has an Authority Score that measures the overall quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or website.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Ratings that determine the variety of links a site has and the quality of the website’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect

Many short articles going over Domain Authority describe it as an online search engine ranking rating and suggest it is a good predictor of how well a site will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword phrases.

This can lead some to believe that Domain Authority is a ranking factor for online search engine like Google.

There is even a fascinating Buy Twitter Verification thread in 2020 from the co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, showing internal files from Google, suggesting Google does have a domain authority-like metric.

But continue reading– the proof becomes clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect: The Proof

Moz’s website says its Domain Authority score does not impact Google search results page.

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

In 2015, Gary Illyes, Chief of Sunlight and Joy at Google, was inquired about authority passing from HTTP to HTTPS. His reaction:

“We don’t have “authority”, however signals need to hand down, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes responded to a concern about whether including or removing pages from a site 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, throughout a conversation about linking to image files or web pages for an influence on domain authority, Illyes responded:

“We don’t truly have ‘overall domain authority’. A text relate to anchor text is much better though”

From there, you will discover numerous confirmations from John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google does not use it.

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

“Google doesn’t use ‘domain authority'”

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

Mueller’s response acknowledged that:

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

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

“‘Domain Authority (DA) is an online search engine ranking rating established by Moz’ so exists = yes. Online search engine do not utilize it.”

In 2019, when asked about a site-wide metric similar to Domain Authority on Buy Twitter Verification, Mueller addressed:

“We don’t use domain authority. We typically attempt to have our metrics as granular as possible, often that’s not so easy, in which case we look at things a bit more comprehensive (eg, we’ve spoken about this in regards to a few of the older quality updates).”

Later on that year, a Buy Twitter Verification user asked if a drop in search engine traffic was due to a loss in Domain Authority. Mueller replied:

“We don’t utilize domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d advise beginning a thread in the aid online forum with the details, consisting of the URLs & questions you’re seeing modifications in.”

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

“We don’t utilize domain authority at all in our algorithms.”

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

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

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

Up up until that point, Google representatives 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 answer mean a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.

“I don’t know if I ‘d call it authority like that, however 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 might kind of map into comparable things.”

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

“I’m kinda torn. On the one hand, you do not require DA for Google Browse. Google doesn’t utilize it * at all *. If you ‘d like to level your site up in search, you ‘d require to concentrate on something else, or at least utilize other metrics for it. This is primarily why DA as a metric is frowned upon by many SEOs. For context, I do not think I have actually ever looked up the DA for a website in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

He offered extra guidance on how one could improve a domain’s authority by focusing on a subject with low competitors and producing “… an affordable collection of wonderful content” about that topic.

He highlighted that user signals, not any type of authority rating, would be what moves the needle.

[Suggested Read:] Google Ranking Factors: Truth or Fiction

Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Decision

Domain Authority (DA) by Moz is similar to Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority Score, and Circulation Metric Ratings by Majestic. They are all authority metrics calculated by third-party tools that have no actual result on online search engine rankings.

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

He likewise noted that they do not call anything they do internally “domain authority.”

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

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