Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Aspect?

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

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

But does a higher Domain Authority actually result in 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 is a part of the Google algorithm, initially, we should comprehend what Domain Authority is.

First, there is domain authority– the principle– 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 site explains how important the site is for a specific targeted discipline [and] relevance with respect to … search words.”

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

Domain Authority by Moz is computed using dozens of elements, consisting of the number of linking root domains and the overall variety of links. Ball game itself is shown on a 100-point scale.

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

  • Ahrefs has an Ahrefs Rank and Domain Rating. AR ranks sites in the Ahrefs database by the size and quality of their backlinks, while Domain Ranking 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 Rating that determines the overall quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Flow Metric Scores that measure the number of links a site has and the quality of the site’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect

Many posts talking about Domain Authority describe it as a search engine ranking rating and recommend it is an excellent predictor of how well a site will carry out in SERPs for targeted keyword phrases.

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

There is even an interesting Twitter thread in 2020 from the co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, revealing internal files 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 Element: The Evidence

Moz’s website states its Domain Authority score does not impact Google search engine result.

“Domain Authority is not a Google ranking element and has no result 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 must hand down, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes responded to a question about whether adding or eliminating pages from a site impacted its domain authority.

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

A few weeks later, throughout a discussion about connecting to image files or websites for an influence on domain authority, Illyes replied:

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

From there, you will find lots of verifications from John Mueller, Browse Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google doesn’t use it.

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

“Google doesn’t utilize ‘domain authority'”

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

Mueller’s reaction acknowledged that:

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

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

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

In 2019, when inquired about a site-wide metric similar to Domain Authority on Twitter, Mueller answered:

“We do not use domain authority. We generally try to have our metrics as granular as possible, in some cases that’s not so easy, in which case we look at things a bit more comprehensive (eg, we’ve discussed this in concerns to a few of the older quality updates).”

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

“We don’t use domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO business. I ‘d suggest beginning a thread in the aid forum with the details, including the URLs & inquiries you’re seeing modifications in.”

In 2020, Mueller received another question about domain authority. This time, someone asked if backlinks from high domain authority websites matter in website rankings. His action:

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

A couple of months later, Mueller was asked how essential Domain Authority was to crawling webpages quicker on Twitter.

“Just to be clear, Google doesn’t 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 discuss it.”

Up up until that point, Google agents seem clear that there is no use of Domain Authority. Nevertheless, in a late 2020 interview with SearchLove, Mueller was quizzed on whether Google had a domain authority-like metric.

Unlike the ones before, 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 website level, some metrics that are more on a page level, and a few of those site-wide level metrics might sort of map into similar things.”

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

“I’m kinda torn. On the one hand, you do not need DA for Google Search. Google doesn’t use it * at all *. If you ‘d like 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 frowned upon by lots of SEOs. For context, I do not believe I have actually ever searched for the DA for a site in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

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

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

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Verdict

Domain Authority (DA) by Moz resembles Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority

Rating, and Flow Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics computed by third-party tools that have no real effect on online search engine rankings.

While Mueller once suggested that Google has metrics that map into similar things as Domain Authority, he has actually repeatedly rejected using Domain Authority by Moz on Twitter and Reddit.

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

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

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel