Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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Lots of companies and online marketers believe that Domain Authority is a big offer.

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

But does a greater Domain Authority in fact result in better rankings?

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

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What Is Domain Authority?

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

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

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

“The domain authority of a site describes how crucial the website is for a specific targeted subject area [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 rating established by Moz that forecasts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is determined using lots of factors, including the variety of linking root domains and the overall variety of links. The score itself is displayed 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 likewise find 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 website’s backlink profile compared to others in the Ahrefs database on a 100-point scale.
  • Semrush has an Authority Rating that measures the overall quality and SEO performance of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Scores that determine the number of links a website has and the quality of the site’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect

Many short articles discussing Domain Authority refer to it as an online search engine ranking rating and recommend it is a great predictor of how well a website 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, suggesting 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 Proof

Moz’s website says its Domain Authority rating does not impact 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 Joy at Google, was asked about authority passing from HTTP to HTTPS. His response:

“We do not have “authority”, however signals ought to hand down, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes addressed a question about whether including or removing pages from a website affected its domain authority.

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

A couple of weeks later on, throughout a conversation about linking to image files or webpages for an effect on domain authority, Illyes responded:

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

From there, you will discover lots of verifications from John Mueller, Search Supporter 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 higher authority.

“Google does not use ‘domain authority'”

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

Mueller’s reaction acknowledged that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We do not utilize domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d recommend beginning a thread in the assistance online forum with the information, consisting of the URLs & questions you’re seeing modifications in.”

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

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

A few months later on, Mueller was asked how important Domain Authority was to crawling webpages quicker on Twitter.

“Simply to be clear, Google does not use Domain Authority * at all * when it pertains to Browse crawling, indexing, or ranking. This is quite clear on their website.

We do, nevertheless, index tweets that discuss it.”

Up till that point, Google representatives seem 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 before, this response mean a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.

“I do not know 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 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 does not utilize it * at all *. If you want to level your site up in search, you ‘d require to focus on something else, or a minimum of utilize other metrics for it. This is primarily why DA as a metric is frowned upon by numerous SEOs. For context, I do not think I’ve ever searched for the DA for a website in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

He used extra guidance on how one might enhance a domain’s authority by focusing on a topic with low competition and producing “… an affordable collection of great content” about that topic.

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

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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 Ratings by Majestic. They are all authority metrics calculated by third-party tools that have no real impact on search engine rankings.

While Mueller as soon as recommended that Google has metrics that map into comparable things as Domain Authority, he has actually repeatedly denied the use of Domain Authority by Moz on Twitter and Reddit.

He also noted that they don’t call anything they do internally “domain authority.”

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

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel