Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Element?

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

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

However does a greater 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 factor.

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What Is Domain Authority?

To comprehend whether Domain Authority is a part 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 general definition of domain authority is as follows:

“The domain authority of a site explains how crucial the site is for a specific targeted subject area [and] importance with regard 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 site is to rank in online search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is determined using lots of factors, including the number of linking root domains and the total number of links. The score itself is shown on a 100-point scale.

It’s worth noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has actually developed a metric for determining website authority. You will likewise 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 Ranking 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 Rating that measures the total quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Ratings that determine the variety of links a website has and the quality of the website’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect

Lots of articles talking about Domain Authority refer to it as a search engine ranking rating and recommend it is a good predictor of how well a website will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword expressions.

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

There is even a fascinating Buy Twitter Verified 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 Factor: The Evidence

Moz’s website states its Domain Authority score does not effect Google search results.

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

In 2015, Gary Illyes, Chief of Sunshine and Joy at Google, was asked about authority passing from HTTP to HTTPS. His response:

“We don’t have “authority”, but signals should hand down, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes responded to a concern about whether adding or getting rid of pages from a website affected its domain authority.

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

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

“We do not actually have ‘total domain authority’. A text link with anchor text is much better though”

From there, you will find many confirmations from John Mueller, Browse Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google doesn’t utilize 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:

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

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

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

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

“We do not use domain authority. We typically try to have our metrics as granular as possible, often that’s not so easy, in which case we look at things a bit broader (eg, we have actually talked about this in concerns to some of the older quality updates).”

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

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

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

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

A couple of months later on, Mueller was asked how essential Domain Authority was to crawling web pages faster on Buy Twitter Verified.

“Just to be clear, Google does not use 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 response mean 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 some of those site-wide level metrics may type of map into similar things.”

In 2022, Mueller answered another question about Domain Authority on Reddit. The concern was how to increase a website 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 website up in search, you ‘d need to focus on something else, or at least use other metrics for it. This is mostly why DA as a metric is discredited by lots of SEOs. For context, I do not think I have actually ever searched for the DA for a site in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

He used additional suggestions on how one could enhance a domain’s authority by concentrating on a subject with low competitors and developing “… a reasonable collection of wonderful content” about that subject.

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

[Recommended Read:] Google Ranking Factors: Fact or Fiction

Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Verdict

Domain Authority (DA) by Moz resembles Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority Score, and Flow Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics calculated by third-party tools that have no real impact on search engine rankings.

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

He likewise 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.

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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