Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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

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

However does a greater Domain Authority actually lead to 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 is a part of the Google algorithm, initially, we must understand what Domain Authority is.

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

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

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

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

Domain Authority by Moz is computed utilizing lots of factors, including the number of connecting root domains and the total 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 actually developed a metric for determining website authority. You will likewise find 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 measures the total quality and SEO performance of a domain or website.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Scores that measure the variety of links a site has and the quality of the site’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Element

Numerous articles talking about Domain Authority refer to it as an online search engine ranking score and suggest it is an excellent predictor of how well a website will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword phrases.

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

There is even an intriguing Twitter 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.

However continue reading– the proof becomes clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Element: The Proof

Moz’s site states its Domain Authority score does not impact Google search results.

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

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

“We do not have “authority”, but signals should hand down, yes.”

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

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

A few weeks later on, during a discussion about linking to image files or web pages for an effect on domain authority, Illyes responded:

“We do not truly have ‘overall domain authority’. A text relate to anchor text is better though”

From there, you will discover numerous verifications from John Mueller, Search Supporter at Google, that Domain Authority exists but that Google does not utilize it.

In December 2016, Mueller reacted to a comment about a desktop domain having higher 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 that year, when asked on Twitter if Domain Authority existed– again– Mueller reacted:

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

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

“We do not utilize domain authority. We normally try 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 wider (eg, we’ve discussed this in regards to some of the older quality updates).”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Up until that point, Google agents seem clear that there is no use 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 don’t 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 some 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 concern 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 does not utilize it * at all *. If you ‘d like to level your site up in search, you ‘d require to focus on something else, or at least use other metrics for it. This is mostly why DA as a metric is discredited by numerous SEOs. For context, I do not think I have actually ever looked up the DA for a website in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

He used extra recommendations on how one might improve a domain’s authority by focusing on a topic with low competitors and producing “… a sensible collection of fantastic content” about that subject.

He highlighted that user signals, not any type 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 resembles Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority

Rating, and Circulation Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics determined by third-party tools that have no actual result on online 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 using Domain Authority by Moz on Twitter and Reddit.

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

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

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel