Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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Many companies and marketers think that Domain Authority is a big deal.

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

However does a greater Domain Authority in fact lead to 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 must comprehend what Domain Authority is.

First, 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 crucial 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 specifies the metric as “… a search engine ranking rating established by Moz that forecasts how likely a website is to rank in online search engine result pages (SERPs).”

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

It deserves keeping in mind that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has actually developed a metric for determining website authority. You will also 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 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 Score that determines the overall quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or website.
  • Majestic has Flow Metric Ratings that measure the number of links a site has and the quality of the site’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Element

Lots of posts talking about Domain Authority describe it as an online search engine ranking score and recommend it is a good predictor of how well a website will carry out in SERPs for targeted keyword expressions.

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

There is even an intriguing Buy Twitter Verification Badge 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.

But continue reading– the evidence becomes clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Element: The Evidence

Moz’s website says its Domain Authority rating does not effect Google search results.

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

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

“We don’t have “authority”, however signals ought to pass on, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes addressed a question about whether including or getting rid of 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 few weeks later on, throughout a conversation about connecting to image files or webpages for an influence on domain authority, Illyes replied:

“We don’t really have ‘total domain authority’. A text link with anchor text is much better though”

From there, you will find many confirmations from John Mueller, Search Supporter at Google, that Domain Authority exists but that Google doesn’t utilize it.

In December 2016, Mueller responded to a remark about a desktop domain having higher authority.

“Google does not use ‘domain authority'”

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

Mueller’s response acknowledged that:

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

Later on that year, when asked on Buy Twitter Verification Badge 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 don’t use it.”

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

“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 have actually talked about this in regards to some of the older quality updates).”

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

“We do not use domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d suggest beginning a thread in the help online forum with the details, consisting of the URLs & queries 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 action:

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

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

“Simply to be clear, Google doesn’t use Domain Authority * at all * when it concerns Search crawling, indexing, or ranking. This is pretty clear on their website.

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

Up until that point, Google representatives appear clear that there is no usage 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, however 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 type of map into comparable things.”

In 2022, Mueller addressed another question about Domain Authority on Reddit. The question 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 Browse. Google doesn’t use it * at all *. If you want to level your site up in search, you ‘d require to focus on something else, or at least utilize other metrics for it. This is primarily why DA as a metric is discredited by numerous SEOs. For context, I do not believe I’ve ever looked up the DA for a site in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

He offered additional suggestions on how one could enhance a domain’s authority by concentrating on a subject with low competition and producing “… an affordable collection of fantastic content” about that subject.

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

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

Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Verdict

Domain Authority (DA) by Moz is similar to Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority

Score, and Circulation Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics determined by third-party tools that have no actual effect on search engine rankings.

While Mueller when suggested that Google has metrics that map into comparable things as Domain Authority, he has actually repeatedly denied making use of Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verification Badge and Reddit.

He also kept in mind 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.

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel

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