Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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

There are guides all over about how you can enhance your website’s Domain Authority for better rankings in search engine result.

But does a higher Domain Authority really result in better rankings?

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

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What Is Domain Authority?

To understand whether Domain Authority is a part of the Google algorithm, first, we should understand what Domain Authority is.

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

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

“The domain authority of a site describes how crucial the website 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 “… an online search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how most likely a site is to rank in online search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is calculated utilizing dozens of elements, consisting of 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 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 Score 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 Score that determines the overall quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or web page.
  • Majestic has Flow Metric Scores that measure the variety of links a website has and the quality of the site’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Factor

Numerous short articles going over Domain Authority describe it as an online search engine ranking score and recommend it is a great predictor of how well a site will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword expressions.

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

There is even an intriguing Buy Twitter Verification thread in 2020 from the co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, showing internal documents from Google, recommending Google does have a domain authority-like metric.

However continue reading– the evidence becomes clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect: The Proof

Moz’s website says its Domain Authority score does not effect Google search engine result.

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

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

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

In 2016, Illyes answered a question about whether including or removing pages from a site affected 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 respond to”

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

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

From there, you will discover numerous confirmations from John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google doesn’t utilize it.

In December 2016, Mueller reacted 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:

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

Later that year, when asked on Buy Twitter Verification 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 inquired about a site-wide metric comparable to Domain Authority on Buy Twitter Verification, Mueller answered:

“We do not utilize domain authority. We usually attempt to have our metrics as granular as possible, sometimes that’s not so simple, in which case we take a look at things a bit wider (eg, we’ve discussed this in regards to a few of the older quality updates).”

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

“We don’t utilize domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO business. I ‘d suggest starting a thread in the aid forum with the information, consisting of the URLs & inquiries you’re seeing changes in.”

In 2020, Mueller got another concern about domain authority. This time, somebody 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 few months later on, Mueller was asked how important Domain Authority was to crawling websites much faster on Buy Twitter Verification.

“Simply to be clear, Google doesn’t utilize 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 speak about it.”

Up until that point, Google representatives appear 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 prior to, this response mean a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.

“I do not 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 type of map into similar things.”

In 2022, Mueller responded to 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 Browse. Google doesn’t use it * at all *. If you wish to level your site up in search, you ‘d need to focus on something else, or at least use other metrics for it. This is primarily why DA as a metric is discredited by many SEOs. For context, I don’t think I’ve 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 improve a domain’s authority by focusing on a topic with low competitors and producing “… a reasonable collection of fantastic material” about that subject.

He highlighted 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 is similar to Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority Score, and Flow Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics computed by third-party tools that have no actual result on online search engine rankings.

While Mueller when recommended that Google has metrics that map into comparable things as Domain Authority, he has actually consistently denied the use of Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verification 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 element.

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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