Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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Lots of business and online marketers believe that Domain Authority is a huge deal.

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

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

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

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What Is Domain Authority?

To comprehend whether Domain Authority is a part of the Google algorithm, first, we need to 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 general meaning of domain authority is as follows:

“The domain authority of a site describes how essential the website is for a particular targeted subject area [and] relevance with regard to … search words.”

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

Domain Authority by Moz is calculated using dozens of factors, including the variety of linking root domains and the overall number of links. Ball game itself is shown on a 100-point scale.

It deserves noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has established a metric for determining site authority. You will likewise discover 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 Rating 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 measures the general quality and SEO performance of a domain or web page.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Ratings that measure the variety of links a site has and the quality of the site’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Factor

Many articles going over Domain Authority refer to it as a search engine ranking score and suggest it is a good predictor of how well a website will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword expressions.

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

There is even a fascinating Buy Twitter Verification 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.

But 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 page.

“Domain Authority is not a Google ranking factor and has no impact 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”, but signals should pass on, yes.”

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

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

A few weeks later on, during a conversation about linking to image files or web pages for an impact on domain authority, Illyes replied:

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

From there, you will discover many verifications from John Mueller, Browse Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google doesn’t utilize it.

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

“Google doesn’t use ‘domain authority'”

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

Mueller’s reaction acknowledged that:

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

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

“‘Domain Authority (DA) is an online search engine ranking rating established by Moz’ so exists = yes. Online search engine do not use it.”

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

“We do not use domain authority. We normally attempt to have our metrics as granular as possible, sometimes that’s not so easy, in which case we 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 Buy Twitter Verification user asked if a drop in search engine traffic was due to a loss in Domain Authority. Mueller replied:

“We do not use domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d recommend beginning a thread in the help online forum with the details, including the URLs & inquiries you’re seeing changes in.”

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

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

A few months later, Mueller was asked how important Domain Authority was to crawling web pages faster on Buy Twitter Verification.

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

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

Up up until 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 answer mean a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.

“I do not 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 a few of those site-wide level metrics might kind of map into comparable things.”

In 2022, Mueller addressed 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 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 mainly why DA as a metric is discredited by many SEOs. For context, I don’t believe I have actually ever looked up the DA for a site in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

He used extra recommendations on how one could enhance a domain’s authority by focusing on a topic with low competition and creating “… a reasonable collection of wonderful material” about that topic.

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

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

Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Decision

Domain Authority (DA) by Moz is similar to Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority Rating, and Circulation Metric Ratings by Majestic. They are all authority metrics calculated by third-party tools that have no real result on search engine rankings.

While Mueller when recommended that Google has metrics that map into comparable things as Domain Authority, he has consistently rejected using Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verification 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 element.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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