Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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

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

However does a greater Domain Authority in fact lead to 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 belongs of the Google algorithm, initially, we need to comprehend what Domain Authority is.

First, there is domain authority– the principle– 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 website explains how essential the website is for a particular targeted discipline [and] importance with respect 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 most likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is calculated utilizing lots of factors, consisting of the number of connecting root domains and the total variety of links. The score 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 also discover 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 Rating reveals 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 overall quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Flow Metric Ratings that determine the variety of links a site has and the quality of the website’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Element

Many posts talking about Domain Authority describe it as a search engine ranking score and recommend it is an excellent predictor of how well a site will carry out 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, suggesting 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 Element: The Evidence

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

“Domain Authority is not a Google ranking factor and has no effect 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 do not have “authority”, but signals need to hand down, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes answered a question about whether adding or getting rid of pages from a site impacted 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 respond to”

A few weeks later, throughout a conversation about connecting to image files or webpages for an impact on domain authority, Illyes replied:

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

From there, you will find many verifications from John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists but 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 action acknowledged that:

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

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

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

In 2019, when inquired 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, sometimes that’s not so simple, in which case we look at things a bit broader (eg, we’ve 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 because of a loss in Domain Authority. Mueller responded:

“We do not utilize domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO business. I ‘d recommend starting a thread in the aid forum with the information, including the URLs & inquiries you’re seeing modifications in.”

In 2020, Mueller got another question about domain authority. This time, someone asked if backlinks from high domain authority sites matter in site rankings. His response:

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

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

“Just 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 site.

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

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 prior to, this answer hints at 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 a few of those site-wide level metrics may sort of map into comparable things.”

In 2022, Mueller answered another concern about Domain Authority on Reddit. The question 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 require DA for Google Search. Google doesn’t use it * at all *. If you wish to level your site up in search, you ‘d need to concentrate on something else, or at least utilize other metrics for it. This is mainly why DA as a metric is discredited by many SEOs. For context, I do not think I’ve ever searched for the DA for a website in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

He used additional guidance on how one might enhance a domain’s authority by concentrating on a topic with low competitors and producing “… a reasonable collection of fantastic material” about that topic.

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

[Recommended Read:] Google Ranking Elements: 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 computed by third-party tools that have no actual effect on online search engine rankings.

While Mueller once suggested that Google has metrics that map into comparable things as Domain Authority, he has repeatedly denied using Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verified and Reddit.

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

Therefore, we can conclude that Domain Authority is definitely not a ranking element.

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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