Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Aspect?

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

There are guides all over about how you can boost your website’s Domain Authority for better rankings in search results page.

But does a greater Domain Authority in fact lead to much better rankings?

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

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What Is Domain Authority?

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

Initially, there is domain authority– the concept– 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 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 rating, which specifies 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 determined using dozens of aspects, including the variety of linking root domains and the total number of links. Ball game itself is displayed 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 find that:

  • Ahrefs has an Ahrefs Rank and Domain Rating. AR ranks websites in the Ahrefs database by the size and quality of their backlinks, while Domain Score 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 Rating that measures the overall quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or web page.
  • Majestic has Flow Metric Scores that measure the variety of links a site has and the quality of the website’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect

Many short articles talking about Domain Authority refer to it as an online search engine ranking rating 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 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, showing internal documents from Google, recommending Google does have a domain authority-like metric.

However continue reading– the proof ends up being clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect: The Evidence

Moz’s website says its Domain Authority score does not effect 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 Joy at Google, was inquired about authority passing from HTTP to HTTPS. His reaction:

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

In 2016, Illyes addressed a question about whether including 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 couple of weeks later, during a discussion about connecting to image files or webpages for an effect on domain authority, Illyes responded:

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

From there, you will discover lots of confirmations from John Mueller, Search Supporter at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google does not use 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 response 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 score established 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 Buy Twitter Verification, Mueller answered:

“We don’t use domain authority. We usually attempt to have our metrics as granular as possible, often that’s not so simple, in which case we take a look at things a bit wider (eg, we’ve spoken about 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 responded:

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

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

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

A couple of months later, Mueller was asked how essential Domain Authority was to crawling webpages quicker on Buy Twitter Verification.

“Just to be clear, Google doesn’t use Domain Authority * at all * when it comes to Browse crawling, indexing, or ranking. This is quite clear on their site.

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

Up till 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 hints at a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.

“I don’t understand if I ‘d call it authority like that, but 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 kind 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 require DA for Google Search. Google does not utilize it * at all *. If you ‘d like to level your website up in search, you ‘d require to focus on something else, or at least use other metrics for it. This is primarily why DA as a metric is frowned upon by many SEOs. For context, I do not think I have actually ever searched for the DA for a website in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

He used extra guidance 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 topic.

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

[Recommended Read:] Google Ranking Elements: Reality 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 Rating, and Circulation Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics calculated by third-party tools that have no real impact on search engine rankings.

While Mueller as soon as suggested that Google has metrics that map into comparable things as Domain Authority, he has consistently rejected making use of Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verification and Reddit.

He likewise kept in mind that they do not call anything they do internally “domain authority.”

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

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