Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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

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

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

In this chapter, we will explore what Domain Authority is and the proof as to 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, first, we must 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 basic definition of domain authority is as follows:

“The domain authority of a site explains how crucial 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 score, which specifies the metric as “… an online search engine ranking rating established by Moz that anticipates how likely a site is to rank in online search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is determined using dozens of elements, including the number of linking 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 established a metric for measuring website authority. You will likewise find 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 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 Score that determines the overall quality and SEO performance of a domain or web page.
  • Majestic has Circulation 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

Numerous short articles going over Domain Authority refer to it as a search engine ranking rating and recommend it is an excellent predictor of how well a site will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword phrases.

This can lead some to believe that Domain Authority is a ranking factor for search engines like Google.

There is even an intriguing Buy Twitter Verified thread in 2020 from the co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, showing 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 Evidence

Moz’s website says its Domain Authority rating does not impact Google search engine result.

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

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

“We don’t have “authority”, but signals should hand down, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes responded to a concern about whether including or removing 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 couple of weeks later, during a discussion about linking to image files or web pages for an influence on domain authority, Illyes responded:

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

From there, you will discover numerous confirmations from John Mueller, Browse Supporter at Google, that Domain Authority exists but that Google doesn’t use it.

In December 2016, Mueller responded 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:

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

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

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

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

“We do not utilize domain authority. We typically try to have our metrics as granular as possible, in some cases that’s not so simple, in which case we look at things a bit more comprehensive (eg, we have actually spoken about this in regards to a few of the older quality updates).”

Later on that year, a Buy Twitter Verified user asked if a drop in online search engine traffic was due to a loss in Domain Authority. Mueller responded:

“We do not utilize domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d recommend beginning a thread in the help online forum with the information, consisting of the URLs & queries you’re seeing changes 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 do not use domain authority at all in our algorithms.”

A few months later on, Mueller was asked how essential Domain Authority was to crawling websites quicker on Buy Twitter Verified.

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

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

Up till that point, Google agents seem 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 prior to, this answer mean 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 may type of map into comparable 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 require DA for Google Search. Google doesn’t 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 utilize other metrics for it. This is mostly why DA as a metric is discredited by numerous SEOs. For context, I don’t think I have actually ever searched for the DA for a site in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

He offered extra recommendations on how one could enhance a domain’s authority by concentrating on a topic with low competition and creating “… an affordable collection of great material” about that subject.

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

[Suggested Read:] Google Ranking Factors: Reality 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 Score, and Circulation Metric Scores 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 similar things as Domain Authority, he has actually repeatedly rejected the use of 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 certainly not a ranking factor.

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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