Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Aspect?

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

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

However does a greater Domain Authority actually result in much better rankings?

In this chapter, we will explore what Domain Authority is and the proof regarding 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 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 specific targeted subject area [and] importance with regard 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 anticipates how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is determined using dozens of elements, consisting of the variety of linking root domains and the overall number of links. Ball game itself is displayed on a 100-point scale.

It’s worth noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has actually established a metric for determining website authority. You will also 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 Rating that measures the general quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or website.
  • Majestic has Flow Metric Ratings that determine the variety of links a website has and the quality of the site’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Element

Many posts going over Domain Authority describe 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 expressions.

This can lead some to think that Domain Authority is a ranking element 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 files from Google, suggesting Google does have a domain authority-like metric.

However continue reading– the evidence becomes clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Factor: The Evidence

Moz’s site says its Domain Authority rating does not effect Google search engine result.

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

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

“We don’t have “authority”, however signals need to hand down, yes.”

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

“so, my issue is that I don’t know of anything in ranking that would equate to “domain authority”, so can’t respond to”

A couple of weeks later, throughout a discussion about linking to image files or webpages for an effect on domain authority, Illyes responded:

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

From there, you will find numerous confirmations from John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google does not use it.

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

“Google does not utilize ‘domain authority'”

In 2018, somebody 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 that year, when asked on Buy Twitter Verification if Domain Authority existed– once again– Mueller responded:

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

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

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

Later on 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 recommend starting a thread in the assistance online forum with the information, consisting of the URLs & questions you’re seeing changes in.”

In 2020, Mueller received 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 important Domain Authority was to crawling web pages faster on Buy Twitter Verification.

“Simply to be clear, Google doesn’t utilize Domain Authority * at all * when it comes to Search crawling, indexing, or ranking. This is quite clear on their website.

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

Up up until that point, Google agents appear 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 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 some of those site-wide level metrics may kind of map into similar things.”

In 2022, Mueller responded to another question 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 ‘d like to level your website up in search, you ‘d need to focus on something else, or a minimum of utilize other metrics for it. This is mainly why DA as a metric is frowned upon by numerous SEOs. For context, I don’t believe I have actually ever searched for the DA for a website in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

He used additional recommendations on how one might improve a domain’s authority by focusing on a topic with low competition and producing “… a sensible collection of great material” about that subject.

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

[Suggested Read:] Google Ranking Elements: Fact or Fiction

Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Verdict

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

While Mueller as soon as recommended that Google has metrics that map into similar things as Domain Authority, he has actually consistently rejected using Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verification and Reddit.

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

For that reason, we can conclude that Domain Authority is certainly not a ranking factor.

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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