Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Aspect?

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

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

However does a higher Domain Authority in fact 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 factor.

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What Is Domain Authority?

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

Initially, there is domain authority– the idea– 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 site explains how essential the site is for a specific targeted discipline [and] importance with regard to … search words.”

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

Domain Authority by Moz is computed using dozens of factors, including the variety of connecting root domains and the total variety of links. The score itself is shown on a 100-point scale.

It’s worth noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has actually developed a metric for determining website authority. You will also 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 Score shows the strength of a website’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 performance of a domain or website.
  • Majestic has Flow Metric Scores that measure the number of links a website has and the quality of the website’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Factor

Numerous short articles talking about Domain Authority describe it as a search engine ranking rating and recommend it is a good predictor of how well a website will carry out in SERPs for targeted keyword phrases.

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

There is even an interesting 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.

But continue reading– the evidence becomes clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect: The Evidence

Moz’s site says its Domain Authority score does not impact Google search engine result.

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

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

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

In 2016, Illyes responded to a concern about whether adding or eliminating pages from a site affected its domain authority.

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

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

“We do not really have ‘total domain authority’. A text link with anchor text is better though”

From there, you will discover numerous verifications from John Mueller, Browse Supporter at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google does not utilize it.

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

“Google doesn’t utilize ‘domain authority'”

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

Mueller’s reaction acknowledged that:

“Of course 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 score established by Moz’ so exists = yes. Search engines do not use it.”

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

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

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

“We don’t utilize domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d suggest beginning a thread in the help forum with the details, consisting of the URLs & inquiries you’re seeing modifications in.”

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

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

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

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

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

Up till 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 prior to, this answer hints at 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 website level, some metrics that are more on a page level, and a few of those site-wide level metrics might sort 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 Browse. Google does not use it * at all *. If you ‘d like to level your site up in search, you ‘d require 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 many SEOs. For context, I don’t think I have actually ever looked up the DA for a site in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

He offered additional suggestions on how one might improve a domain’s authority by focusing on a subject with low competitors and creating “… a reasonable collection of fantastic material” about that topic.

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

[Recommended Read:] Google Ranking Aspects: 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 Flow Metric Ratings by Majestic. They are all authority metrics determined by third-party tools that have no actual impact on search engine rankings.

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

He also noted that they do not call anything they do internally “domain authority.”

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

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