Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Element?

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Lots of business and online marketers think that Domain Authority is a huge offer.

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

But does a greater Domain Authority actually result in 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 is a part of the Google algorithm, initially, we should understand what Domain Authority is.

First, there is domain authority– the concept– and Domain Authority (DA), the metric by Moz.

As VentureSkies explains it, the basic meaning of domain authority is as follows:

“The domain authority of a website describes how essential the website is for a specific targeted subject area [and] relevance with respect to … search words.”

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

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

It’s worth keeping in mind 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 Ranking. AR ranks sites 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 determines the general quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or website.
  • Majestic has Flow Metric Scores that determine the number of links a website has and the quality of the site’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Factor

Numerous articles discussing Domain Authority refer to it as an online search engine ranking score 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 element for search engines like Google.

There is even an intriguing Twitter thread in 2020 from the co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, revealing internal files from Google, recommending Google does have a domain authority-like metric.

However continue reading– the evidence becomes clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect: The Proof

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

“Domain Authority is not a Google ranking aspect and has no effect 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 do not have “authority”, but signals need to pass on, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes addressed a concern about whether adding or removing pages from a website 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 few weeks later, during a discussion about linking to image files or web pages for an impact on domain authority, Illyes responded:

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

From there, you will find lots of verifications from John Mueller, Browse Supporter at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google does not use it.

In December 2016, Mueller responded to a comment about a desktop domain having higher authority.

“Google doesn’t use ‘domain authority'”

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

Mueller’s action acknowledged that:

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

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

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

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

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

Later on that year, a Twitter 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 company. I ‘d advise beginning a thread in the help online forum with the information, including the URLs & questions you’re seeing modifications in.”

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

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

A couple of months later on, Mueller was asked how important Domain Authority was to crawling web pages faster on Twitter.

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

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

Up 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 before, 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, but 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 might kind of map into comparable things.”

In 2022, Mueller addressed another concern about Domain Authority on Reddit. The concern was how to increase a website with a Domain Authority of 31. Mueller responded to:

“I’m kinda torn. On the one hand, you do not need DA for Google Browse. Google does not use it * at all *. If you wish to level your site 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 discredited by many SEOs. For context, I do not believe I’ve ever looked up the DA for a site in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

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

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

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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 actual effect on online search engine rankings.

While Mueller as soon as suggested that Google has metrics that map into similar things as Domain Authority, he has actually repeatedly denied making use of Domain Authority by Moz on Twitter and Reddit.

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

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

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel