Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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Numerous business and marketers think that Domain Authority is a big offer.

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

But does a greater Domain Authority actually lead to better rankings?

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

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What Is Domain Authority?

To understand whether Domain Authority belongs of the Google algorithm, first, we need to comprehend 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 definition of domain authority is as follows:

“The domain authority of a site explains how crucial the site is for a particular targeted subject area [and] relevance with regard to … search words.”

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

Domain Authority by Moz is computed utilizing lots 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 keeping in mind that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has actually established a metric for measuring site authority. You will also find 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 Ranking 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 Rating that determines the total quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Scores that determine the variety of links a website has and the quality of the site’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Factor

Numerous short articles talking about Domain Authority describe it as an online search engine ranking score and recommend it is an excellent predictor of how well a website will carry out in SERPs for targeted keyword expressions.

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, revealing internal files from Google, suggesting Google does have a domain authority-like metric.

But continue reading– the proof becomes clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Element: The Evidence

Moz’s site states its Domain Authority rating does not impact Google search results page.

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

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

“We do not have “authority”, but signals ought to pass on, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes addressed a concern about whether including or removing pages from a website affected its domain authority.

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

A few weeks later, during a discussion about connecting to image files or web pages for an impact on domain authority, Illyes replied:

“We do not truly have ‘general domain authority’. A text link with anchor text is much better though”

From there, you will discover lots of verifications 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 greater authority.

“Google does not 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 that year, when asked on Buy Twitter Verification if Domain Authority existed– once again– Mueller reacted:

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

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

“We don’t utilize domain authority. We usually try 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 more comprehensive (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 search engine traffic was because of a loss in Domain Authority. Mueller replied:

“We do not use domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d recommend starting a thread in the aid online forum with the details, consisting of the URLs & inquiries 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 reaction:

“We do not utilize domain authority at all in our algorithms.”

A few months later on, Mueller was asked how essential 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 Browse crawling, indexing, or ranking. This is pretty clear on their website.

We do, nevertheless, index tweets that speak about 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 response hints at a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.

“I do not understand if I ‘d call it authority like that, however 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 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 site with a Domain Authority of 31. Mueller answered:

“I’m kinda torn. On the one hand, you do not need DA for Google Search. Google does not utilize it * at all *. If you want to level your site up in search, you ‘d need to focus on something else, or a minimum of use other metrics for it. This is primarily why DA as a metric is discredited by lots of SEOs. For context, I do not think I have actually ever searched for the DA for a website in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

He used additional suggestions on how one could enhance a domain’s authority by concentrating on a subject with low competitors and producing “… a reasonable collection of wonderful content” about that subject.

He stressed 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 Score, and Circulation Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics calculated by third-party tools that have no actual result on search engine rankings.

While Mueller when suggested that Google has metrics that map into similar things as Domain Authority, he has consistently denied 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 definitely not a ranking aspect.

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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