Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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Many companies and marketers think that Domain Authority is a big deal.

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

However does a higher Domain Authority in fact result in 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 comprehend whether Domain Authority is a part of the Google algorithm, initially, we must 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 site explains how crucial the website is for a specific targeted discipline [and] importance with respect to … search words.”

Then, there’s Moz’s Domain Authority or DA score, which defines the metric as “… a search engine ranking score 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 utilizing lots of aspects, including the number of connecting root domains and the overall variety of links. Ball game itself is shown on a 100-point scale.

It deserves noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has actually developed a metric for determining site authority. You will likewise find that:

  • Ahrefs has an Ahrefs Rank and Domain Rating. AR ranks sites in the Ahrefs database by the size and quality of their backlinks, while Domain Rating reveals 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 determines the total quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or web page.
  • Majestic has Flow Metric Scores that measure the number of links a website has and the quality of the website’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Factor

Lots of articles talking about Domain Authority refer to it as an online search engine ranking rating 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 believe that Domain Authority is a ranking factor 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.

But continue reading– the evidence ends up being clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect: The Evidence

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

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

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

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

In 2016, Illyes responded to a concern about whether including or removing pages from a website impacted its domain authority.

“so, my problem is that I don’t know of anything in ranking that would translate to “domain authority”, so can’t address”

A few weeks later on, during a conversation about connecting to image files or web pages for an effect on domain authority, Illyes responded:

“We don’t actually have ‘overall domain authority’. A text relate to anchor text is better though”

From there, you will find lots of confirmations from John Mueller, Search Supporter at Google, that Domain Authority exists but that Google doesn’t utilize it.

In December 2016, Mueller responded to a comment 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:

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

Later that year, when asked on Twitter 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 Twitter, Mueller addressed:

“We do not use domain authority. We typically try to have our metrics as granular as possible, sometimes that’s not so simple, in which case we take a look at things a bit more comprehensive (eg, we have actually 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 replied:

“We don’t use domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d recommend beginning a thread in the help online forum with the information, including the URLs & questions you’re seeing modifications in.”

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

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

A couple of months later, Mueller was asked how important Domain Authority was to crawling websites quicker on Twitter.

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

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

Up until that point, Google representatives appear 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 site level, some metrics that are more on a page level, and some of those site-wide level metrics might kind of map into similar things.”

In 2022, Mueller addressed 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 need DA for Google Search. Google doesn’t use it * at all *. If you ‘d like to level your website up in search, you ‘d require to concentrate on something else, or a minimum of use other metrics for it. This is mostly why DA as a metric is frowned upon by many SEOs. For context, I don’t think I have actually ever searched for the DA for a website in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

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

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

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Decision

Domain Authority (DA) by Moz is similar to Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority

Rating, and Flow Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics computed by third-party tools that have no actual impact 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 denied the use of Domain Authority by Moz on Twitter and Reddit.

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

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

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel