Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Aspect?

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Many business and online marketers believe that Domain Authority is a huge offer.

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

But does a greater Domain Authority actually result in much 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 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 explains it, the basic meaning of domain authority is as follows:

“The domain authority of a site explains how essential the site is for a particular 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 “… a search engine ranking rating established by Moz that predicts how likely a site is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs).”

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

It’s worth keeping in mind that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has 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 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 site’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Factor

Many posts discussing Domain Authority describe it as an online search engine ranking score and recommend it is a great predictor of how well a website will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword phrases.

This can lead some to believe that Domain Authority is a ranking aspect for search engines like Google.

There is even an intriguing Buy Twitter Verification thread in 2020 from the co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, revealing internal documents 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 Aspect: The Evidence

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

“Domain Authority is not a Google ranking factor 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”, however signals must hand down, yes.”

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

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

A couple of weeks later on, throughout a discussion about linking to image files or web pages for an impact on domain authority, Illyes replied:

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

From there, you will discover many verifications from John Mueller, Search Advocate 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, someone 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 that year, when asked on Buy Twitter Verification if Domain Authority existed– again– Mueller reacted:

“‘Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz’ so exists = yes. Online search engine do not use 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 generally 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 wider (eg, we’ve talked about this in regards to a few of the older quality updates).”

Later 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 suggest beginning a thread in the help online forum with the information, including the URLs & inquiries you’re seeing changes in.”

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

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

A couple of months later on, Mueller was asked how essential Domain Authority was to crawling webpages quicker on Buy Twitter Verification.

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

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

Up till 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 response 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 a few of those site-wide level metrics might type of map into comparable things.”

In 2022, Mueller answered 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 Browse. Google does not utilize it * at all *. If you ‘d like to level your site up in search, you ‘d need to focus on something else, or at least utilize other metrics for it. This is primarily 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 website in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

He used extra suggestions on how one could improve a domain’s authority by focusing on a subject with low competitors and creating “… a sensible collection of great content” about that topic.

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

[Suggested Read:] Google Ranking Factors: 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 Score, and Flow Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics computed by third-party tools that have no actual effect on online search engine rankings.

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

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

For that reason, we can conclude that Domain Authority is absolutely not a ranking element.

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