Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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

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

However does a greater Domain Authority really 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 comprehend whether Domain Authority belongs of the Google algorithm, initially, we should 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 website describes how essential the website 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 “… a search engine ranking rating established by Moz that forecasts how most likely a site is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs).”

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

It deserves keeping in mind that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has developed a metric for determining site authority. You will also discover that:

  • Ahrefs has an Ahrefs Rank and Domain Score. AR ranks websites 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 Score that measures the total quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Flow Metric Scores that measure the variety of links a website has and the quality of the site’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Element

Many posts talking about Domain Authority refer to it as a search engine ranking score and suggest it is an excellent predictor of how well a website will carry out in SERPs for targeted keyword phrases.

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

There is even a fascinating 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 proof ends up being clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect: The Evidence

Moz’s website states its Domain Authority score does not impact Google search results page.

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

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

“We do not have “authority”, but signals ought to hand down, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes addressed a concern about whether adding or eliminating pages from a website impacted its domain authority.

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

A few weeks later on, during a discussion about connecting to image files or websites for an effect 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 find numerous verifications from John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists but that Google does not utilize it.

In December 2016, Mueller responded to a remark 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 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 responded:

“‘Domain Authority (DA) is an online search engine ranking score developed by Moz’ so exists = yes. Search engines do not utilize it.”

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

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

Later that year, a Twitter user asked if a drop in online 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 business. I ‘d recommend beginning a thread in the help forum with the information, consisting of the URLs & inquiries 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 website rankings. His action:

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

A few months later on, Mueller was asked how crucial Domain Authority was to crawling webpages quicker on Twitter.

“Just to be clear, Google doesn’t utilize Domain Authority * at all * when it pertains to Browse crawling, indexing, or ranking. This is pretty clear on their website.

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 prior to, this response mean a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.

“I don’t understand if I ‘d call it authority like that, however 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 may sort of map into similar things.”

In 2022, Mueller addressed another concern about Domain Authority on Reddit. The question was how to increase a site 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 doesn’t use it * at all *. If you wish to level your website 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 frowned upon by lots of 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 used extra guidance on how one might improve a domain’s authority by concentrating on a topic with low competitors and producing “… an affordable collection of great material” 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 real result on search engine rankings.

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

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

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

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel