Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Element?

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

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

But does a higher Domain Authority in fact lead to better rankings?

In this chapter, we will explore what Domain Authority is and the proof regarding whether it is a Google ranking factor.

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What Is Domain Authority?

To understand whether Domain Authority is a part of the Google algorithm, first, we need to understand what Domain Authority is.

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

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

“The domain authority of a website explains how crucial the site is for a particular targeted discipline [and] importance 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 rating developed by Moz that anticipates how likely a website is to rank in online search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is determined using dozens of aspects, including the number of linking root domains and the total number of links. The score itself is displayed on a 100-point scale.

It’s worth noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has established a metric for measuring website authority. You will also find that:

  • Ahrefs has an Ahrefs Rank and Domain Rating. AR ranks websites in the Ahrefs database by the size and quality of their backlinks, while Domain Rating 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 Score that determines the overall quality and SEO performance of a domain or web page.
  • Majestic has Flow Metric Ratings that measure the number of links a site has and the quality of the site’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Factor

Lots of short articles talking about Domain Authority describe it as an online search engine ranking score and recommend it is a great 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 aspect for search engines like Google.

There is even an interesting Buy Twitter Verified thread in 2020 from the co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, showing internal documents 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 Factor: The Proof

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

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

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

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

In 2016, Illyes responded to a question about whether including 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 answer”

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

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

From there, you will discover numerous confirmations 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 greater authority.

“Google does not use ‘domain authority'”

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

Mueller’s reaction acknowledged that:

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

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

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

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

“We don’t use domain authority. We typically attempt to have our metrics as granular as possible, sometimes that’s not so easy, in which case we 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 Buy Twitter Verified 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 company. I ‘d recommend starting a thread in the help forum with the information, 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 websites matter in site rankings. His reaction:

“We do not 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 Buy Twitter Verified.

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

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

Up up until that point, Google agents seem clear that there is no use 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 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 sort of map into similar things.”

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

“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 want to level your website up in search, you ‘d require to concentrate on something else, or at least utilize other metrics for it. This is mostly why DA as a metric is frowned upon by lots of SEOs. For context, I do not think I’ve ever looked up the DA for a website in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

He used additional recommendations on how one might improve a domain’s authority by concentrating on a subject with low competitors and producing “… a sensible collection of great content” about that topic.

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

[Recommended Read:] Google Ranking Elements: Fact or Fiction

Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Verdict

Domain Authority (DA) by Moz resembles Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority Rating, and Flow Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics determined by third-party tools that have no actual effect on search engine rankings.

While Mueller when suggested that Google has metrics that map into similar things as Domain Authority, he has actually consistently rejected making use of Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verified and Reddit.

He likewise kept in mind that they do not 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/Best SMM Panel

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