Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Aspect?

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Lots of business and online marketers believe that Domain Authority is a big offer.

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

But does a higher Domain Authority actually result in much better rankings?

In this chapter, we will explore what Domain Authority is and the proof regarding 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 understand what Domain Authority is.

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

As VentureSkies describes it, the general definition of domain authority is as follows:

“The domain authority of a site describes how essential the site is for a particular targeted discipline [and] relevance with regard to … search words.”

Then, there’s Moz’s Domain Authority or DA score, which specifies the metric as “… a search engine ranking score established by Moz that predicts how likely a site 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 overall variety of links. The score itself is shown 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 Ranking 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 Rating that determines the overall quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or website.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Ratings that determine the number of links a site has and the quality of the website’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect

Numerous short articles discussing Domain Authority describe it as a search engine ranking rating and suggest it is an excellent predictor of how well a site will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword expressions.

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

There is even a fascinating 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 proof ends up being clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Element: The Evidence

Moz’s site states its Domain Authority score does not effect Google search results.

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

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

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

A couple of weeks later, during a discussion about linking to image files or websites for an effect on domain authority, Illyes replied:

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

From there, you will find numerous confirmations from John Mueller, Browse Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists but that Google doesn’t use it.

In December 2016, Mueller reacted to a comment about a desktop domain having higher authority.

“Google does not utilize ‘domain authority'”

In 2018, somebody 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 Verified if Domain Authority existed– again– Mueller responded:

“‘Domain Authority (DA) is an online search engine ranking score developed by Moz’ so exists = yes. Online search engine don’t utilize it.”

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

“We do not use domain authority. We typically attempt to have our metrics as granular as possible, in some cases that’s not so easy, in which case we take a look at things a bit broader (eg, we have actually talked about this in regards to a few 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 advise beginning a thread in the aid forum with the information, consisting of the URLs & questions you’re seeing changes in.”

In 2020, Mueller received another question about domain authority. This time, someone asked if backlinks from high domain authority websites matter in website rankings. His reaction:

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

A couple of months later, Mueller was asked how important Domain Authority was to crawling websites much faster on Buy Twitter Verified.

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

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

Up till that point, Google representatives 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 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 some of those site-wide level metrics might type of map into similar 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 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 site up in search, you ‘d require to concentrate on something else, or at least use other metrics for it. This is mainly why DA as a metric is frowned upon by many 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 might enhance a domain’s authority by focusing on a topic with low competitors and developing “… a reasonable collection of wonderful content” about that subject.

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

[Advised Read:] Google Ranking Elements: Fact 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 Rating, and Flow Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics calculated by third-party tools that have no real result on search engine rankings.

While Mueller once suggested that Google has metrics that map into comparable things as Domain Authority, he has consistently rejected using Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verified 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 absolutely not a ranking factor.

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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