Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Element?

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

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

However does a greater Domain Authority really result in 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 comprehend whether Domain Authority is a part of the Google algorithm, initially, we must comprehend what Domain Authority is.

Initially, there is domain authority– the idea– 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 crucial the site is for a particular targeted discipline [and] significance with respect to … search words.”

Then, there’s Moz’s Domain Authority or DA score, which defines the metric as “… an online search engine ranking rating developed by Moz that forecasts how most likely a site is to rank in online search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is computed using lots of factors, consisting of the number of connecting root domains and the overall number 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 actually developed a metric for determining site authority. You will also find that:

  • Ahrefs has an Ahrefs Rank and Domain Ranking. 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 measures the total quality and SEO performance of a domain or web page.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Scores that measure the variety of links a website has and the quality of the site’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Element

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

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

There is even an interesting Buy Twitter Verification thread in 2020 from the co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, revealing internal files from Google, suggesting Google does have a domain authority-like metric.

However continue reading– the evidence ends up being clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect: The Proof

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

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

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

“We do not have “authority”, however signals should pass on, yes.”

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

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

A few weeks later, during a conversation about connecting to image files or webpages for an impact on domain authority, Illyes replied:

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

From there, you will find numerous verifications from John Mueller, Browse Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google doesn’t utilize it.

In December 2016, Mueller reacted to a remark 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 response acknowledged that:

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

Later that year, when asked on Buy Twitter Verification if Domain Authority existed– once again– Mueller responded:

“‘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 inquired about a site-wide metric similar to Domain Authority on Buy Twitter Verification, Mueller addressed:

“We do not utilize domain authority. We usually attempt 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 regards to some of the older quality updates).”

Later on that year, a Buy Twitter Verification user asked if a drop in 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 suggest starting a thread in the aid forum with the details, consisting of 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 website rankings. His reaction:

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

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

“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 speak about it.”

Up until that point, Google representatives appear 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 before, this answer hints at a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.

“I do not know 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 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 responded to:

“I’m kinda torn. On the one hand, you do not need DA for Google Search. 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 a minimum of use other metrics for it. This is primarily why DA as a metric is frowned upon by many SEOs. For context, I do not think I’ve ever searched for the DA for a site in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

He provided additional guidance on how one might enhance a domain’s authority by concentrating on a topic with low competition and creating “… a reasonable collection of great material” about that topic.

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

[Advised Read:] Google Ranking Aspects: Fact or Fiction

Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Decision

Domain Authority (DA) by Moz resembles Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority Score, and Circulation Metric Ratings by Majestic. They are all authority metrics computed by third-party tools that have no actual result on online search engine rankings.

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

He also kept in mind that they do not call anything they do internally “domain authority.”

For that reason, we can conclude that Domain Authority is definitely not a ranking factor.

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