Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Element?

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Lots of companies and online marketers think that Domain Authority is a huge offer.

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

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

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

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What Is Domain Authority?

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

First, there is domain authority– the principle– 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 explains how crucial the website is for a particular targeted discipline [and] importance with respect to … search words.”

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

Domain Authority by Moz is computed using dozens of elements, including the number of connecting root domains and the overall number of links. The score 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 likewise 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 reveals 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 total quality and SEO performance of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Scores that measure the variety of links a website has and the quality of the website’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect

Lots of articles discussing Domain Authority refer to it as an online search engine ranking rating and suggest it is a great predictor of how well a website will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword phrases.

This can lead some to think that Domain Authority is a ranking element for online search engine like Google.

There is even a fascinating Buy Twitter Verified thread in 2020 from the co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, showing internal files from Google, recommending Google does have a domain authority-like metric.

However continue reading– the proof becomes clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Element: The Evidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few weeks later on, throughout a conversation about connecting to image files or websites for an impact on domain authority, Illyes responded:

“We don’t really have ‘total domain authority’. A text link with anchor text is much better though”

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

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

“Google does not utilize ‘domain authority'”

In 2018, someone 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 on that year, when asked on Buy Twitter Verified if Domain Authority existed– again– Mueller reacted:

“‘Domain Authority (DA) is an online 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 similar to Domain Authority on Buy Twitter Verified, Mueller responded to:

“We do not utilize domain authority. We generally 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 Verified user asked if a drop in search engine traffic was due to a loss in Domain Authority. Mueller responded:

“We do not utilize domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO business. I ‘d recommend starting a thread in the help online forum with the details, including the URLs & queries 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 website rankings. His action:

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

A few months later on, Mueller was asked how crucial Domain Authority was to crawling web pages quicker on Buy Twitter Verified.

“Simply to be clear, Google does not use Domain Authority * at all * when it concerns Browse crawling, indexing, or ranking. This is quite clear on their site.

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

Up till that point, Google agents appear 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 similar things.”

In 2022, Mueller responded to another concern about Domain Authority on Reddit. The question 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 use it * at all *. If you ‘d like to level your site up in search, you ‘d require to focus on something else, or a minimum of use other metrics for it. This is mainly why DA as a metric is frowned upon by many SEOs. For context, I do not believe I have actually ever searched for the DA for a site in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

He used additional suggestions on how one might improve a domain’s authority by concentrating on a subject with low competition and developing “… a sensible collection of fantastic material” about that subject.

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

[Suggested Read:] Google Ranking Aspects: Truth or Fiction

Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Verdict

Domain Authority (DA) by Moz resembles 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 impact on search engine rankings.

While Mueller as soon as recommended that Google has metrics that map into similar things as Domain Authority, he has repeatedly rejected the use of Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verified and Reddit.

He likewise kept in mind 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 aspect.

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