Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

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

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

But does a greater Domain Authority in fact result in better rankings?

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

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What Is Domain Authority?

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

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

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

“The domain authority of a website explains how crucial the site is for a specific targeted subject area [and] importance 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 score developed by Moz that forecasts how most likely a website is to rank in online search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is determined utilizing dozens of elements, including the number of linking root domains and the total variety of links. Ball game itself is displayed on a 100-point scale.

It’s worth noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has actually established a metric for measuring site authority. You will also discover 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 Score 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 Score that determines the total quality and SEO performance of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Ratings that determine the number of links a site has and the quality of the site’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Element

Lots of articles talking about Domain Authority describe it as an online search engine ranking rating and suggest it is an excellent predictor of how well a website will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword expressions.

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

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

However continue reading– the proof becomes clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Factor: The Evidence

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

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

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

“We don’t have “authority”, however signals need to hand down, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes responded to a concern about whether adding or eliminating pages from a website affected 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 few weeks later, throughout a conversation about linking to image files or web pages for an influence on domain authority, Illyes responded:

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

From there, you will find lots of confirmations from John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google does not utilize it.

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

“Google does not use ‘domain authority'”

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

Mueller’s response acknowledged that:

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

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

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

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

“We do not utilize domain authority. We normally try to have our metrics as granular as possible, sometimes that’s not so simple, in which case we take a look at things a bit broader (eg, we’ve spoken about this in concerns to a few 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 replied:

“We do not utilize domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d recommend starting a thread in the aid online forum with the details, including the URLs & queries you’re seeing modifications in.”

In 2020, Mueller received another question about domain authority. This time, somebody asked if backlinks from high domain authority sites matter in site rankings. His action:

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

A few months later on, Mueller was asked how essential Domain Authority was to crawling websites faster on Buy Twitter Verified.

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

We do, nevertheless, index tweets that talk 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 answer hints at a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.

“I do not 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 may sort of map into comparable 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 responded to:

“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 site up in search, you ‘d need to concentrate on something else, or at least utilize other metrics for it. This is mostly why DA as a metric is discredited by lots of SEOs. For context, I don’t think I’ve ever searched for the DA for a site in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

He offered additional recommendations on how one could enhance a domain’s authority by concentrating on a subject with low competition and creating “… a sensible collection of wonderful content” about that subject.

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

[Advised Read:] Google Ranking Factors: Truth 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 Score, and Flow Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics computed by third-party tools that have no actual effect on search engine rankings.

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

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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