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 deal.

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 greater Domain Authority really lead to much better rankings?

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

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What Is Domain Authority?

To comprehend whether Domain Authority belongs of the Google algorithm, first, we must understand what Domain Authority is.

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

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

“The domain authority of a website explains how important the site is for a specific targeted subject area [and] significance with respect to … search words.”

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

Domain Authority by Moz is calculated using dozens of aspects, consisting of the number of connecting root domains and the total number of links. Ball game itself is displayed on a 100-point scale.

It’s worth keeping in mind that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has actually established a metric for determining website authority. You will likewise find that:

  • Ahrefs has an Ahrefs Rank and Domain Rating. AR ranks sites in the Ahrefs database by the size and quality of their backlinks, while Domain Ranking 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 measures the general quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Scores that determine the number of links a site has and the quality of the website’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Element

Many posts talking about Domain Authority describe it as a search engine ranking score and recommend it is an excellent predictor of how well a site will carry out in SERPs for targeted keyword phrases.

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

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

But 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 factor and has no effect on the SERPs.”

In 2015, Gary Illyes, Chief of Sunshine and Joy 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 answered a concern about whether adding or eliminating pages from a website affected its domain authority.

“so, my issue is that I do not understand of anything in ranking that would equate to “domain authority”, so can’t answer”

A few weeks later, throughout a discussion about connecting to image files or websites for an influence on domain authority, Illyes replied:

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

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

In December 2016, Mueller reacted to a remark about a desktop domain having greater authority.

“Google does not use ‘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 on that year, when asked on Buy Twitter Verification if Domain Authority existed– again– Mueller responded:

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

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

“We do not use domain authority. We normally 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’ve talked about this in regards to a few of the older quality updates).”

Later 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 beginning a thread in the help online forum with the details, including 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 sites matter in site rankings. His action:

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

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

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

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

Up till that point, Google representatives 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 answer hints at 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 website level, some metrics that are more on a page level, and some of those site-wide level metrics may kind of map into similar things.”

In 2022, Mueller answered another concern about Domain Authority on Reddit. The question 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 require DA for Google Search. Google doesn’t use it * at all *. If you ‘d like to level your website up in search, you ‘d require to concentrate on something else, or at least use other metrics for it. This is mostly why DA as a metric is discredited by numerous 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 suggestions on how one could improve a domain’s authority by concentrating on a subject with low competition and creating “… a sensible collection of fantastic material” about that subject.

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

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

He likewise 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 aspect.

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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