Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Aspect?

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Many business and online marketers think that Domain Authority is a big deal.

There are guides all over about how you can improve your site’s Domain Authority for better rankings in search results page.

But does a greater Domain Authority actually result in 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, initially, we should comprehend what Domain Authority is.

First, 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 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 “… a search engine ranking rating established by Moz that forecasts how most likely a site is to rank in online search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is determined utilizing lots of aspects, including the number of linking root domains and the overall number of links. The score itself is shown on a 100-point scale.

It deserves noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has actually 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 Score 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 Score that determines the general quality and SEO performance of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Flow 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 Aspect

Numerous posts going over Domain Authority describe it as a search engine ranking score and recommend it is a great predictor of how well a website will carry out in SERPs for targeted keyword phrases.

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

There is even an interesting 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 site states its Domain Authority score does not effect Google search results.

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

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

“We do not have “authority”, however signals must hand down, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes addressed a concern about whether including 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 respond to”

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

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

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

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

“Google doesn’t utilize ‘domain authority'”

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

Mueller’s action acknowledged that:

“Naturally 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 a search engine ranking score established by Moz’ so exists = yes. Online search engine don’t use it.”

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

“We don’t utilize domain authority. We usually attempt 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 wider (eg, we’ve spoken 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 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 business. I ‘d suggest starting a thread in the assistance online forum with the details, including the URLs & inquiries 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 site rankings. His reaction:

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

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

“Just to be clear, Google does not utilize Domain Authority * at all * when it comes to Search 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 agents 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 before, this response mean 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 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 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 utilize 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 looked up the DA for a website in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

He offered extra suggestions on how one might improve a domain’s authority by concentrating on a subject with low competitors and creating “… an affordable collection of great material” about that subject.

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

[Recommended Read:] Google Ranking Factors: Truth 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 Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics determined by third-party tools that have no actual effect on search engine rankings.

While Mueller once recommended 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 kept in mind that they do not call anything they do internally “domain authority.”

For that reason, we can conclude that Domain Authority is certainly not a ranking aspect.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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