Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Aspect?

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

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

But does a higher Domain Authority in fact result in much better rankings?

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

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What Is Domain Authority?

To comprehend whether Domain Authority belongs of the Google algorithm, initially, we must 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 general meaning of domain authority is as follows:

“The domain authority of a website describes how essential the website is for a specific targeted discipline [and] significance with respect to … search words.”

Then, there’s Moz’s Domain Authority or DA rating, which specifies the metric as “… a search engine ranking score developed 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, including the number of connecting root domains and the total number of links. Ball game itself is shown on a 100-point scale.

It’s worth noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has established a metric for determining site authority. You will also find that:

  • Ahrefs has an Ahrefs Rank and Domain Score. AR ranks websites 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 Score that determines the total quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Scores that determine the number of links a website has and the quality of the website’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect

Numerous short articles going over Domain Authority refer to it as an online search engine ranking score and suggest it is a good predictor of how well a site will carry out in SERPs for targeted keyword expressions.

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

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

But continue reading– the proof ends up being clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Factor: The Evidence

Moz’s site states its Domain Authority score does not impact Google search results.

“Domain Authority is not a Google ranking element 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 response:

“We don’t have “authority”, however signals ought 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 don’t understand of anything in ranking that would equate to “domain authority”, so can’t answer”

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

“We don’t actually have ‘overall domain authority’. A text relate to 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 use it.

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

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

Later that year, when asked on Buy Twitter Verified if Domain Authority existed– once 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 comparable to Domain Authority on Buy Twitter Verified, Mueller addressed:

“We don’t use domain authority. We usually try 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 more comprehensive (eg, we’ve discussed this in regards to a few of the older quality updates).”

Later that year, a Buy Twitter Verified user asked if a drop in online search engine traffic was because of a loss in Domain Authority. Mueller responded:

“We do not use domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d advise beginning a thread in the aid online forum with the details, including the URLs & inquiries you’re seeing modifications 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 reaction:

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

A couple of months later, Mueller was asked how important Domain Authority was to crawling web pages faster on Buy Twitter Verified.

“Simply to be clear, Google does not utilize Domain Authority * at all * when it pertains to Search crawling, indexing, or ranking. This is quite clear on their website.

We do, however, index tweets that discuss it.”

Up until that point, Google agents seem 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 prior to, 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 site 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 question about Domain Authority on Reddit. The concern was how to increase a website with a Domain Authority of 31. Mueller addressed:

“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 website up in search, you ‘d need to concentrate on something else, or a minimum of utilize other metrics for it. This is primarily why DA as a metric is frowned upon by numerous SEOs. For context, I do not think I’ve ever looked up the DA for a website in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

He offered additional suggestions on how one might improve a domain’s authority by concentrating on a topic with low competition and developing “… a reasonable collection of wonderful content” about that subject.

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

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

Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Decision

Domain Authority (DA) by Moz is similar to Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority Score, and Flow 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 as soon as suggested that Google has metrics that map into comparable things as Domain Authority, he has actually repeatedly rejected using Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verified and Reddit.

He also noted that they do not call anything they do internally “domain authority.”

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

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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