Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Element?

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Lots of business and marketers believe that Domain Authority is a huge offer.

There are guides everywhere about how you can enhance your site’s Domain Authority for better rankings in search results.

However does a higher Domain Authority really lead to much better rankings?

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

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What Is Domain Authority?

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

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

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

“The domain authority of a website describes how crucial the website is for a specific targeted discipline [and] relevance 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 site is to rank in online search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is calculated using lots of elements, consisting of the number of connecting root domains and the total 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 Score. AR ranks sites 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 Rating that determines the general quality and SEO performance of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Ratings that determine the number of links a website has and the quality of the site’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Element

Many short articles discussing Domain Authority refer to it as a search engine ranking score and recommend it is an excellent predictor of how well a site will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword expressions.

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

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

But continue reading– the evidence becomes clear.

[Discover:] More Google Ranking Aspect Insights

Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect: The Evidence

Moz’s website states its Domain Authority rating does not effect Google search engine result.

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

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

“We do not have “authority”, but signals should pass on, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes responded to a concern about whether adding or removing pages from a site 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, during a discussion about linking to image files or websites for an impact on domain authority, Illyes responded:

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

From there, you will find lots of verifications from John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google doesn’t utilize it.

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

“Google doesn’t use ‘domain authority'”

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

Mueller’s response acknowledged that:

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

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

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

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

“We don’t utilize domain authority. We typically try to have our metrics as granular as possible, in some cases that’s not so simple, in which case we take a look at things a bit broader (eg, we have actually discussed this in concerns to a few of the older quality updates).”

Later 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 company. I ‘d advise starting a thread in the assistance online forum with the details, consisting of the URLs & inquiries you’re seeing changes in.”

In 2020, Mueller got another question about domain authority. This time, someone 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 essential Domain Authority was to crawling webpages faster on Buy Twitter Verified.

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

We do, nevertheless, index tweets that speak about it.”

Up until that point, Google representatives 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 answer hints at a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.

“I do not know 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 comparable things.”

In 2022, Mueller responded to another concern about Domain Authority on Reddit. The question 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 doesn’t use it * at all *. If you want to level your site up in search, you ‘d need to concentrate on something else, or a minimum of utilize other metrics for it. This is mainly why DA as a metric is discredited by many SEOs. For context, I do not believe I’ve ever looked up the DA for a website in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

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

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

[Advised Read:] Google Ranking Elements: 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 consistently denied the use of Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verified and Reddit.

He also noted that they don’t call anything they do internally “domain authority.”

Therefore, we can conclude that Domain Authority is absolutely not a ranking factor.

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