Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Aspect?

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Lots of companies and marketers think that Domain Authority is a huge deal.

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

However does a greater Domain Authority actually lead to 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 is a part of the Google algorithm, initially, we need to understand what Domain Authority is.

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

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

“The domain authority of a website describes how essential 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 score, which defines the metric as “… a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that anticipates how likely a website is to rank in online search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is calculated using dozens of aspects, including the number of linking root domains and the overall variety of links. The score itself is displayed on a 100-point scale.

It deserves noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has actually established a metric for determining website authority. You will also discover 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 Ranking 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 Rating that measures the overall quality and SEO efficiency of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Scores that measure the variety of links a site has and the quality of the site’s material.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect

Lots of short articles discussing Domain Authority describe it as an online search engine ranking score and recommend it is an excellent predictor of how well a website will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword expressions.

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

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

But continue reading– the proof becomes clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Element: The Proof

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

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

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

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

In 2016, Illyes answered a concern about whether including or getting rid of 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 on, throughout a discussion about connecting to image files or webpages for an impact on domain authority, Illyes replied:

“We do not actually have ‘total domain authority’. A text relate to anchor text is better though”

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

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

“Google does not use ‘domain authority'”

In 2018, someone 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 that year, when asked on Buy Twitter Verification if Domain Authority existed– once again– Mueller responded:

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

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

“We don’t utilize domain authority. We usually attempt to have our metrics as granular as possible, sometimes that’s not so easy, in which case we take a look at things a bit more comprehensive (eg, we have actually talked about this in regards to some of the older quality updates).”

Later that year, a Buy Twitter Verification user asked if a drop in search engine traffic was due to a loss in Domain Authority. Mueller responded:

“We do not use domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d suggest beginning a thread in the help online forum with the information, including the URLs & inquiries you’re seeing changes in.”

In 2020, Mueller got another concern about domain authority. This time, someone asked if backlinks from high domain authority sites matter in site rankings. His reaction:

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

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

“Just to be clear, Google does not utilize Domain Authority * at all * when it comes to Browse crawling, indexing, or ranking. This is pretty clear on their site.

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

Up up until that point, Google agents seem clear that there is no usage 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 before, this response 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 site 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 responded to another concern about Domain Authority on Reddit. The concern was how to increase a website with a Domain Authority of 31. Mueller answered:

“I’m kinda torn. On the one hand, you do not need DA for Google Search. Google doesn’t utilize it * at all *. If you wish to level your website up in search, you ‘d need to concentrate on something else, or at least use other metrics for it. This is mostly why DA as a metric is discredited by many SEOs. For context, I don’t think I’ve ever searched for the DA for a website in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”

He offered extra suggestions on how one might enhance a domain’s authority by concentrating on a topic with low competition and creating “… an affordable collection of wonderful content” about that subject.

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

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Verdict

Domain Authority (DA) by Moz resembles 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 result on online search engine rankings.

While Mueller as soon as recommended that Google has metrics that map into comparable things as Domain Authority, he has consistently rejected making use of Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verification and Reddit.

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

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

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel