Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Aspect?

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Numerous companies and online marketers believe 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.

But does a greater Domain Authority in fact 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 aspect.

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What Is Domain Authority?

To understand whether Domain Authority belongs of the Google algorithm, first, we should 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 basic definition of domain authority is as follows:

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

Domain Authority by Moz is computed using lots of aspects, including the number of connecting root domains and the overall number of links. Ball game itself is displayed on a 100-point scale.

It deserves noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has developed a metric for measuring site authority. You will also 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 site’s backlink profile compared to others in the Ahrefs database on a 100-point scale.
  • Semrush has an Authority Score that determines the overall quality and SEO performance of a domain or web page.
  • Majestic has Circulation Metric Ratings that measure the number of links a site has and the quality of the site’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Element

Many posts discussing Domain Authority refer to it as a search engine ranking rating 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 think that Domain Authority is a ranking aspect for online search engine like Google.

There is even a fascinating Twitter 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.

But continue reading– the evidence ends up being clear.

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Domain Authority As A Ranking Element: The Evidence

Moz’s site says its Domain Authority rating does not impact Google search results.

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

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

“We don’t have “authority”, however signals must pass on, yes.”

In 2016, Illyes responded to a question about whether including or getting rid of pages from a website impacted its domain authority.

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

A few weeks later on, throughout a discussion about linking to image files or websites for an impact on domain authority, Illyes responded:

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

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

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

“Google doesn’t utilize ‘domain authority'”

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

Mueller’s reaction acknowledged that:

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

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

“‘Domain Authority (DA) is an online search engine ranking rating developed by Moz’ so exists = yes. Search engines do not utilize it.”

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

“We do not utilize domain authority. We normally 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 spoken about this in concerns to some of the older quality updates).”

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

“We don’t utilize domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d recommend beginning a thread in the aid online forum with the information, consisting of the URLs & inquiries you’re seeing modifications in.”

In 2020, Mueller received 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 on, Mueller was asked how crucial Domain Authority was to crawling websites faster on Twitter.

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

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

Up till that point, Google agents appear 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 know 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 a few of those site-wide level metrics may sort of map into comparable things.”

In 2022, Mueller responded to another concern about Domain Authority on Reddit. The question was how to increase a site with a Domain Authority of 31. Mueller answered:

“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 site up in search, you ‘d require to concentrate on something else, or at least utilize other metrics for it. This is mostly why DA as a metric is discredited by lots of SEOs. For context, I do not think I have actually ever searched for the DA for a site in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

He provided additional advice on how one could improve a domain’s authority by focusing on a topic with low competitors and producing “… a sensible collection of wonderful content” about that subject.

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

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

Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Verdict

Domain Authority (DA) by Moz resembles Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority

Rating, and Circulation Metric Ratings by Majestic. They are all authority metrics determined by third-party tools that have no real 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 making use of Domain Authority by Moz on Twitter and Reddit.

He likewise kept in mind that they don’t call anything they do internally “domain authority.”

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

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel