Domain Authority: Is It A Google Ranking Element?

Posted by

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

There are guides everywhere about how you can boost your website’s Domain Authority for much 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 proof regarding whether it is a Google ranking factor.

[Ebook:] Download The Complete Google Ranking Factors Guide

What Is Domain Authority?

To understand whether Domain Authority is a part of the Google algorithm, first, we must understand 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 definition of domain authority is as follows:

“The domain authority of a site describes how important the site is for a particular targeted subject area [and] relevance 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 search engine result pages (SERPs).”

Domain Authority by Moz is determined utilizing dozens of factors, consisting of the number of linking root domains and the total 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 developed a metric for measuring site authority. You will likewise discover that:

  • Ahrefs has an Ahrefs Rank and Domain Ranking. 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 total quality and SEO performance of a domain or webpage.
  • Majestic has Flow Metric Scores that determine the variety of links a site has and the quality of the site’s content.

The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Aspect

Numerous short articles talking about Domain Authority refer to it as an online search engine ranking rating and suggest it is an excellent 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 aspect for online search engine like Google.

There is even a fascinating Twitter 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 evidence becomes clear.

[Discover:] More Google Ranking Factor Insights

Domain Authority As A Ranking Element: The Proof

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

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

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

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

In 2016, Illyes addressed a question about whether adding 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 translate to “domain authority”, so can’t respond to”

A few weeks later on, during a discussion about linking to image files or websites for an effect on domain authority, Illyes replied:

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

From there, you will find lots of verifications from John Mueller, Browse Advocate 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 greater authority.

“Google does not use ‘domain authority'”

In 2018, somebody 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 Twitter if Domain Authority existed– again– Mueller reacted:

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We do not utilize domain authority at all in our algorithms.”

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

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

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

Up till that point, Google agents appear clear that there is no use 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 mean 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 site 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 question about Domain Authority on Reddit. The question was how to increase a website 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 wish to level your website up in search, you ‘d need to concentrate on something else, or at least utilize other metrics for it. This is mostly why DA as a metric is frowned upon by numerous SEOs. For context, I do not believe I’ve ever searched for the DA for a site in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

He provided additional suggestions on how one might enhance a domain’s authority by focusing on a subject with low competition and developing “… a reasonable collection of wonderful material” about that topic.

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

[Recommended 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

Score, and Flow Metric Ratings by Majestic. They are all authority metrics computed 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 repeatedly denied using 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