Numerous business and marketers believe that Domain Authority is a huge deal.
There are guides all over about how you can increase your website’s Domain Authority for better rankings in search results.
But does a greater Domain Authority really result in 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 belongs of the Google algorithm, initially, we should understand what Domain Authority is.
Initially, there is domain authority– the principle– 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 explains how essential the site is for a particular targeted discipline [and] relevance with respect to … search words.”
Then, there’s Moz’s Domain Authority or DA rating, which specifies the metric as “… an online search engine ranking score developed by Moz that anticipates how likely a site is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs).”
Domain Authority by Moz is computed utilizing dozens of elements, consisting of the variety of connecting root domains and the total number of links. The score itself is displayed on a 100-point scale.
It’s worth noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has developed a metric for measuring site authority. You will also 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 Ranking 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 overall quality and SEO performance 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
Numerous articles going over Domain Authority describe it as an online search engine ranking rating and suggest it is a great predictor of how well a site will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword phrases.
This can lead some to believe that Domain Authority is a ranking aspect 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 files from Google, recommending Google does have a domain authority-like metric.
However continue reading– the evidence ends up being clear.
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Domain Authority As A Ranking Element: The Proof
Moz’s website states its Domain Authority score does not effect Google search results page.
“Domain Authority is not a Google ranking element and has no result on the SERPs.”
In 2015, Gary Illyes, Chief of Sunlight and Happiness at Google, was inquired about authority passing from HTTP to HTTPS. His response:
“We do not have “authority”, but signals ought to hand down, yes.”
In 2016, Illyes addressed a question about whether adding or removing pages from a site impacted its domain authority.
“so, my problem is that I don’t know of anything in ranking that would translate to “domain authority”, so can’t respond to”
A couple of weeks later, throughout a conversation about linking to image files or websites for an effect on domain authority, Illyes replied:
“We don’t truly have ‘general domain authority’. A text relate to anchor text is better though”
From there, you will discover many confirmations from John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists but that Google does not use it.
In December 2016, Mueller responded 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 action 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 an online search engine ranking score developed by Moz’ so exists = yes. Search engines don’t use it.”
In 2019, when inquired about a site-wide metric comparable to Domain Authority on Buy Twitter Verified, Mueller responded to:
“We do not use 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 look at things a bit broader (eg, we’ve spoken about this in concerns to a few of the older quality updates).”
Later on that year, a Buy Twitter Verified user asked if a drop in search engine traffic was due to a loss in Domain Authority. Mueller replied:
“We don’t utilize domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO business. I ‘d advise beginning a thread in the assistance forum with the information, consisting of the URLs & queries you’re seeing modifications in.”
In 2020, Mueller received another concern about domain authority. This time, somebody asked if backlinks from high domain authority websites matter in site rankings. His action:
“We do not utilize domain authority at all in our algorithms.”
A couple of months later, Mueller was asked how important Domain Authority was to crawling web pages much faster on Buy Twitter Verified.
“Simply 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 website.
We do, however, index tweets that discuss it.”
Up until 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 prior to, this response hints at a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.
“I don’t 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 might type of map into similar things.”
In 2022, Mueller addressed another question about Domain Authority on Reddit. The concern 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 require DA for Google Browse. Google doesn’t utilize it * at all *. If you want to level your site up in search, you ‘d require to focus on something else, or a minimum of use other metrics for it. This is primarily why DA as a metric is frowned upon by numerous SEOs. For context, I don’t believe I’ve ever searched for the DA for a site in the 14 years I have actually been doing this.”
He used extra recommendations on how one could improve a domain’s authority by focusing on a topic with low competition and creating “… an affordable collection of wonderful content” about that topic.
He emphasized that user signals, not any sort of authority score, would be what moves the needle.
[Suggested Read:] Google Ranking Aspects: 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 Rating, and Circulation Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics determined by third-party tools that have no actual effect on search engine rankings.
While Mueller as soon as recommended that Google has metrics that map into similar things as Domain Authority, he has repeatedly rejected using Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verified and Reddit.
He likewise noted that they don’t call anything they do internally “domain authority.”
For that reason, we can conclude that Domain Authority is definitely not a ranking factor.
Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel
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