Lots of business and online marketers believe that Domain Authority is a huge deal.
There are guides all over about how you can improve your website’s Domain Authority for better rankings in search engine result.
However does a greater Domain Authority actually result in better rankings?
In this chapter, we will explore what Domain Authority is and the evidence regarding whether it is a Google ranking element.
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What Is Domain Authority?
To understand whether Domain Authority is a part of the Google algorithm, first, we need to 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 website explains how essential the site is for a specific targeted discipline [and] relevance with regard to … search words.”
Then, there’s Moz’s Domain Authority or DA score, which specifies the metric as “… an online search engine ranking score established by Moz that forecasts how likely a site is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs).”
Domain Authority by Moz is calculated using dozens of factors, including the number of linking root domains and the overall variety of links. Ball game itself is displayed on a 100-point scale.
It’s worth noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has actually established a metric for determining site authority. You will also discover 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 measures the general quality and SEO performance of a domain or website.
- Majestic has Flow Metric Scores that determine the number of links a site has and the quality of the website’s material.
The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Element
Many articles going over Domain Authority refer to it as a search engine ranking score and recommend it is a good predictor of how well a website will perform in SERPs for targeted keyword phrases.
This can lead some to think that Domain Authority is a ranking element for online search engine like Google.
There is even a fascinating Buy Twitter Verification thread in 2020 from the co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, revealing internal files from Google, recommending Google does have a domain authority-like metric.
However continue reading– the proof ends up being clear.
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Domain Authority As A Ranking Element: The Evidence
Moz’s website states its Domain Authority rating does not impact Google search results.
“Domain Authority is not a Google ranking element and has no impact on the SERPs.”
In 2015, Gary Illyes, Chief of Sunlight and Happiness 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 responded to a concern about whether including or getting rid of pages from a site affected its domain authority.
“so, my issue is that I do not know of anything in ranking that would translate to “domain authority”, so can’t answer”
A few weeks later on, throughout a conversation about linking to image files or webpages for an effect on domain authority, Illyes responded:
“We do not really have ‘general domain authority’. A text relate to anchor text is better though”
From there, you will find lots of confirmations from John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google does not use it.
In December 2016, Mueller reacted to a remark about a desktop domain having higher authority.
“Google does not utilize ‘domain authority'”
In 2018, somebody 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– again– Mueller responded:
“‘Domain Authority (DA) is a 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 similar to Domain Authority on Buy Twitter Verification, Mueller answered:
“We do not use domain authority. We typically attempt to have our metrics as granular as possible, sometimes that’s not so easy, in which case we look at things a bit more comprehensive (eg, we have actually spoken about this in concerns to a few of the older quality updates).”
Later on that year, a Buy Twitter Verification user asked if a drop in search engine traffic was because of a loss in Domain Authority. Mueller responded:
“We do not utilize domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO business. I ‘d suggest starting a thread in the help forum with the information, 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 sites matter in website rankings. His response:
“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 websites quicker on Buy Twitter Verification.
“Just to be clear, Google does not use Domain Authority * at all * when it comes to Browse crawling, indexing, or ranking. This is pretty clear on their website.
We do, nevertheless, index tweets that talk about it.”
Up till that point, Google agents 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 mean a possible DA-like metric in Google’s algorithm.
“I do not understand 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 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 concern 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 Search. Google doesn’t utilize it * at all *. If you want to level your site up in search, you ‘d require to concentrate on something else, or a minimum of utilize other metrics for it. This is mostly why DA as a metric is discredited by lots of SEOs. For context, I do not believe I’ve ever looked up the DA for a site in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”
He used additional suggestions on how one might improve a domain’s authority by concentrating on a topic with low competitors and producing “… a sensible collection of fantastic content” about that topic.
He emphasized that user signals, not any sort of authority rating, would be what moves the needle.
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Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Verdict
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 computed by third-party tools that have no actual result on search engine rankings.
While Mueller once recommended that Google has metrics that map into similar things as Domain Authority, he has actually consistently rejected using Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verification and Reddit.
He also kept in mind that they don’t call anything they do internally “domain authority.”
Therefore, we can conclude that Domain Authority is definitely not a ranking element.
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