Many business and marketers believe that Domain Authority is a big deal.
There are guides everywhere about how you can enhance your website’s Domain Authority for better rankings in search results.
However does a higher Domain Authority actually result in much better rankings?
In this chapter, we will explore what Domain Authority is and the evidence regarding whether it is a Google ranking factor.
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What Is Domain Authority?
To understand whether Domain Authority is a part of the Google algorithm, first, we must understand what Domain Authority is.
Initially, there is domain authority– the idea– and Domain Authority (DA), the metric by Moz.
As VentureSkies describes 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 subject area [and] significance with regard to … search words.”
Then, there’s Moz’s Domain Authority or DA rating, which specifies the metric as “… an online search engine ranking rating established by Moz that anticipates how most likely a website is to rank in online search engine result pages (SERPs).”
Domain Authority by Moz is calculated using dozens of factors, including the variety of linking root domains and the total variety of links. The score itself is shown on a 100-point scale.
It deserves noting that Moz is not the only SEO platform that has established a metric for determining site authority. You will likewise find that:
- Ahrefs has an Ahrefs Rank and Domain Rating. AR ranks sites in the Ahrefs database by the size and quality of their backlinks, while Domain Score reveals 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 measures the total quality and SEO performance of a domain or web page.
- Majestic has Circulation Metric Scores that determine the variety of links a website has and the quality of the website’s content.
The Claim: Domain Authority As A Ranking Element
Lots of articles talking about Domain Authority describe it as an online search engine ranking rating and suggest it is a good predictor of how well a site will carry out 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 an interesting Buy Twitter Verification thread in 2020 from the co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, revealing internal documents from Google, recommending Google does have a domain authority-like metric.
But continue reading– the evidence becomes clear.
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Domain Authority As A Ranking Factor: The Evidence
Moz’s site says its Domain Authority score does not effect Google search results.
“Domain Authority is not a Google ranking aspect and has no result on the SERPs.”
In 2015, Gary Illyes, Chief of Sunshine and Joy at Google, was asked about authority passing from HTTP to HTTPS. His response:
“We don’t have “authority”, but signals should hand down, yes.”
In 2016, Illyes addressed a question about whether adding or getting rid of pages from a website impacted its domain authority.
“so, my issue is that I do not understand of anything in ranking that would translate to “domain authority”, so can’t answer”
A few weeks later on, throughout a discussion about connecting to image files or webpages for an influence on domain authority, Illyes replied:
“We don’t truly have ‘overall domain authority’. A text relate to anchor text is better though”
From there, you will find many verifications from John Mueller, Browse Advocate at Google, that Domain Authority exists however that Google doesn’t utilize it.
In December 2016, Mueller reacted 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 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. Search engines do not use it.”
In 2019, when inquired about a site-wide metric similar to Domain Authority on Buy Twitter Verification, Mueller addressed:
“We don’t utilize domain authority. We usually try to have our metrics as granular as possible, in some cases 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 Buy Twitter Verification user asked if a drop in search engine traffic was due to a loss in Domain Authority. Mueller replied:
“We do not use domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I ‘d suggest beginning a thread in the aid online forum with the details, consisting of the URLs & questions you’re seeing modifications in.”
In 2020, Mueller got another question about domain authority. This time, someone asked if backlinks from high domain authority websites matter in website rankings. His action:
“We don’t utilize domain authority at all in our algorithms.”
A few months later, Mueller was asked how crucial Domain Authority was to crawling web pages quicker on Buy Twitter Verification.
“Simply to be clear, Google does not utilize Domain Authority * at all * when it comes to Search crawling, indexing, or ranking. This is pretty clear on their site.
We do, nevertheless, index tweets that discuss it.”
Up until that point, Google representatives appear 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 don’t 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 might kind of map into comparable things.”
In 2022, Mueller responded to another concern about Domain Authority on Reddit. The question 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 require DA for Google Browse. Google does not utilize it * at all *. If you wish to level your website up in search, you ‘d need to focus on something else, or at least utilize other metrics for it. This is mainly why DA as a metric is frowned upon by lots of SEOs. For context, I do not think I’ve ever searched for the DA for a website in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”
He provided extra suggestions on how one could improve a domain’s authority by focusing on a subject with low competition and producing “… an affordable collection of fantastic material” about that subject.
He highlighted that user signals, not any type of authority rating, would be what moves the needle.
[Advised Read:] Google Ranking Aspects: Fact or Fiction
Domain Authority As A Ranking Signal: Our Decision
Domain Authority (DA) by Moz resembles Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, the Semrush Authority Rating, and Circulation Metric Scores by Majestic. They are all authority metrics calculated by third-party tools that have no real effect on online search engine rankings.
While Mueller once recommended that Google has metrics that map into comparable things as Domain Authority, he has actually consistently rejected using Domain Authority by Moz on Buy Twitter Verification 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 absolutely not a ranking aspect.
Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel
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