Is Domain Authority a GOOGLE Ranking Factor?
Search Engine Optimization

Is Domain Authority a GOOGLE Ranking Factor?

11/05/2022 2:07 AM by Admin in Seo


Is Domain Authority a factor that affects search engine rankings? As the experts discuss Domain Authority, learn more about it.

Domain Authority is regarded as being important by several businesses and marketers.

There are numerous tutorials available on how to increase the Domain Authority of your website to achieve higher search engine rankings.

But does having a higher Domain Authority result in greater rankings?

In this article, we will explore what Domain Authority is and the evidence as to whether it is a ranking factor in Google's Algorithms.

What is domain authority?

The term "domain authority" (DA) refers to the quantity of relevant backlinks that point to your website from other trustworthy websites. Your score is also affected by the relevancy of those backlinks.

To begin with, we must define Domain Authority in order to comprehend whether it is a factor in the Google algorithm.

First, there is domain authority, both as a concept and as a Moz metric (DA).

The general definition of domain authority, according to VentureSkies, is as follows:

“The domain authority of a website describes how important the site is for a specific targeted subject area [and] relevance with respect to … search words..”

Then there is the Moz's domain authority (DA) score, which is described as "...a search engine ranking score produced by Moz that forecasts how likely it is for a website to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs)."

Moz's Domain Authority is derived utilizing dozens of factors, including the number of connecting root domains and overall number of links. A scale of 100 points is used to represent the score itself.

It's important to keep in mind that Moz is not the first SEO platform to have created a metric to measure website authority.

You'll also explore:

Ahrefs offers a Domain Rating and Ahrefs Rank. Domain Rating measures the strength of a website's backlink profile in comparison to other websites in the Ahrefs database on a scale of 100 points, while AR evaluates websites in the Ahrefs database by the amount and quality of their backlinks.

A basic domain authority checker is available in San SEO Tools. It considers content and authority (depending on the quantity and quality of backlinks).
Page authority is also measured by page auhority checker. Similar to DA, but focused on a single page rather than a whole site. A one to 100 logarithmic scale is used to calculate page authority as well.

The overall quality and SEO performance of a domain or webpage are measured by Semrush's Authority Score.

A website's link count and the caliber of its content are measured by Majestic's Flow Metric Scores.

Is Domain Authority a Ranking Factor in Google's Algorithm?

Many articles on domain authority use the term "search engine ranking score" and claim it is a reliable indicator of how well a website will rank for specific keyword phrases.

This may cause some people to think that Domain Authority influences how well a website ranks on search engines like Google.

Rand Fishkin, the co-founder of Moz, posted an intriguing thread on Twitter in 2020 that included internal Google documents and suggested that Google may really use a metric resembling domain authority.

But keep reading  the evidence about domain authority becomes clear.

The Evidence for Domain Authority as a Ranking Factor

The Domain Authority score of Moz, according to the company's website, has no impact on Google search results.

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

Gary Illyes, Google's head of sunshine and happiness, was questioned in 2015 regarding authority passing from HTTP to HTTPS. His answer:

“We don’t have “authority”, but signals should pass on, yes.”

Illyes responded to a query regarding the impact of adding or deleting pages from a website on its domain authority in 2016.

“so, my problem is that I don’t know of anything in ranking that would translate to “domain authority”, so can’t answer”

A few weeks later, Illyes responded to a question regarding the effect of linking to image files or webpages on domain authority.
 

“We don’t really have ‘overall domain authority’. A text link with anchor text is better though”

 

From there, you may get numerous confirmations from John Mueller, Google's Search Advocate, that Domain Authority does indeed exist but is not utilized by Google.

Mueller responded to a remark about a desktop domain having more authority in December 2016.

“Google doesn’t use ‘domain authority’”

On a Reddit AMA with Mueller in 2018, someone questioned the existence of Domain Authority.

In his reply, Mueller recognized that:

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

Later that year, Mueller responded to a Twitter question on Domain Authority by saying:

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

In 2019, Mueller responded to a question on Twitter about a site-wide metric akin to Domain Authority:

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

A Twitter user questioned whether a decline in search engine traffic was caused by a loss in Domain Authority later that year. Müller retorted:

“We don’t use domain authority, that’s a metric from an SEO company. I’d recommend starting a thread in the help forum with the details, including the URLs & queries you’re seeing changes in.”

Mueller was asked once again about domain authority in 2020. This time, a question regarding the importance of backlinks from websites with high domain authorities was raised. His answer:

“We don’t use domain authority at all in our algorithms.”

A few months later, Mueller was questioned on Twitter about the significance of domain authority for quickly indexing websites.

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

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

Up until that time, Google representatives appeared to be very clear that Domain Authority was useless. However, Mueller was questioned about whether Google used a metric akin to domain authority in a late 2020 interview with SearchLove.

This response, in contrast to the others, suggests that Google's algorithm may include a metric similar to DA.

“I don’t 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 some of those site-wide level metrics might kind of map into similar things.”

Mueller responded to a different Reddit query concerning domain authority in 2022. How to improve a website with a Domain Authority of 31 was the issue. Mueller replied:

“I’m kinda torn. On the one hand, you do not need DA for Google Search. Google doesn’t use it *at all*. If you’d like to level your site up in search, you’d need to focus on something else, or at least use other metrics for it. This is mostly why DA as a metric is frowned upon by many SEOs. For context, I don’t think I’ve ever looked up the DA for a site in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.”

He also provided tips on how to boost a domain's authority by focusing on a low-competition issue and developing "...a reasonable collection of outstanding content" about it.

He made it clear that user signals—not any kind of authority score—would be what causes the needle to move. 

Cleary, Google does not use Domain Authority as a ranking factor when determining how to rank websites.

Wrapping Up 

The Semrush Authority Score, Flow Metric Scores by Majestic, Domain Rank (DR) by Ahrefs, and Domain Authority (DA) by Moz are comparable metrics.

They are all authority indicators that are determined by external tools and have no real impact on search engine results.

Mueller has frequently denied using Domain Authority on Twitter and Reddit, while having once claimed that Google had measures that correspond to comparable concepts as Domain Authority.

He added that what they do inside is referred to as "domain authority."

As a result, we can say with certainty that Domain Authority is not a ranking criteria.