Domain editor

Is it a Google ranking factor?

Pop Quiz: There is a popular ranking metric obsessed with SEO professionals – a metric that can gauge the quality of a site, estimate how easy / hard it is for that website to rank in the search engines , or tell you how valuable a link from this site might be for your SEO.

Are we talking about Domain Authority or PageRank?

If you said PageRank, congratulations! You’ve finally woken up from that coma you entered around 2015.

For the rest of us, and as you might have guessed from the title of this article, we’re talking about domain authority (DA).


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Why do some think DA is a ranking factor?

First of all: the domain authority is the Moz metric. It’s a score that goes from 0 to 100.

And since Moz released DA, it’s confused the SEO industry.

Domain authority has been compared and confused with Google’s PageRank, specifically the retired toolbar PageRank. Sometimes DA has even been mistakenly called a “Google metric”.

Some SEO gurus have portrayed DA as the golden ticket in Google’s algorithm. It was a promise to improve your ranking by opening the doors to how search engines rank your site.


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These so-called SEO experts are in the driver’s seat of these types of emails that are flooding your inbox.

Gmail screenshot, September 2021

It’s hard to deny it when well-known websites keep spreading confusing information.

Well-known websites spreading confusing information about domain authority.Screenshot from, September 2021

Hmmm, that smells like BS to me.

To find out the truth about domain authority, we went to the source itself – the Moz team.

Domain Authority (DA) vs. Domain Authority (Concept)

Before we continue, we must make an important distinction.

There are two types of “domain authority”.

We’ve already talked about the Domain Authority, or DA, the Moz metric.

But there is also the concept of domain authority.

Basically the idea is that Google gives certain domains more authority – and that you can strengthen the authority of a domain over time by doing things like posting quality content and attracting people. high quality links.

All of this gives some sites an inherent ranking advantage in the SERPs.


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In simpler terms, that would explain why it’s easy for a website like The New York Times to score at No. 1 when Joe’s News Blog, which launched last month, would have a much harder time.

We explore this idea in more detail in our chapter on Website Quality Score.

The claim: domain authority as a ranking factor

Before probing the Moz team on domain authority, it’s important to understand the basics.

What is domain authority?

Moz site stipulate that:

“Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts the likelihood of a website ranking in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Domain authority scores range from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater likelihood of ranking.

Domain Authority is based on data from our Web Link Explorer index and uses dozens of factors in its calculations. The actual domain authority calculation itself uses a machine learning model to predictively find a “best fit” algorithm that most closely correlates our link data with rankings across thousands of search results. real values ​​that we use as standards to evolve.


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Are domain authority and domain rating the same?

To be fair, Moz isn’t the only SEO tool to offer its own search engine algorithm metrics.

After Moz led the way, other SEO tools followed.

Semrush has an authority score.

Semrush dashboard showing the authority score.Screenshot from, July 2021

Ahrefs has the Ahrefs rank.

Ahrefs Site Explorer Dashboard.Screenshot of Ahrefs Site Explorer, September 2021

This is where the domain rating comes from. Ahrefs called Ahrefs Rank “domain rating”. In 2018, Ahrefs improved the formula and changed the name to Ahrefs Rank.


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Ahrefs initially used the formula using backlinks only. In contrast, domain authority was all of your onsite and offsite SEO efforts into one.

Domain authority as a ranking factor: the evidence

No, domain authority is not a ranking factor.

To be clear, Moz stepped forward to clarify this, confirming:

Domain authority is not a Google ranking factor and has no effect on SERPs.

So what is domain authority?

It is a way to assess the performance of a website. It should be used to give an idea if your SEO strategy follows best practices.

Domain authority as a ranking signal: our verdict

Domain authority: is it a Google ranking factor?

Domain authority is just one metric you can use to compare your site to that of a competitor.


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Don’t obsess over it. In fact, you can safely ignore it if you want to.

If your domain authority drops, that doesn’t necessarily mean your Google rank will drop.

But above all, like BBB ratings, it just wouldn’t make sense for Google to use a metric created by a third party to help rank its search results.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita / SearchEngineJournal