Is domain authority a Google ranking factor?

Dec 2, 2022 by
Is domain authority a Google ranking factor?

Domain authority is not a Google ranking factor. Let’s get that out of the way first and foremost. It is, however, a useful SEO tool that you shouldn’t ignore.

There are many misconceptions about SEO and those misconceptions can end up costing marketers a great deal of time and money. Of all the great misconceptions, however, one of the most prevalent is that domain authority impacts Google’s rankings. Because, while we’ve all heard of the importance of authority when it comes to ranking in Google’s great search engine of the past, present, and future, domain authority simply doesn’t matter. And here’s why.

What is domain authority anyway?

A metric developed by search engine experts Moz, domain authority (or DA) is a score ranging from 10-100 that aims to predict where a site will appear in Google’s SERP. The important thing to note here is that, while some might assume otherwise given its widespread usage, it wasn’t created by Google. And Google isn’t the kind of company that’s going to use third-party data to rank its sites.

Your DA is a useful tool, certainly, as Moz has managed to create a system that creates valuable insight into how likely your site is to rank highly, poorly, or not at all. But it isn’t a measurement that can be used to directly improve rankings. It’s a rough measurement tool, nothing more and nothing less.

To calculate DA, the algorithm created by Moz takes into account how many linked root domains make up your site and the total number of links in the site and then compares it against competitors ranking for the same keywords. As you would expect, the sites with lots of high-quality external links tend to gather at the top of these results pages (you’ll see Wikipedia ranking highly more often than not). But that doesn’t mean you should be competing with Wikipedia.

Using DA to your advantage

The best way to make legitimate use of your DA is to only compare it to direct competitors because you will never be able to compete with sites that are all authority and no commerce. Generally speaking, the best way to boost your DA score is to work on your backlinking strategy and we don’t just mean stuffing your existing pages full of them.

Quality over quantity” is the adage of the day here so think about your content and only insert good, relevant links where they make sense. This includes going back over older content and adding and taking away links, where necessary. Outdated content can also be repurposed if you can find a fresh angle for it. Don’t be afraid to check on your direct competition for ideas. Everybody copies each other in this business, it’s not exactly an open secret.

But boosting your DA score is certainly not something you should be engineering an SEO campaign around. It’s simply another metric in your toolbox that’s useful for checking out how you’re doing against the competition. Don’t stress out over it but don’t ignore it either!