Domain authority (DA), also known as thought leadership, is a concept that refers to a website’s “relevance.” Presumably, search engines algorithms place a lot of importance on this aspect of a site, which directly affects its ranking.
It is often described as consisting of four main aspects: Prestige of a website and its authors, quality of its information, centrality (amount of unidirectional connections), and the competitiveness of its niche.
Domain authority and MOZ
Usually, when most people reference domain authority, they are actually referring to Moz’s DA rank. An algorithm and metric that accounts for interpretations of DA’s aspects, to predict a website’s performance in SERPs.
By looking at the domains that point to a site, the number of inbound links, and other proprietary characteristics, Moz assigns sites a number between 0 and 100. This number is supposed to mirror the appraisal that search engines – like Google – have for the site, thus suggesting its likelihood of ranking.
Moz’s DA rank is meant to be used in a comparative setting. A standalone rank – without context – is meaningless.
Domain authority and Google rankings
Google has reiterated on several occasions that they do not account for such a thing as domain authority. At least not as a single aspect.
Google considers over 200 different variables when deciding which links go above which others. A page’s content and inbound links are chief among those, followed most likely by RankBrain in importance.
Nevertheless, DA has its optimization uses and can be taken as a general quality gauge most of the time.