I haven't done much SEO in a while and realize there have been many Google changes. However one thing that I always thought was if you optimized your page using good on-page SEO and had some decent external SEO (links, social, etc) that you could overtake authority sites that were not targeting the keyword at all. I haven't found that to be the case lately so was curious if the authorities I am trying to beat are too hard.
Example keyword: best XXXX for YYYY and ZZZZ
None of the results in the Top-10 use that title at all (most have up to the X's and Y's). However the "ZZZZ" is mentioned in their content although in some cases only one time.
Anyway just curious if anyone has any thoughts on this. Is domain authority a much larger ranking signal now in Google?