Post Updated [April 2019]
A lot of experts point to page and domain authority as a critical aspect of Internet marketing when they discuss SEO optimization. What they fail to do is really explain it in detail.
What is the difference between domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA)? Can anyone tell you how to improve page authority? Why did my domain authority decrease?
In this article, we will go into detail about this topic. I will explain in detail what page and domain authority mean and how they differ. You’ll also learn about improving them and what mistakes to avoid that leads to decreased authority.
What is page authority? Simply put, it is a score that can predict how well a specific page will perform on the search engine result pages (SERPs). The score ranges from 1 to 100, with 100 being perfect.
Page authority is scored using logarithms to rank each page. Improving your score significantly can be easy or difficult depending on your starting point. If your score is low, in the 20s, it will be easier to grow that to the 30s than it would be to grow a page from the 60s to 70s. Getting better results when you’ve hit greater than 75 on your score will be slow and difficult.
To receive a decent score, you need to have a goal in mind. The more specific your goal is, the better. When you have a specific goal, you can begin building your score.
There are several strategies to build authority:
Link building is the way to create links back to your website to help grow your page authority. If you have great content, people will do this for you with time. You can speed the process up in a few different ways.
Back links will increase your trust and the amount of sites linking to your page. Spend time cultivating these, because with time they become older, and search engines will consider their information less relevant.
As counterintuitive as it sounds, working with your competitors can help both of you grow together. Your links will be more relevant and you can network in a larger way to gain more impact and traction.
2. Guest Posts
Guest posts can help your results, too. Every time you publish an article somewhere that has content related to your site, you can create a backlink to your website for users to find out more information. This will establish you as an authority and get you noticed and shared across reputable and established sites.
Don’t spend too much time on this tactic, though, because while it can increase your traffic, the new Google algorithm update takes this tactic into account, so it won’t increase your rank as quickly.
3. RSS Feeds
RSS feeds are your friend. This system publishes information that is frequently updated. These channels include text and metadata. It will push new information to end users every time your blog or website gets an update!
Use forums to your advantage. A lot of trusted sites include question and answer sites. These big names will hold more authority.
If you answer user questions, you can link them back to your website for more in depth explanations. This allows robots (called web crawlers) to find your links and drives traffic to your site organically for people who are searching for an authoritative answer to their questions.
Forums are similar outlets for this technique. Reddit users are extremely active, and this single website contains infinite niche markets and fandoms. They have forums for every conceivable thing the Internet contains with an extremely active user base. This authority will transfer if you stay active with relevant content and back links.
Use directories. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it still works. When you use a directory catalogue, you can target niche markets and improve your authority.
Users can find resources using site directories the same way they could in a phone book. They simply look up a category in the catalogue and are directed to a list of resources that are considered relevant. This method can take time because these directories are often updated by humans instead of robots to ensure that links are genuinely relevant and add value.
Why Do Changes Happen?
Changes with your links affect your sore. If your links are no longer relevant or fresh, you could easily drop in the ranking. This holds true of the sites that link to you drop your score. Because these scores are built on linking, your scores are directly tied to the success or failures of the collective sites linking back to yours.
Growth is a slow moving balance, too. If a site that is already ranked reasonably well begins to grow its score more rapidly than usual, they may mark it as a harmful site and lower your score.
You can track your score through Moz. There are other tools popping up regularly, but Moz is still the recognized expert when it comes to page authority.
Page authority ranks the content within a website. Domain authority is a score of the website’s overall authority. This score takes into account all of the published content.
Ranking works in much the same way as individual page rankings, but domain authority is more of a composite score. This score varies more frequently than individual page results because it uses much more data. For example, if another website were to gain a billion links overnight, then everyone’s authority ranking will drop in comparison to that site. These are meant to be relativistic comparisons and not an absolute value of individual worth.
Moz updated their algorithm in March of 2019. Here are the highlights that you need to know: The new authority calculator is much more adept when it comes to understanding sites that don’t rank for any keywords.
Instead of using linear data, they changed their model. Now, they work like a network, with multiple nodes and neural pathways. This allows for more nuance, so people cheating the system and manipulating their data are no longer able to jump their rankings easily.
They’ve also changed the factors that they allow to impact score. Now, they don’t just look at backlink numbers. They are able to offer Spam Scores based on the quality of these links and the type of traffic they see.
This means that their score will be an extremely trustworthy metric in determining how well your site will do in searches.
Changing Domain Authority
It’s much harder to change your domain score than it is to affect your page score. This is done on purpose so that you know how competitive your site is. Improving your overall SEO score will help improve your domain authority.
We offer some simple tricks that will help boost your domain’s authority. Here are some of the ways you can influence your score.
Determining the cause of a change isn’t as simple as page authority because the algorithm takes more things into account for this score. There are a few things that could have caused your authority score to change.
Sometimes, it takes time to get recognized. New links are not instantly uploaded to their index. Wait for the crawler to notice you and your score will reflect the new results. The crawler is also not complete with coverage. If they miss a few of your linking domains, you will drop some compared to prior rankings.
Another factor is other sites. If another site gains or loses a large amount of authority, all other pages will be affected. Remember, domain authority is relativistic. It reflects how you rank among all other domains available, not just how an individual page will do in key searches.
If your links are from sites that Google doesn’t recognize, they won’t count towards your score. The idea behind building authority is that you become a trusted site, which happens by having already recognized and trusted sites link to you, giving you their trust and essentially endorsing your content.
If your domain is low in the rankings, it will be hit harder when changes occur. Relativity has advantages when you’re on top and disadvantages when you’re not.
A good way to understand how relative metrics work is by looking at other rankings. Let’s say that Australia has the lowest gun violence ranking in the world in 2019. Between now and 2020, they decrease their instances of gun violence even further. Instinctively, you would expect that this would cause their ranking to increase and guarantee that they remain on top, right?
Actually, that isn’t the case. Australia, being the best, can only improve so much. They are also not the only country working on decreasing gun violence. New Zealand reformed their laws in early 2019. If New Zealand’s reforms have a major impact on the occurrence of gun violence in their country, they may become an even safer place than Australia, taking over the number 1 position.
The same sort of system applies to domain authority rankings. Everyone is trying to improve their spot using a variety of methods, and they all improve at difference paces. Keep this in mind as you strive for better SEO results.
Who Assigns Authority?
When it comes to both domain and page authority, it helps to know who assigns these rankings. Knowing who assigns authority and how they decide the rankings helps you understand how to position your site for success.
First and foremost, it is important to note that authority is not linked to improved Google rankings in searches. There are a host of other factors that Google considers, and we will touch on them briefly after talking about the authority assignations.
The most common ranking system is Moz. MozRank is a way to assign numerical value to link popularity. It’s their version of Google’s Page Rank service. You can earn more rankings with Moz based on other pages that link to yours and how much trust those sites have.
MozTrust is the ranking Moz gives that determines how trustworthy a site is for users. Instead of looking at popularity, this algorithm gives you credit for how trustworthy your site and the linked sites tied to you are. It’s a great endorsement to receive links form places that innately have trust, like government organizations and major news networks.
Other organizations also measure this, but Moz is the recognized leader. Aside from Moz, the only other recognized rankings come from Google.
Google used a variety of tools to determine your authority. They originated Page Rank, which was the single algorithm they used to measure rankings at the time. It measured link connections between pages in much the same way MozRanks does. Unlike Moz, they tried to determine how important those links were. Pages with links to and from other important pages could increase their authority. Pages without these links might lose some.
The authority didn’t guarantee great placement in search results, though. The Page Rank was only one piece of Google’s puzzle. Their full algorithm factors in much more than link importance. Words within links matter to Google.
These days, they use artificial intelligence to analyze search worthiness. Their Google Rank Brain system takes over 200 signals into account when determining page rankings. No individual signal grants or demerits authority on its own.
In a attempt to preserve the integrity of their system, Google doesn’t actually give very many details about which signals are used to calculate rankings and how they are weighted. The end goal of this system is to ensure that authoritative content makes the top of the list.
They also use humans to help rate the quality of their results. They are each given some guidelines on how to flag low-quality sites. While these raters do not directly impact specific pages, they are taken into account when determining how to change the algorithm to produce better results.
Page and domain authority are similar. Page authority determine the success of your content when it comes to search keywords. Domain authority determines how your domain ranks compared to every other domain. Both of them are calculated using a system of trusted links.
By having backlinks from trusted sites, you are essentially earning endorsements for your content. More trusted sites are vouching for your own trustworthiness and quality. While Moz is a useful tool, keep in mind that authority does not necessarily reflect the success of your search results or your Google search rankings.