SEO questions: page authority and domain authority

You may have come across the terms page authority and domain authority when reading about SEO and wondered what they mean. As an SEO writer, it’s imporant that I educate clients on these terms. In this article, I’ll explain what both terms are and how they affect your visibility online.

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What is page authority?

Simply put, page authority (PA) is a numerical score that predicts how a webpage will perform on search engine result pages (SERPs). PA scores rate the performance of each specific webpage from 1 (bad) to 100 (excellent) using ranking algorithms. 

How are PA scores calculated?
PA ranking was developed by the SEO company, Moz. And is based on specific data from their web index. It take factors several things including quality of page content (what you’ve written and the images and how useful it is to your audience) and domain authority. It also uses shrewd machine learning to predict how that page will rank across thousands of SERPs.

This produces a comparative metric showing how well different webpages rank using a 100 point scale. You can improve your score (and thus your SEO) but it does depend on your starting score. Funnily enough, it is easier to grow from 20 to 30 than it is to grow from 60 to 70. In most cases, it is slow and difficult to get a score greater than 75. Pages higher than this will often be found on really high performing sites such as The New York Times and similar.  

Building your page authority for SEO

Page authority is an aggregate score comprised of different metrics making it hard to influence directly. However, there are several ways you can try and improve your score, which will also help with your SEO. 

Link building
Link building is the process of creating links on other website pages that point back to your own. These links (called backlinks) will increase your page trust and relevance scores in search engines. Here are some excellent link building techniques

Guest posting
Anytime you publish an article on a site that shares content related to yours, you can embed backlinks to help readers to find out more from your site. This will establish you as an authority on the topic and increase your visibility. Guest or cross posting is one of my most recommend techniques to increasing your SEO and website traffic. Especially if you are in the early stages of your SEO strategy. 

Forums and directories
Another good practice is submitting your links on large forums and web directories (such as business directories). You can link people back to your website by answering specific questions on forums and dropping your link for them to learn more.

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What is domain authority?

 ​Domain authority (DA) is another SEO ranking score developed by Moz. But in this case, it predicts how well a whole website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs), rather just a single web page. DA scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores showing a better ability to rank. 

How are DA scores calculated?

​Domain authority scores are calculated by analysing several factors including the total amount of links and root domain age. This score is used to compare different websites and track the ranking progress of a website over time.

This is a composite score that varies more frequently because it covers more data. Your DA score can also be affected by the performance of other websites and this makes it difficult to influence.

Improving your DA

Improving your domain authority is much harder than influencing your page score. This is done to maintain competition and encourage websites to always publish high quality content. The best way to improve your DA is by improving your overall SEO both onpage and off site. But— I cannot say this enough— the most powerful way to improve your SEO is to consistently keep creating high quality content on your website, especially blog posts. You need to be blogging weekly. Fortnightly at most.

Limitations of PA and DA

Even though both scores are considered to be an accurate estimate of a website’s performance on SERPs, these metrics are actually not used by Google (or any other search engine) in analysing search rankings and have no effect on SERPs. However, they are still a good indication of performance and quality of your website. You can also use it as a barometer of how well another site is performing so you know which beneficial sites to pitch your guest posting to. 

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Why are PA and DA important for good SEO?

Having an objective audit of your website performance is a good way to boost SEO. The good part is that page authority and domain authority both share a mutually beneficial relationship. DA improvements on your website will help boost your PA score and vice versa. 

The trick is to use these metrics strategically to track your SEO efforts and see how your website performs under different circumstances over time.

How to check your domain authority

Check your DA here.

If it’s low (think lower than 50) it’s time to start implementing some excellent written SEO content. 

Hire a freelance copywriter that knows SEO to help improve your website today.