Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex subject. Many tactics and strategies are employed to improve the ranking of a web page or site. Monitoring these efforts is crucial. Domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA) are two key metrics useful for measuring and monitoring the search engine optimization (SEO) of website content. Each metric allows web site owners and managers to gain insight and intelligence not only on their pages, domains, and link profiles. A natural question to ask is, What more important domain authority or page authority in SEO ranking?
The PA and DA metrics also provide useful intelligence on the web site performance of competitors. These metrics are used to predict ranking success. Indeed, many consider them to be the best predictor of ranking success. It is important to understand how these metrics are calculated and why PA and DA scores may vary over time.
What is Page Authority?
PA is a proprietary metric calculated by SEOmoz to assess the likely ranking strength of a specific, single web page as measured by Google. The focus is an individual web page. The metric is calculated using a complex algorithm. In general terms, the algorithm is based on the Linkscape web index and includes a range of other variables such as link counts, mozRank and mozTrust. The algorithm is dynamic in that it constantly changes by comparing predicted rankings with actual rankings and updating the algorithm parameters accordingly.
The bigger the PA score the better; the higher the PA score, the greater the potential for that specific web page to rank well in search results delivered by the Google search engine.
The metric is usually calculated as a score out of 100 on a logarithmic scale. In other words, the movement in a PA score reflects proportionate change. A change from 20 to 30 is greater than a change from 70 to 80 and greater still than one from 80 to 90.
PA metrics can be found in various SEO platforms and online marketing platforms on the web. A PA score for a web page is constantly updated. It is not unusual therefore for the score to constantly fluctuate.
What is Domain Authority?
Whereas PA assesses the likely Google ranking of a single web page, DA measures the likely ranking strength of an entire domain or sub-domain, similar to MozRank and MozTrust.
DA, like PA, is also is based on a complex, dynamic algorithm. It can be measured using tools such as Open Site Explorer or the SEP toolbar called MozBar provided free by the SEOmoz, the well-known provider of SEO software.
SEOmoz is a private firm that develops specialist, SEO software. It provides customers with easy-to-use tools and online tutorials that make SEO achievable and accessible by everyone. It also provides a robust link intelligence application programming interface (API) and hosts a popular online SEO web community. It is based in Seattle Washington.
To calculate DA, SEOmoz uses more than 150 variables in the calculation. This algorithm is constantly refined and improved to better track actual Google rankings.
How to Use PA and DA Scores
The PA and DA scores are high level or summary metrics that attempt to assess many separate qualities that contribute to Google ranking success. The scores are best used as comparative metrics.
It is best to compare PA and DA scores against other sites over time as opposed to a single-point, historic measure of the SEO effectiveness of an individual page/site. The PA score for one web page can be compared to the score for other peer pages. The DA score for a domain can be compared to the score for other peer domains. The higher the score, the more the pages/domains are likely to rank highly.
The PA and DA scores can also be validly used to track the ranking strength of a page/site over time. The more persistent is a rising score, the more likely the page or domain will outrank competitors.
Metrics like mozRank are narrower and more specific than the PA and DA scores. MozRank indicates the popularity of individual web links. Similarly, a link count shows the raw quantity of pages/sites linking to a page/site. By contrast, the more generalized PA and DA scores assess how successful those links are in boosting Google rank. In this sense, the PA and DA scores can help identify the pages/sites that have the more powerful link profiles.
SEO Best Practice
Ultimately, in the never ending competitive battle for online web supremacy, content is key. If anything, this is becoming clearer to a wider audience and hence its importance is growing in competitive importance.
Unlike many other SEO metrics, PA and DA are difficult for a site owner to influence easily. This reflects the aggregate nature of the metrics; they are made-up or comprised of many different pieces or components.No one single piece has an overbearing influence on the overall metric score. To improve PA or DA, a site owner has to improve many different aspects of the overall site.
This feature of PA is deliberate. It intentionally seeks to mirror the Google ranking process. Since Google takes into account many factors, PA must incorporate many factors as well. Perhaps the single most important area for a web site owner to focus on is the link profile of a site. A site owner can improve PA, and overall SEO, by establishing more links from and with other well-linked comparable sites.
Readers interested in deepening their knowledge of this subject should learn more about SEOmoz PRO. This suite of software, tools, and resources is designed by SEOmoz for its clients to maximize their SEO. PRO members or subscribers receive a campaign-based web application, tens of specific SEO tools, access to specialist webinars and Open Site Explorer.
In the final analysis, What more important domain authority or page authority in SEO ranking? is a difficult question to answer. PA and DA are both equally important as tools to guide better ranking by Google. Neither can be ignored. Each has its own merits; ignore it at your own peril.
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