Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) are metrics developed by Moz to predict how well a website or web page will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). They provide scores on a 100-point logarithmic scale that roughly correlate with search ranking potential.
Understanding Domain Authority
Domain Authority measures the strength and authority of an entire domain. It is calculated based on a variety of factors, including:
The quantity and quality of inbound links from other domains, particularly high authority sites
Social sharing activity
A higher DA score generally signals to search engines that a domain is more reputable and trustworthy. As a result, websites with higher DA tend to outrank those with lower scores.
While not an official Google ranking factor, DA has proven to correlate well with organic search visibility and traffic. Most websites that consistently rank #1 in SERPs have DA scores above 50.
How is Domain Authority calculated?
Moz’s algorithm analyzes dozens of link and website metrics to assign a DA score. A few of the key signals considered include:
Root domains linking in – The number and authority level of external sites linking to pages on your domain. More links from high authority sites will improve a website’s DA.
Quality links – Moz filters out artificial and manipulative links from the DA analysis. Only organic, trustworthy backlinks count positively towards DA.
Trust flow – The “trust” passed through links as determined by Moz’s machine learning models. Trustworthy, transparent sites better facilitate authority flow.
So in essence, DA measures how trusted and authoritative the entire domain is based on external signals. The higher the DA, the stronger its ability to rank well in SERPs.
DA vs. Google PageRank
Domain Authority serves a similar purpose to Google’s classic PageRank metric, which also quantified website reputability and ranking capability on a logarithmic scale from 0-10.
However, Moz’s DA provides a more actionable modern alternative:
DA uses a larger 100-point scale allowing for more granularity.
Scores update much more frequently compared to slow-moving PageRank.
DA provides contextual ranking analysis relative to competitors in a niche.
The machine learning model consistently evaluates new link metrics that didn’t exist when PageRank launched.
For these reasons, DA provides more meaningful and timely data for evaluating and comparing SEO strength across websites.
Understanding Page Authority
Moz also calculates a Page Authority (PA) score for each page on a domain. This gauge the authority and link equity passed specifically to individual pages from inner-site links and external page-level links, amongst a variety of other on-page and off-page factors.
PA works very similarly to DA but is more granular, isolating the ranking potential of specific pages rather than entire domains. Scores typically fall between 1-100.
What Impacts Page Authority?
PA is influenced by both on-site and off-site factors including:
Links to page – The quantity, quality, and authority level of external websites linking specifically to the page. The higher the authority of the referrer pages, the more PA gets passed.
Domain Authority – Pages on high DA websites start with an elevated authority trust baseline before other metrics are factored.
On-site optimization – Strong organic traffic signals, engaged dwell time, keyword targeting and authority flow via internal links boost PA. Proper meta data and structure improve authority flow.
Essentially, PA judges individual pages by evaluating the link graph and on-page optimization strengths specifically related to that content. Pages with higher PA scores tend to achieve better search visibility and click-through-rates.
Using DA and PA Scores for SEO Competitive Analysis
Here are some of the ways SEO consultants, agencies and everyday website owners use Domain Authority and Page Authority scores:
Site Audits – DA and PA allow for macro- and micro-analysis of ranking ability and opportunities compared to competitors. The scores spotlight pages and domains to prioritize for optimization.
Tracking Ranking Potential – Watching changes in DA/PA over months shows if efforts are successfully improving authority metrics even before jumps in actual Google search rankings.
Link Prospecting – Identifying the top pages and domains linking to high-performing competitors reveals valuable link-building targets.
Benchmarking – Moz provides DA/PA scores for all domains and pages in its database, facilitating massive benchmarking analysis. Comparisons inform architecture changes or topic-specific optimization needs.
Spotting Anomalies – Usage alerts notify of surprising DA/PA spikes that may signal an unnatural link scheme by a competitor. This cues further investigation or algorithmic disavowal filing.
Reporting – Simple, standardized DA/PA reporting shows clear SEO progress.
Moz’s metrics are certainly not a crystal ball. But they provide powerful predictive guidance and competitive visibility unavailable anywhere else. Link signals are highly correlated with rankings, so leveraging DA and PA gives SEOs an advantage.
Improving Domain Authority and Page Authority
Here are 8 proven tactics to safely build DA and PA over time:
Earn High Authority Backlinks – Getting trustworthy sites like Wikipedia, YouTube and Amazon to link back improves authority the most. But stay patient – build them editorially, not through manipulative tactics.
Strengthen Existing Links – Plug linking domains into Moz’s Link Intersect or Majestic to surface common opportunities. Reach out requesting inner-page links or link anchor text optimization to multiply the authority passed.
Enhance On-Page Factors – Ensure pages explicitly target buyer keywords in natural language, provide immense information value and earn engagement signals. Optimize page speed and meta data.
** structure** – Silo topical content and intentionally link between relevant pages. Funnel authority juice through key verticals.
Unpublish Low Quality Pages – Prune thin, dead or extremely low authority pages dragging overall domain authority down by blocking them via robots.txt. Prevent link equity drainage.
Disavow Toxic Links – Investigate unnatural links using Moz’s Spam Score and upload any toxic backlinks for algorithmic suppression to prevent manual penalties.
Wait Patiently – Authoritative backlink profiles, trust signals and page structures take patience and time. But they compound, accelerating growth curves over years.
Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) are link popularity and authority metrics scored from 1-100. They predict organic search ranking capability.
DA evaluates ranking potential of an entire domain, while PA isolates authority scores for specific pages.
High DA and PA websites tend to achieve better SEO visibility through higher rankings, traffic and conversions.
SEOs use DA and PA extensively for optimization research, tracking, goal-setting and reporting.
Safely developing DA and PA revolves around earning contextual backlinks from trusted sites over long periods. Enhancing on-page and internal signals also boost authority flow.
In conclusion, Domain Authority and Page Authority offer invaluable metrics for on-site optimizations as well as gauging competitive visibility. While genuine authority building remains a gradual, multi-year process, DA and PA metrics spotlight progress to help companies prioritize organic growth strategies. When leveraged properly, they provide actionable data to boost SEO rankings, traffic acquisition and revenue.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I completely rely just on DA and PA for search optimization?
A: No. DA and PA metrics provide useful guidance, but no single metric can ensure high search visibility alone. Still utilize holistic technical/content audits and primary ranking factors.
Q: What is a good DA and PA score?
A: Most ranking #1 result pages have DA 45+ and PA 45+. Strive for DA 60+ and PA 50+ for competitive visibility in popular fields. But scores vary widely across niches.
Q: Can I increase DA/PA scores instantly or quickly?
A: No. Safe white hat authority building requires a gradual, multi-year investment. Some sites start with higher trust baselines, but patience remains key.
Q: Are there any negatives to having a high DA or PA score?
A: Not inherently, unless it’s inflated by artificial manipulative links. Naturally high authority sites enjoy search visibility benefits without downsides.
Q: How often do DA and PA scores update?
A: DA updates roughly once per month, while PA scores update more frequently to isolate latest content-level authority flows. Sign up for Moz alerts to track changes.
Q: What is the maximum DA or PA score a website can earn?
A: The logarithmic scoring scale theoretically tops out at 100 DA/PA, but scores above 70+ become extremely rare. Only a tiny fraction of the most authoritative sites on the internet can achieve this pinnacle.
Q: Can new websites have high DA or PA scores?
A: Extremely unlikely. Earning genuinely high authority and link equity signals takes considerable time. Most sites start with single digit scores before gradually building over years.
Q: Do expired domains passes DA/PA authority?
A: Sometimes. If an expired domain earned high authority previously, some metrics may remain as new owners rebuild. But don’t buy domains just for prior DA/PA – earning new links organically outweighs this.
Q: Is DA the same thing as Google PageRank?
A: No. They evaluate similar website trust and authority factors, but Moz DA provides more meaningful, frequently updated data tailored specifically to correlate with organic search rankings.
Q: Can individual web pages have different PA scores?
A: Yes, all pages are scored individually based on authority metrics specifically benefiting themselves only. Target pages can be boosted through on-page and inward-linking optimizations.
Q: Is there a way to estimate DA/PA scores before Moz provides official metrics?
A: Yes. MozBar’s Link Explorer provides Site Authority and Page Authority estimations reaching ~95% accuracy compared to actual Moz scores. These help evaluate websites before subscribing.
Q: Should irrelevant niche links be disavowed to boost DA/PA?
A: No. By default Moz filters out irrelevant niche links, only evaluating topically relevant domains. Plus, adding unnecessary disavowals risks algorithm penalties.
Q: Can competitor backlink analysis reveal ways to improve my own site’s DA/PA?
Yes, absolutely. Analyzing the types of links earning high DA/PA competitors visibility spotlights new target link prospects and onboarding optimization opportunities.
Q: How are toxic links identified and disavowed without hurting DA/PA?
A: Moz’s Spam Score metric helps identify sketchy backlinks. Use Moz’s Disavow Tool providing granular control over link disavowals to maintain ranking authority.
Q: Why does my homepage have much lower PA than inner pages?
A: Homepages often serve navigational purposes, with limited opportunity to target keywords. Inner pages better isolate topics, earning higher engagement and authority. Funnel juice inward.
Q: How can I determine the DA/PA authority required to rank #1 for a target keyword?
A: Check MozBar’s Keyword Difficulty metric for the term along with DA/PA levels of current top-ranking domains. Exceeding 85% of leader metrics signals opportunity.
Q: Why did my website’s PA score drop recently?
A: Score shifts over short periods are normal. But drops may signal toxic links need disavowing or that competitors earned greater authority metrics. Refer to Moz alerts for context.
Q: Is it bad for Page A to link to lower PA Page B?
A: No. In fact, intentionally linking authority from stronger pages to weaker ones can help boost overall domain authority distribution. Funneling equity this way is encouraged.