This post was originally published on the StitchDX blog.
My last post introduced the concept of website authority (aka domain authority or DA), and the competitive advantages it can provide your brand in search. Now I’d like to discuss DA’s related metric (actually, the metric from which DA derives): Page Authority, and how you can apply it to your SEO efforts.
What is page authority?
As I’ve written previously, website authority measures how reliably accurate your site’s information is for a particular search query. Created by Moz, it’s a metric derived from a vast spectrum of data points. The most impactful of those data points are the number and quality of other domains linking to your site, commonly referred to as backlinks.
Apply that definition at the page level and you’ve defined Page Authority, or PA:
The accuracy of any page’s content, as determined (to a very great extent) by the number and authority of the domains that link to it.
I’ll also add that, just as DA doesn’t affect SERP placement to either the positive or the negative, nor does PA. What PA does, is try to predict where a page will rank based ONLY on link data. It doesn’t take into account keywords, metadata, or technical SEO attributes that I’ve discussed before in the StitchDX blog. Nor does it take into account the deep-data arcana that also shapes SEO outcomes.
Where do you find page authority scores?
Like DA, PA is a predictive AI formula developed by Moz. Their Link Explorer, as well as tools on numerous other website analytics platforms (including two of my favorites, SEMrush and SpyFu) can reveal PA scores for any page.
And when I say “any page” I mean any page on your site or on those of your competitors. That’s the value of PA for your business.
How can you use Page Authority?
PA matters because Moz aggregates and weights the scores of each of your site’s individual pages to calculate the DA for you entire site. Anywhere you can move the needle to improve PA scores, those improvements should boost your DA. (I’ll reiterate: The value of PA and DA lies in the snapshot they give you of your site’s authority in comparison with your competitors.)
Moz makes it very clear: “Like domain authority, page authority is a holistic score and difficult to influence directly,” owing to the vast multitude of data factors that contribute to both scores.
They also make it clear that the single best lever for lifting authority metrics is a page’s link profile. Every backlink to that page is a kind of “vote of confidence”: Another domain is attesting that a page on your site knows what it’s talking about.
Now get started on link-building strategy.
All this is prelude to backlinks: the domains that link to your pages. I’ll dig into link building in my next post. But until then, here’s a top-line on getting started with your link-building strategy right now.
Call it the “80/20 rule” or “putting good money after good.” However you nickname it, link building strategy starts from the same place as SEO strategy: You first want to apply your resources toward your best-performing pages. The goal is to strengthen them at their current scores and leverage best practices to achieve incremental improvements.
In the case of PA, you have several link-building strategy tasks ahead of you:
- Determine the PA of each page on your site.
- If the size of your site makes that a daunting task then begin with your 20 most-visited pages.
- If you’re an ecommerce brand, begin with your top-selling product pages.
- Do the same thing with your competitors’ websites, but only running PA scores on the pages that are analogous or competitive to your top 20 pages.
- Then crunch some numbers:
- Which of your pages are clearly winning on PA?
- Which are barely winning, or running a little behind?
- Which are lagging?
Congratulations, you’ve just established your first set of link-building priorities.