Page authority can help or hurt your rankings. It’s a way to reward great content that meets search intent, answers common questions, and engages the audience — or devalue a page that doesn’t.
But what is page authority exactly, and why is it relevant to search engine optimization (SEO)? More importantly, is there a grade or score that determines a good page authority versus a bad page authority? Here’s everything website owners should know.
- Page authority (PA) is a score from 1–100 that helps measure the strength and performance of an individual page. A higher PA score means a greater chance of ranking well on search engine result pages (SERPs).
- Page authority was made popular by Moz, an SEO company that created a scoring system that measures how well a specific page will rank in SERPs. They offer a tool that can tell site owners what their score is for each site page.
- The factors that determine a page’s authority score include high-quality backlinks from trusted websites, internal and external linking to important and high-authority pages, mobile speed, and much more.
- There is no single answer for what constitutes a “good” or “bad” PA score — it largely depends on your specific goals.
- Domain authority (DA) is similar to PA, but instead of measuring the strength of an individual page, DA measures how your website ranks as a whole in the SERPs.
- What Is Page Authority?
- What Determines a Page Authority Score?
- What Is a “Good” Page Authority?
- Page Authority vs. Domain Authority
- How Can You Check Your Page Authority?
- How Can You Improve Page Authority?
What Is Page Authority?
Page authority (PA) helps measure the strength and performance of an individual web page with a score of one to 100 — the higher the score, the greater your chances of ranking well.
Your score gives you an idea of how well your pages rank on SERPs (search engine results pages), which plays an important role in helping boost visibility. It can also tell you whether visitors are likely to explore other pages within your site and if they’ll find information that’s useful enough for them to keep visiting.
Page authority was made popular by marketing and SEO analytics software company Moz. They created a page authority scoring system that measures how well a specific page will rank in SERPs. A page authority score is made possible by a proprietary algorithm with machine learning that measures over 40 different factors concerning a page’s relevance, including page speed, quality content, user intent, and links.
What Determines a Page Authority Score?
A page authority score is provided from one to 100. Lower scores indicate that a given page will rank lower in search results than a higher-scoring page. Moz’s algorithm uses AI (artificial intelligence) and a machine learning model to compare thousands of similar pages across multiple search engines. Much like Google’s algorithm, Moz’s algorithm operates in real-time and is continuously updated with each new page that’s created or modified.
Here’s a look at three factors that influence page authority, but keep in mind that there are over 40 total.
High-Quality Backlinks From Trusted Websites
A trusted page is one that’s shared often, linked to, and or referenced. The more inbound links the page generates, the higher page authority score you receive, and the more that page is seen as a reliable source of information.
Google has repeatedly stated that links are one of its critical ranking factors. It simply makes sense that a page’s authority score system is intrinsically tied to the number of high-quality backlinks a page receives from other high-authority sites.
If your content follows Google’s E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness), those links may naturally develop over time. Having a high viewership certainly helps increase page authority scores. However, even if your viewership is low, you can still create links organically by link building.
Link building involves reaching out to your audience or other online resources in similar verticals and asking them to link back to your landing page. In return, you can offer a link back to their own pages.
Internal and External Linking to Important Pages
If you want to optimize your website for better rankings, you’ll want to work on your link profile.
Prioritize the pages on your site that offer the most SEO value and create a sitemap. This will help inform Google of how they should crawl the content hierarchy while also allowing you to understand what areas need more attention in terms of acquiring backlinks.
After this is done, focus on linking to important conversion pages on your site from supplementary content to help pass ‘link equity’ to the more crucial pages on your website.
While this depends on what page it is, you may want to include external links to other high authority pages to help build your page authority. However, just like you only want backlinks from high-authority sites, you will only want to link to reputable sites in your industry that you vet.
This could be sites ending in .gov or .edu., studies, or niche sites within your industry that are highly regarded as authoritative, trusted, and factual.
Updating Your Pages With Fresh Information
By now, everyone understands that a static page simply won’t work — even if it has evergreen content.
While you don’t need to update evergreen content often, you will want to make sure you freshen it up periodically to ensure it stays relevant to your users, trends, seasons, and SEO updates. You’ll also want to update it as new information comes out to keep your content as in-depth as possible and check your content against competitors with similar topics to continue ranking well.
If you have trend-focused pieces or content that contain timely information like dates, events, occasions, and more, you will want to update this content more often. Create a schedule to ensure you keep your content fresh for the SERPs and your page authority ranking.
Update your highest-traffic pages first and delete anything that is really outdated or just no longer relevant to the times, your business, or your users. Add in high-authority external links while you’re at it, as well as internal links to high-importance pages.
What Is a “Good” Page Authority?
Your page authority score is not a one-size-fits-all measure of success. When it comes to your goals, the higher, the better, but don’t worry if you can’t realistically get into that 90+ zone.
So, when it comes to a “good” or “bad” PA score, there isn’t just one right answer — it largely depends on your specific goals. For example, if you’re aiming for first-page ranking within a SERP, then what constitutes an impressive score varies depending upon the competition in said results page.
Ultimately, your score is relative and should be considered with respect to your objectives.
Page Authority vs. Domain Authority
Moz also created metrics for domain authority (DA). Whereas page authority provides a score for a specific page on your website, DA assigns a score to how your entire website ranks in the SERPs.
The more you improve each of your page’s authority, the more you’ll improve your website’s domain authority. Come up with a schedule that defines how frequently you’ll update your pages and your DA measures. It can be done weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly — or however often you can fit it into your workload. Next, define periods of review to see how those changes impacted your domain authority.
How Can You Check Your Page Authority?
There are plenty of online resources that track page authority metrics. Moz’s link explorer is one of them. This link profile tool tracks the number of backlinks a given page creates, alerts you to broken links, and helps you find link-building opportunities.
With a tool, you can easily determine high authority pages versus those that rank lower. You can then determine why some pages received higher scores than others.
Moz has complemented its link explorer with a domain authority checker. You can access it by going to Moz’s Free Domain Authority Checker. Like the link explorer, you can determine if you have a good DA score by comparing your website to others.
How Can You Improve Page Authority?
It’s important to note that this is not a one-time event. The score you received for page authority is not permanent. It can and most likely will change if you work toward improving it. The key is to put yourself in the shoes of the individual consuming the content.
Ask yourself why your page scored what it did initially and what you can do to improve the quality of that page. Keep in mind that a “good” PA depends on what position you’re aiming for in SERPs and how tough those search engine rankings are due to competing domains’ link profiles.
Consider answering the following questions to help influence a higher score:
- What domain authority measures can be taken to improve the page’s score?
- Why was the page authority scored the way it was?
- Are there other pages on our website that scored higher, and can we duplicate that success?
- Are there other landing pages that have higher referral traffic, and if so, why?
A high page authority signals high-quality content. Now that you know what page authority is, you can work on improving your pages.
However, page authority and domain authority go together. There is no way to improve domain authority without first improving page authority. You should see a direct correlation between the two. Systematic and repetitive improvements to each page will eventually improve your website’s performance. The more committed you are to improving your page authority, the more likely you will succeed.
Raymond Li is known for his deep understanding of SEO and ability to develop successful client campaigns. His technical expertise and creativity have helped businesses of all sizes to improve their organic search presence. Ray enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and exploring the local cuisine when not dominating the SERPs for a wide array of juicy keywords.