Page Authority vs Domain Authority – What’s the difference?

image showing a laptop and the word authority overlayed - page authority vs domain authority

In last month’s article, we talked about Domain Authority – what it is and how to improve yours.

This month, a new metric is thrown into the mix – Page Authority (PA).

Two key metrics that are used by leading SEO tools to determine SEO fitness include Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA).

In this article, we will look at the similarities and differences between PA and DA and how each metric is an arbitrary measurement of how well a page or domain performs regarding search engine trust and SEO fitness against its competitors.

What is Page Authority?

Page Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale, with higher scores corresponding to a higher probability of rank) originally developed by Moz that predicts how well a page is likely to rank on search engines. These days, it is used by all the popular SEO tool technologies as a comparative metric to measure the SEO strength of one page against another. It’s calculated in a similar way to the way Domain Authority is calculated, only at a page level, rather than site-wide.

It can be considered a rough measure of how much link equity or “link juice” a page has.

A page’s authority score can be calculated based on several factors, such as:

  • The number and quality of external pages or domains linking back to the page
  • The page’s age, content freshness, and topical relevance
  • How many social signals (shares, likes, etc.) the page has
  • The website’s Domain Authority, that the page is a part of
  • How other competitors shape up in terms of similar content on the same topic or niche

Page Authority vs Domain Authority

Page Authority is a metric that scores individual pages on a given website, domain, or sub-domains.

Domain Authority is a comparative metric that scores an entire website’s authority on a 100-point logarithmic scale. Domain Authority will include the entire domain, sub-domains and any pages that belong to them.

Both scores are calculated in a very similar way.

A website with many high-scoring Page Authority pages is likely also to have a high overall Domain Authority score.

A high Domain Authority website is likely to have a higher page ranking for content on its site than a low-scoring domain authority website with an identical page with the same content.

So both metrics are directly proportional and help the overall SEO fitness of a domain, sub-domains, website, and pages within.

How to check your Page Authority

There are several ways you can check a web page’s authority score. Here is a list of the tools that we would recommend using:

  • Ahrefs site explorer tool – Our favorite go-to tool for all things SEO. Ahrefs calls their page authority metric “URL Rating (UR).” Ahrefs will require a valid subscription. But, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial to start.
  • SEMRush Domain Overview – If you enter the exact URL of the page you want to analyze, you can drill down into the individual Page Authority Score rating with SEMRush. This tool will require a valid subscription. However, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial.
  • Moz.com – Have a selection of subscriptions and free tools for analyzing your Page Authority. Check out the Moz Pro tools for in-depth analysis, the Mozbar Chrome extension for in-browser stats, and their free Domain Analysis tool, which will give Page Authority scores for individual pages.
image of a 3 bar graph showing a downward trend

Why has my page authority score gone down?

If you have noticed that your authority score has decreased, there are a few potential reasons why this may have happened. Here are some of the more common reasons:

  • There has been a decrease in the number or quality of external links pointing to your page.
  • Your page’s content freshness or topical relevance has decreased.
  • There has been a decrease in your page’s social signals (shares, likes, etc.).
  • The authority of the website that your page is hosted on has decreased.
  • Your competitors have released fresher content or content with a higher topical relevance or number of quality links pointing back to their pages.
  • The overall Domain Authority or competing page’s Page Authority of your competitors has increased

How to increase Page Authority

On-page tasks

Off-page tasks

Things to avoid

As we’ve discussed the steps you can take to improve your Page Authority; we should quickly address the things you should avoid doing.

Or problems you may need to correct if you find these things are happening to your website or pages.

Here are some things to watch out for:

image of business climbing up a ladder out of a hole
  • Avoid publishing pages or posts with HTML validation errors
  • Avoid keyword stuffing on your pages or posts
  • Make sure there are no broken links on your pages. Review this regularly
  • Avoid content that is repetitive or duplicated
  • Avoid thin content pages (i.e., pages that have a low word count)
  • Too many ads on a page or post. Especially above the fold.
  • Avoid pages that have indexing issues – check in Google Search Console regularly for any coverage warnings or errors
  • Make sure you do not try to acquire more links to your page or site from spammy domains or low domain authority sites. It would be best to disavow such links that may naturally be acquired at the earliest opportunity using Google Search Console.

Further reading

We’ve tried to cover the main and most important aspects or points on Page Authority in this article. However, if you would like to read more or learn a little more in-depth about how the main SEO tools define page authority and calculate their scores, please check out the following resources for further reading:

  • Ahrefs SEO Metrics explained – This article explains how all metrics are calculated from our favorite SEO toolset. Check out the sections URL Rating (UL) and Domain Rating (DR)
  • Moz.com article on Page Authority – From the founders of Page Authority and Domain Authority, check out this informative article on how they calculate it and rank your pages
  • Independent Domain Authority vs. Page Authority article – by AdvancedWebRanking.com. Another great article with some valid points echoed here plus more!
image showing gradual steps up to position one

Wrapping up Page Authority

So there you have it! Page Authority vs Domain Authority. Two very similar metrics with some subtle differences.

Both Domain Authority and Page Authority are important signals used by SEO tools, agencies, and professionals to help improve the authority and rankings of a website.

So make sure you focus on both when trying to increase your authority scores in Ahrefs, SEMRush, Moz, or whichever toolset you use.

But most importantly, focus on creating quality content that satisfies user search intent. High-quality content should be your number one priority. Everything else will follow and snap into place if you get this right. As the Big G constantly re-iterates, you should aim to create quality content for your users and not aimed at appeasing search engine crawlers.

By following the steps outlined in this article and avoiding the traps and pitfalls we’ve discussed, you should see your Page Authority slowly creep up.

And as your authority begins to increase, so will your rankings in search engine results!

What did you think about this article? Do you have any questions or comments about Page Authority vs Domain authority? Let us know below!

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