Domain Authority vs. Page Authority: What’s More Important?

Authority is a qualitative measure of any web property that significantly affects the property’s overall visibility and rankings in search engines.

As such, authority is a critical focus for most SEO experts, and rightly so. Most common SEO tactics, such as producing informative content and link building, are done with the purpose of increasing authority.

Authority alone can’t guarantee search visibility – you also need contextual relevance with the query – but it’s a pretty strong indicator of your overall SEO performance.

That being said, there are different types of “authority”. There’s no single, quantitative, reliable measure for a website’s authority, though. There have, however, been attempts to quantify and articulate what ‘authority’ is and how Google (and other search engines) calculate and consider it.

Domain Authority vs. Page Authority

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There are a number of different, specific measures of authority, both direct and indirect. For example, one of the best known has been “PageRank,” an algorithm created by Google’s Larry Page and designed to measure the quality and authority of a specific web page based on the number, quality, and relevance of links pointing to it.

Moz has created a number of different qualitative measures for authority, including MozRank and MozTrust, but most notably, they’re the ones who coined the phrase “domain authority,” which refers to the overall authoritative strength of an entire web domain.

For this article, I’d like to ignore some of the technical differences between these terms and narrow my focus on two main areas that are most relevant for SEO campaigns. I’m calling these “domain authority,” which refers to the authoritative strength of an entire domain, and “page authority,” which refers to the authoritative strength of a single page on that domain. Which of these is more important? What are the differences?

Domain Authority: Strategies and Effects

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First, let’s take a look at the ways you can increase your domain authority. It’s impossible to objectively increase your domain authority directly or suddenly, but these tactics can improve your position over time:

With these practices, you’ll slowly and steadily increase your domain authority. With a higher domain authority, all pages (including all your subdomains) will have a higher chance of ranking for relevant queries.

Domain authority offers a lot of flexibility in terms of how, where, and when you create content and links. It also carries wider effects (site-wide). The flip side is the amount of time and effort it takes to increase – far more than page authority.

Page Authority: Strategies and Effects

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Now, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can influence page authority:

  • Create a page on a domain with a high authority.
  • Ensure the content of your chosen page is highly detailed, relevant, and original.
  • Make sure your page is fully functional and optimized for SEO.
  • Include internal linking to and from the page.
  • Earn lots of high-quality inbound links, both in terms of external source authority and link relevance (these must point to your chosen page).
  • Remove any bad links pointing to your site (chosen page).

Do these look familiar? They should. Most of the rules that apply to domain authority apply to page authority, just on a smaller scale.

Domain authority and page authority also have a mutually beneficial relationship; building more links to your individual pages will have the effect of raising your domain authority, and raising your domain authority in general will increase the page authority of your individual pages.

Page authority also builds faster than domain authority, giving you a critical advantage if you need to improve search engine rankings for one page quickly.

Killing Two Birds With One Stone

Objectively, investing in domain authority is better over the long-term, and if given enough time, will earn you more inbound traffic (since you’ll be increasing the ranking potential for many pages at once). Therefore, domain authority demands at least some share of your focus; focusing exclusively on one page and one page alone will stifle your campaign’s growth.

The opposite scenario, optimizing only for domain authority and not for page authority, is a feasible long-term strategy. This is, in essence, a focus on building your brand overall. The pages that stand out will naturally attract more links and authority on their own, and you’ll suffer no short-term or long-term consequences for not providing extra boosts to those individual pages.

The Bottom Line

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Though both are important to your search visibility, domain authority deserves more attention and prioritization than page authority. Because it’s a bigger, longer-term investment, it has greater potential and eliminates the problem of putting all your authority eggs in one basket.

However, it’s still important to consider page authority as a useful tool – if you have a standout piece of content or a particular page you want to emphasize or compete in search results, you can build its page authority to give it an extra push.

The key is to use these metrics strategically; focus on domain authority if you want to build your brand, and focus on page authority when you’ve got one page competing for a specific high-value keyword.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.

Author: Jayson DeMers

Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based SEO agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

21 thoughts on “Domain Authority vs. Page Authority: What’s More Important?”

  1. Jason, i just found this great article by you and it hits the nail on the head when discussing DA & PA. Both are the main off page numbers we use to see off page authority with also majestic TF & CF. All of these have become the standard for off page rankings. You did an excellant job detailing them and this post should be shared by all.

    Thanks,
    AD

  2. Well, I have a Stright forward question for you?

    My DA is 10, and I ‘m competing with High DA and PA page both are around 53.

    Can I outrank?. If yes, how?

    My competitor domain has 120 RD and 345 Backlinks with High informative and educatable data. If it is the situation then How can I outrank my competitor?

    Was, waiting for Reply.

  3. Hello,

    As I am new in blogging and just started with some micro niche blogs and i have also been reading many articles about various topics, including domain authority.

    So, I have confusion in mind, I want to ask that, whether domain authority directly effects search ranking or not?

    If yes, then how can increase DA quickly and how much it will effect my rankings?

    Looking for quick Response.

    Regards,
    Shanaya Aggarwal

  4. Thanks Jayson, your article answered my questions re: DA and PA and confirmed what I suspected i.e. that building individual PA will help in the long run to build DA rankings.

  5. Hey Jayson, thank you for great explanations of terms and their mutual connections. You said that with higher DA “all pages (including all your subdomains) will have a higher chance..” While I do understand that Pages will benefit from it, I have come to realise it is not the case with subdomains. I was reading alot of articles about subdomains starting its’s DA journey from zero or having it same as main domain but not passing any juice. Maybe I missunderstood something.

  6. Once again outstanding post. These days I was very worried about my blog DA, but now I will focus on good quality links for good domain authority.

    1. Domain Authority and Page Authority are terms coined by SEO Moz. Meanwhile Trust Flow and Citation Flow are from Majestic SEO. They all have same purposes, though they have their own way of calculation.

  7. Hi Jayson,

    Thanks for the nice post. This post clearly educated me the difference between PA and DA. All the backlinks linking to homepage boost DA and at the same time, we need to work on increasing backlinks linking to posts that have quality content. There should be a balance in both PA and DA.

  8. I been reading all day on how to increase DA and you did a good job breaking down DA vs PA, i don’t have a problem with PA, but the DA side is crazy, i have some good backlinks, but DA never increase, i think; i have to many links that are no follow, so i’am not seeing a increase in DA, but thanks for some great knowledge, it was needed.

  9. A good article regarding Domain authority and page authority. While building a backlink if we are getting a backlink from a particular page, which will be considered by search engines page authority or Domain authority? because page authority will be with domain authority.

  10. Hi Jayson,
    Thanks for the well-written blog on domain authority in simple words! I really appreciate the effort put into creating this blog. Also, I loved the “Killing Two Birds With One Stone” section.

  11. I’m calling these “domain authority,” which refers to the authoritative electricity of an entire domain, and “page authority,” which refers back to the authoritative electricity of a single web page on that domain.

  12. @Leon, I’ve used domain authority in my niches and by creating regular content and syndicating it around to social platforms with high DA I have noticed that doing so my DA has steadily kept going up. I do believe that the higher your DA the easier it is to rank new content!

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