This AI generated image shows a cat wearing glasses and a lab coat, sending in front of a classroom and giving a lecture to an audience of other cats about "domain authority" and "page authority" whose ideas are abbreviated on the whiteboard as "DA" and "PA".
This entry is part 29 of 44 in the series Topical Authority

The lead post in this series is Mastering Topical Authority: A Comprehensive Guide to Boost Your SEO.

Page authority vs domain authority: Introduction

While these two key SEO metrics are similar, they focus on different things.

They’re both numeric scores, from 1 to 100, and they both measure a level of “authority”, but of different things.


They both use as inputs things like the total number and quality of inbound links, the authority and credibility of the sites the links come from, the number of unique domains the links come from, and the number of unique root domains (.com, .gov, .uk, etc) the links come from.

What do they measure?

Domain authority

Domain authority measures those things for the entire website, the entire domain.

Page authority

Page authority measures those things for individual pages on a website, and additionally includes some on page factors such as the page formatting, the use of H2, H3, etc headers to break the page up onto sections, etc.

Where did these metrics come from?

Many years ago, Moz, back when they were SEO Moz, made them up.

SEO was in its infancy, such metrics were useful, and they had what we generally call the “first mover advantage”.

In short, they obtained the “right” to create and define these metrics because they were the first to do so and provide a software tool that measured them.

How do you use them?

In my opinion, the right way to use them is to monitor them for incremental improvement, over time.

How do you achieve incremental improvement? By continuously publishing quality content that answers question, clustering that content into what are called “topic clusters“. As you see above, this post is part of a topic cluster about “topical authority”.

They are also useful in link building, as when you’re working to move your website to higher levels of authority, you work to build links from other reputable sites.

But asking a DA 82 site to link to a DA12 site can feel like an exercise in futility.

Here too it can be helpful to work you way up.

When your site has a DA of 12, maybe seek to earn links from sites with DAs from 20 to 30. Then when your site has a DA of 20 something, seek to earn links from sites with DAs from 30 to 40. You get the idea.

In closing

Both domain authority and page authority are meaningful, but like any metric, can be used poorly.

You want to see continuous improvement, and when you use the metric for link building, it helps to focus your outreach efforts on sites that are more likely to provide the requested link as their authority level is not “too high” relative to your site.

Series Navigation<< What is another name for Domain Authority?Is domain authority important? >>

Kevin Carney
Kevin Carney

Kevin "fell into" SEO by accident, like many others. The SaaS platform to help writers boost their topical authority came years later after various SEOs said it was something they would like to see.

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