The AI generated image shows a professor giving a lecture on the concept of Search Engine Optimization. We know this because of what's on the whiteboard behind him. This image was created to accompany a blog post titled "What does SEO authority mean?".
This entry is part 38 of 44 in the series Topical Authority

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

SEO authority is an aggregate idea

Within the world of SEO (search engine optimization) the idea of “authority” is widespread. You need it, you work to obtain it, you work to keep it and grow it.

But there are many ideas of authority within the world of SEO, all of which have similarities to each other as well as differences.

SEO Authority

The phrase SEO authority is generally used to mean the relative authority of a website relative to other websites.

I personally like the following definition from the Ahrefs website:

“Website authority is an SEO concept that refers to the overall “strength” of a particular domain. Strength, in this case, is the ability (or likelihood) of a given domain to rank high in the SERPs and pass its backlink strength (“link juice”) to other websites.”.

I like it because it ties together the ideas of “SEO authority”, “domain” or (site), “SERP rankings”, and the importance of links and the value of links.

Having said all that, the idea of SEO authority encompasses (sort of) the various ideas of authority listed below.

Domain authority

Domain authority is a metric that was created by Moz several years ago and has a fairly rigid definition. After all, since Moz created the metric, they get to define it.

“Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). Domain Authority scores range from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to greater likelihood of ranking.”.

Domain authority and SEO authority are sometimes used synonymously, but strictly speaking they’re not. They are however similar.

Page authority

Page authority was also created by Moz and also have a rigid definition:

“Page Authority (PA) is a score developed by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank on search engine result pages (SERP). Page Authority scores range from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.”.

Link authority

Link authority is a more general concept. There isn’t a link authority metric or score, but rather link authority is the idea that each link conveys some authority to the page and website being linked to.

For that reason, it’s a generalized idea derived from the Google concept of Page Rank, which was the original search algorithm way back when.

Links convey authority, but exactly how much authority an individual link conveys is apparently hard to quantify.

Topical authority

Topical authority is not a ranking factor per se, but rather is a framework to guide you to publishing better content.

I again like the definition provided by Ahrefs:

“Topical authority is an SEO concept where a website aims to become the go-to authority on one or more topics.”.

In closing

SEO authority is a bit of a hybrid or aggregated idea of how likely a website is to rank for a set of search queries.

Series Navigation<< How do you determine content authority?What is a good SEO Authority score? >>

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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