Confused about what your page authority means and how you should use it? Don't miss this beginner's guide on understanding and increasing your PA score.


Page authority can make certain pages on your website stand out in the search rankings.

If you've got something to shout about, focusing on getting a single page to the top can be more effective than a 'scattergun' approach which looks to take your whole site to the top

To get there, though, you need a clear and consistent strategy which works towards that page's success in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

How does this metric differ from domain authority? How do you measure it and use it? Is it always the most appropriate thing to focus on?

We're going to be looking at all of these questions and more as we explore page authority together.

The Difference Between Domain Authority and Page Authority

Domain authority predicts how well an entire site will perform in search results.

Page authority looks at a single page on that website.

A site which focuses on domain authority wants users to enter from all sorts of angles. For example, it might be a local news site which optimizes all of its stories for SEO purposes before publication.

A site which focuses on promoting a single page wants users to enter in one particular way. This could be perhaps a landing page from which the site drives the majority of its business.

Optimizing this page over time would deliver more result. If other pages on the site contain general information, they're far less direct paths to a purchase. So the firm behind the site may not want users to land on these.

How Do I Build Authority for Pages?

Building page authority is best views as a constant 'work in progress'.

No matter how amazing the first iteration of the page is, there will always be something to improve. Search engine crawlers' expectations change over time. This is why companies like Intense exist - to help you keep up to date on SEO best practices and land traffic.

Even the keywords used on your page need to be updated as part of an iterative process. This is to respond to changes in language from search engine users.

For example, let's a competitor in your sector popularizes a search term. Consumers catch on and start using that term. It makes sense for you to latch onto that term yourself - or you're fighting for results in an empty arena.

Sometimes, you'll see print ads that are pushing consumers to search for a specific term. This means that the company behind the ad has already put significant effort into building page authority (or domain authority) for that term.

You can pick the keywords up from those ads and make sure you have competing pages in place as soon as possible. Work on that page authority, and you might find that piggybacking their campaign nets you some decent business.

When The Algorithm Changes

One day, you might even find that a major algorithm change has swept the rug out from underneath you, and your page authority has plummeted.

This is less likely if you've worked hard at building a page which puts users' needs and accessibility requirements first and foremost.

However, it can and does happen. Google's recent AMP project is a good example. In February 2016, its algorithm shifted in a dramatic way as it started giving more credit in SERPs to mobile-optimized pages.

As smartphone use became more prevalent, it made a lot of sense to make this shift. Similar technological changes in the future could again change the way search engines respond to different page setups.

The point to take away is that things change, and you need to know about them. Keep up with SEO magazines so that you know about changes in advance. It's then possible to be one step ahead of your competitors when the change is put into place.

You also need to keep a close eye on your page authority over time. If you notice it dropping slowly, or suddenly, you need to dig deep and identify the issue. Then you need to fix that as soon as possible.

Technical Issues

Everything to do with SEO is, arguably, a 'technical' issue. Even the words on the page that users read were chosen and arranged to fulfill technical needs.

Great copy won't let on that that's the case, as it'll also be user-friendly. Never forget your human users when you're writing to satisfy crawlers!

However, if you want great page authority, the copy on the page needs to have a reasonable keyword density (3-5 keywords per 500 words works well).

You'll also have optimized the loading times for the page to minimize drop-out caused by user frustration.

Any redirects to the page should work smoothly, the site (as a whole) will have 'https' implemented. This is a more secure transfer protocol than the 'http' protocol. Search engines expect this to be in place.

'Https' protocol has fast become the standard for all web pages - yours would do well to follow suit if you want to attain a respectable amount of authority for your site.

If you fall down on these issues, Google and other search engines will push the page down in search results.

Great Content

Brace yourself for the cliche: Content is King.

It's still true, no matter how sick you are of hearing that phrase. It will probably never stop being true, as it aligns well with the vision of the web that search engines are trying to create: high quality content that users love.

Unique content which engages users and fulfills their expectations will bring people in - not just crawlers.

In fact, there's no point fulfilling all the technical points of an SEO strategy if your content simply doesn't drive the results you need.

How do you ever expect users to convert if the content isn't good?


Link building is one of the most effective ways of building higher page authority for your target page(s).

To create backlinks, strategic partnerships and PR drives are great pushes.

Pick some businesses which operate in a similar realm but don't compete in a direct way with yours. Start a conversation about swapping links, and you'll both benefit from the results.

Obviously, you want your partners to link to your chosen page to give it page authority. Rather than pointing at different pages on your website, which will give you domain authority. But that's not what we're looking for today.

Avoid spamming links. Search engines will punish very obvious 'link exchange' programs. To avoid being slapped down, you need to make sure that at each end of the link program there is high-quality content.

And that you don't have too many links pointing at the same page. Crawlers will see this as an obvious attempt to manipulate the rankings, and punish you for it.

In terms of PR - to be honest, it's quite hard to land backlinks from major publications. But if you pull it off, a story that gains coverage (and links) in places like the New York Times, NBC, and Fox News is worth an incredible amount of authority for your page.

That said, even local news sites tend to have a decent amount of domain authority. Links from these types of organizations can be valuable too - even if a national news outlet will give you more 'punch' per link.

How Do I Measure This Metric?

You can measure page authority with a number of analytical tools. The metric itself was defined by Moz, an SEO company.

Google's PageRank may seem like a similar metric but it only rates pages by tracking inbound links to those pages.

That's information worth having. It'll help you compare page performances on that basis alone, and as this is one of the most crucial factors in individual page performance, this is helpful.

Page authority, meanwhile, tracks a much wider range of metrics and gives an overall score for these.

It's sensible to use both, but for different purposes.

Track your PageRank score before and after a PR push if you want to know how successful you've been at landing backlinks.

Looking at authority gives you a better day-by-day account of overall performance of that page.

Want to Know More About Web Authority and SEO?

Page authority and domain authority are complex but crucial concepts that all webmasters need to know about.

However, the world of SEO goes much deeper than this. If you want to know more about optimizing SEO, and other digital strategies, get the best insights into the world of digital marketing from our team.

We also host a number of SEO tools for you to make sure that your site is optimized in search. Feel free to use these to make your business better.

Subscribe to our newsletter for the very latest updates on SEO.

Search Engine Marketing Columnist


Search Engine Guide > Robert Clough > A Beginner's Guide to Page Authority