SEOs have powerful metrics at their disposal to measure the success of their strategies, such as Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA). But how best to use them? In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Tom shows you how to think about these metrics as part of a holistic approach to your link building analysis.
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Happy Friday, Moz fans, and today’s Whiteboard Friday is about measuring link building. So obviously this is a very big and very old topic in the SEO space, and it’s one that Moz, as a company, is heavily invested in, right? Like Domain Authority and Page Authority are two very popular products of ours, which are commonly used for this exact purpose.
Now this isn’t going to be advertorial, though. I could stand here and just say obviously these are the best metrics in the world and that kind of thing. That’s not what I’m here to do. I’m here to give you a bit of nuance about how and when to use these metrics and how to think about them, and how to use them alongside other metrics as well, rather than just having one tool and saying it’s a solution to all problems, which isn’t necessarily fair.
So to do that, I’m actually going to start by going right back to 1998 and Google’s PageRank model. Now I know that a lot has changed since 1998, both with the world and with Google. But this was Google’s original way of thinking about links, and in a lot of ways it’s still the best that we have to go on. A lot of current SEO best practices and dogma are still based on this original understanding, except there are a few things we’ve sort of picked up along the way that don’t really have a basis in anything that Google has said or done, which is part of why I want to sort of point them out.
So PageRank originally was a way of using links to estimate the probability that a user is on a page, and that’s already quite interesting, because that shows that this is a model that is about popularity. So when we talk about this now, we often talk about things like trust and authority and this kind of thing. I’m sure those are relevant, but it’s worth remembering that originally this was just a way of estimating effectively the popularity of a page.
Note that I said of the page as well, not even the domain. So imagine a world where there’s one page on the internet, which is Page A that I’ve labeled here. Now if there’s one page on the internet, it’s not that hard to estimate the chance that a random browser is on that page. It’s a certainty they’re on that page. If we introduce a second page, it’s still not that hard, and we just assume it’s going to be 50-50 and so on and so forth.
That’s sort of the baseline probability that we have to work with. But then we can take a sort of bit of a tangent or a bit of a spice added to the situation when one page links to another, and that’s obviously what we’re actually interested in. So if A links to this second page and at the moment there are still only two pages on the internet, ignore these other boxes, they’ll come in later, there are only two pages on the internet and A links to the second page.
Being an SEO, you can’t go a day without hearing about links: “Links are crucial!” or “Prioritize links!” or “Links are the nourishing lifeblood of the almighty algorithm!” But for those of us who’ve taken the next step to actually figure out how to earn said links, we realize it’s […]