How Does Google Measure The Authority Of Web Pages?
Google has been fighting problematic content and this has renewed attention towards the question of how the search engine determines what is authoritative and what is not. The answer to this question is quite simple because it is that it does not use a single authority metric but rather several undisclosed queries that vary from one query to the next. If you are doing SEO marketing Houston, it is important to understand how Google measures the authority of web pages. Our goal at SEO Houston Pros is to make sure you that you have been provided with the best possible web design on the market, and that your website is continuously being fed authority, traffic, and new clients.
PageRank: The Original Authority Metric
Google originally had a single authority figure, which was known as PageRank. PageRank was all about evaluating links to pages. Google would count the number of links a page received when deriving a PageRank score for the page.
However, Google did not just reward pages with many links. It also tried to calculate the importance of those links. Pages with few links from other “important” pages gained more authority compared to pages with numerous links from relatively unremarkable pages.
Still, even pages that had a good PageRank or a lot of authority were not guaranteed a spot at the top of Google’s search results. Google used PageRank only as one part of the overall ranking algorithm, which is the system used for listing pages in response to specific searches. The words contained within those links played an important role. Words contained on the actual web pages were also taken into consideration. Other factors still play a role.
How is Authority Calculated Today?
If you are doing SEO marketing Houston today, you probably understand that content and links are still some of the key ranking signals today. However, Google’s RankBrain System, which is an artificial intelligence is another key factor. The ranking system that Google currently uses also involves over 200 key signals. Even the Periodic Table for SEO Success Factors that attempts to make the system simpler involves close to 40 key areas of consideration.
Today, none of the metrics or signals constitute a single “authority” factor as in the days of PageRank according to Google. Google has also stated that it does not have a single signal that it considers an ‘authority’. Rather, it uses several different factors in an attempt to increase the authority of its search results.
If you are wondering what those factors might be, unfortunately, Google is not providing any particulars. The closest the search engine came to revealing anything is stating that the factors to determine authority are something it hopes correspond to increasing the visibility of authoritative content.
Feedback from the quality raters it hires is one of the ways that Google hopes to improve that mix. The raters recently received updated guidelines from Google on how to flag low-quality web pages.
Specific web pages are not impacted directly by the raters. The raters are like diners in a restaurant who are asked to review the meals they have had. Google then takes the reviews and makes a decision regarding the best way to change the recipes to improve its food. However, in this situation, Google’s search algorithms as the recipes and the search results are the food. Google is hoping that feedback from the raters as well as other measures produces results that reward authoritative content better. Google is doing all this to increase the quality of pages that it shows to users.
Authority Is Determined On A Page-By-Page Basis
Google might not use a single authority figure but the combination of signals effectively act as one. This leads to another point. Is authority calculated for every page on the web or can domains have an overall authority, which is transferable to the individual pages?
According to Google, authority is determined on a page-by-page basis. Google shuns the idea of a domain or site-wide authority since this may lead to false assumptions about specific pages, particularly the ones on popular websites.
Google says that it would not like to look at websites such as YouTube or Twitter then try to determine how authoritative the website is but rather how authoritative the individual users on those sites are.
The situation is the same with websites such as Medium, WordPress, or Tumblr. Just because the websites are popular, using the popularity of individual pages within the websites would be rewarding them with a reward that they don’t necessarily deserve.
If you are doing SEO marketing Houston and are wondering about the third-party tools for assessing both “domain authority” and “page authority” it is important to note that those are not metrics from Google. They are just speculations by third-party companies as to Google actually scores websites and web pages.
Site-Wide Signals Vs Domain Authority
It does not mean that Google lacks site-wide signals, which in turn can influence specific pages. Two things that can have an impact on specific pages within a website are whether it has been affected by malware and how fast a website is. In the past, the “Penguin Update” from Google was geared towards spam operating on a site-wide basis. However, this is no longer the case since Penguin is now part of Google’s core ranking algorithm.
If all other things are equal with 2 different pages, site-wide signals can benefit specific pages. For instance, if there are two articles on the same topic where one is in the Wall Street Journal while the other is on an unknown domain. Assuming that no other information is provided, the Wall Street Journal article looks better considering the information currently available. This is an instance where Google is propagating information from the domain level to the page level.
However, pages are hardly ever in such situations where all things are equal. Content that’s published to the Internet usually acquires its unique page-specific signals that typically outweigh domain-specific ones. Among the signals are those used for assessing the page-specific authority. The same signals sometimes also vary depending on the query that is being answered.
Call us at 832-230-4495 or contact us for your free website audit and to learn more about how gaining website domain authority can increase traffic to your website, and substantially increase your businesses revenue overall!