Building Links for Domain-Level Authority vs. Page-Level Authority
Published: December 22, 2022
Author: Noelle Fauver
*A previous version of this blog originally appeared on inseev.com. It has been altered and updated by 3Q/DEPT.*
Do you understand the difference between building links for domain-level authority versus page-level authority? If not, you’ve come to the right place.
In a nutshell, domain authority (DA) is made up of metrics (developed by Moz and scored from 1-100) to evaluate a web domain as a whole and predict search engine performance. Generally, the higher the DA score, the higher your chances of showing up in relevant search engine results pages (SERPs).
On the flip side, page authority (PA) measures the strength of an individual page rather than the entire domain. PA is also an essential factor in a backlink’s strength. To gain the best insight into your search engine performance, it’s beneficial to examine both DA and PA metrics.
How do backlinks (links from a website pointing to different pages on your site) influence your organic profile?
- Any links pointing to your site will increase domain-level authority and site-wide rankings.
- Any links pointing to specific pages on your site will increase page-level and domain-level authority, resulting in increased site-wide and page-level rankings.
- Links pointing to folder pathways (i.e., a blog) will increase the domain-level authority, the authority of the pathway URL, and all of the URLs that live within that pathway (i.e., any URLs that follow the URL structure /blog/blog-category/blog-title).
A competitor analysis will allow you to leverage this information, improve your linking strategy, and determine your page’s ability to rank for a targeted keyword. Your page’s ability to rank for a given term depends on how competitive that specific SERP is for the page and the keyword you are trying to rank.
The purpose of conducting a competitor analysis is to determine how much authority you need to build based on your website’s strength relative to the website’s holding the top positions for your keyword target. This analysis will also help determine how influential your domain and page-level authority will be for ranking in a top position for that SERP. The more competitive a SERP, the higher authority your domain or page will need to rank.
Conducting a Competitor Analysis
To conduct a competitor analysis, start by identifying what keywords and pages you are trying to rank for. Analyze the SERP for your targeted keyword and determine how your authority stacks up against the authority of a website ranking in the top position. If you have less than a third of the backlinks your competitors have, it will take a lot of link-building to rank against them. You can also use tools like Moz DA and Ahrefs DR to put a quantitative value on how your authority stacks up against other websites. Make sure to assess both page-level and domain-level authority. While there may be a considerable gap in terms of domain-level authority, the target may be closer for page-level authority.
Once you’ve completed an analysis across all the pages that you are trying to rank for, target the lowest-hanging fruit by picking the page with the best relative strength to start building links to.
Strategies for Link Development Based on Ranking Priority
If you are building out a page-level versus domain-level linking strategy, there are a few unique tactics at your disposal. It’s important to note that these strategies do not generate new authority for your site.
- Broken link strategies: This strategy identifies broken or sold-out product pages on your website with backlinks. There is no value in having links pointing to pages that no longer exist or carry out-of-stock products. After identifying broken pages with valuable backlinks, reach out to the webmaster to let them know that they are linking to a broken page and provide them with the updated URL.
- Resource campaign: This strategy identifies a linkable resource on your website and third-party websites that are linking to or providing resource lists of a similar nature. Once you’ve identified third-party websites that are linking to similar pages, let the webmaster know that you came across their page, noticed they provide tons of valuable resources around XYZ, and that you think your asset would make a great addition.
- Internal Linking Strategy: Developing a strong internal linking strategy can help authority flow through your website, resulting in increased page-level authority and rankings. Make sure to structure your website in a logical way that makes it easy for authority to travel through your site in a trickle-down flow. This will also create valuable subfolders that you can incorporate into your link-building strategy. Links can pass authority from one page to another. A good indicator of when a page is important is when many URLs direct to the same location.
Start Growing Your Page and Domain Authority
Determine which pages in your strategy are the most “linkable.” Analyze aspects of your page–such as shareability, call-to-actions, emotional or ethical appeal, and other aspects that might influence how linkable your page is. Conduct testing over the course of your outreach to pinpoint where you are seeing the best conversion rates and make adjustments accordingly. When you consistently monitor your DA and PA, you’ll gain a better understanding of how you measure up to your competitors.