What is Search Authority?

President & CEO at B&FPS
Daniel is a Search Marketing Consultant with 20+ years of expertise in Search Engine Optimization and Brand Development. He has a Master’s (MS) in Interactive Technology from the University of Alabama, a Bachelor’s (BPA) in Public Administration from Barry University, General Business from the University of Michigan-Flint School of Management; specializations from the University of Michigan, professional development from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, and is a proud Belen Wolverine!
Daniel P. Borbolla
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Say the internet disappeared and you wanted to know the difference between a neutron star and a black hole. Where would you go? Of course, you’d want to get your information from an expert on the subject, right?

Well, not all of us are lucky enough to have an astronomer in our social circles, so who else would you ask? Maybe a university professor or another expert on the subject?

Point is, we all want our information coming from good, verifiable sources. That’s why search engines like Google use search authority to determine how trustworthy, authoritative and relevant a website is, then ranks them accordingly.

What is SEO Authority?

A website’s ranking and overall visibility depend on its search authority.

Search engines take the following factors into consideration:

  • Relevancy & Topicality – The extent to which a website’s content matches up with a user’s search intent.
  • Authoritativeness – Includes a number of factors, including domain prestige, informational quality, centrality, and its competitive situation.
  • Trustworthiness – A website’s ability to be relied upon as honest, dependable and deserving of one’s confidence.
  • Backlink Profile – The complete collection of domains and pages that link back to a particular website.
  • Site Structure – Refers to how a website’s content is grouped, linked and presented to users.
💡 Other factors like page speed, site security and mobile friendliness are also taken into account.

What is DA and PA in SEO?

Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) are scoring systems developed by Moz that help predict rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Your DA score predicts how well your website will rank as a whole, while your PA score predicts how well individual pages will rank.

Although DA and PA scores aren’t specifically used by search engines to determine rankings, it’s a pretty good indicator of where a website currently stands.

How Do I Find the Authority of a Website?

There’s a couple of ways you can find out a website’s search authority for free:

How Search Engines Calculate Authority of a Website

Search engines like Google evaluate the relevance and authority of websites by taking numerous signals and/or factors into account, and they can be divided up into two categories: (a) link authority, which is derived from external sources, and (b) content relevancy.

They then check for topical relevancy by analyzing the content on your webpages. They have the ability to analyze language, structure and other page features to define how useful a piece of content will be for users.

Finally, search engines then locate and group similar sources of information together by measuring their trustworthiness, relevancy and authoritativeness signals.

Links Rule the Roost

Have you ever wondered why Google became the most dominant search engine in such a short period of time? Well, it all started with a paper written by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page called The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Search Engine.

The concept behind the paper was that the internet’s structure is based on documents being interconnected with each other via web links.

When you link to an external website from yours, that link essentially acts as a “vote of approval.” Each vote your website receives is like an endorsement that communicates to search engines that your content is considered topical/relevant and is a trusted authority on that particular topic.

As you accumulate more votes, your search authority increases and the higher your content starts to rank. In addition, if your content is structured according to how Google specifies, it may start appearing in other areas like the featured snippets or local listings sections of the search results page.

Passing PageRank

Initially, the Google algorithm evaluated rankings by scoring page links, which gave rise to what is known as PageRank (PR). So, what does this mean exactly when it comes to search authority?

Achieving a high PR score depends on the amount and overall quality of the links you receive, so if a page has a lot of essential links pointing back to it, naturally its PR score will be higher in the search rankings. This is because when one page links to another, it passes along some of its PR, or “link juice.”

All Links Are Not Created Equal

Of course, it’s always better to gain more votes, but in practice it’s a little more complicated than that. Let’s use a quick example:

Say you’re selling a book and your website receives two new backlinks: one from Amazon, and another from Joe’s Book Shack. It’s safe to say that of the two websites, the Amazon backlink carries more weight. But why is that?

This is because Amazon’s link profile is robust and way more powerful when compared to other ecommerce websites, therefore it yields a much greater PR score.

However, please keep in mind that this is a simplistic example. Search engines are continuously evolving their algorithms and using more sophisticated methods to evaluate and make determinations on rankings.


In this article, we showed you why search authority is absolutely crucial for achieving high search rankings, and how search engines use this metric to compile and rank their results.

We also learned that PR scores improve as authoritative websites start linking back to you. The better your PR score, the higher you’ll appear in the SERPs.

Try concentrating on properly structuring your website, creating valuable content, and ensuring that your website is optimized for speed, security and mobile friendliness. Don’t forget to subscribe!

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