When it comes to analysing factors to determine the quality of a link target, I’d say the most misleading indicator out of them all is PageRank. Although PageRank is supposed to verify the relativity of a site and its pages to its intended niche, there have been numerous occasions where I would have deemed this untrue. Instead, I feel Page Authority (PA) is one of the best indicators out of them all (followed by Domain Authority). And where PageRank is updated once or twice a year, Page Authority seems to be recalculated much more regularly.

Page Authority is a points system utilising a logarithmic scale out of 100 to determine the strength of a page. By taking account of the number of sites that are linking to a page, the domains of where the links are coming from  and the relevance of the sites, a score can be established.

You can use a range of tools to investigate the number of points a page possesses – typically, I use the SEOmoz toolbar for Google Chrome. Moreover, in comparison, I see PageRank and PA as ‘stats’ of a website; just like a character in a game… and here comes the geek moment. Let’s use World of Warcraft character stats as an example:

WoW Statistic Badge

…a page can have more ‘health’ than a ‘stronger’ page.

There are quite a few theories on how PA is calculated on a whole. However, conclusions which have been drawn through the experience of others, support that the following theories are myths:

“Page authority is how closely a site is related to your niche or your site”

An initial theory which in my head made some sense, but did not explain how some sites displayed higher PA points than others without targeting niche-specific sites.

“Page Authority predicts the likelihood of a single page to rank well, regardless of its content”

This really doesn’t make much sense if you are firm of solicitors trying to rank for “Plumbers in France” and if you have no instances of the keyword on the page. Content plays a large factor in ranking.

“Page Authority is the probability that a specific page from your site will be found on a search engine”

A better theory, however this does not account for websites with keyword-rich URLs which illustrate a strong ranking potential despite low Page Authority scores.

Following these myths, from my experience I can say that Page Authority mainly poses the following 3 indicators:

  • The health of each page determined by the number of visitors towards the page(s).
  • The consistency of inbound links to the page.
  • The consistency of the content on the page.

So you can imagine the thought’s I have when finding potential link targets.

A website which presents pages with points above the mid-mark (or over 40 points) yells (as Cartman would say):

Respect My Authoritah

And a page with lower points says to me:

South Park This Sucks

However, this isn’t to say it wouldn’t make a good potential link target; you have to look at the future potential of a page as well as its current and the site as a whole. You also need to review its relativeness to your niche.

Remember, Google likes to see relevant websites linking to yours.

Here are several tips and tricks you could use to manipulate the page authority of a link target.

  • Take advantage of text-editing opportunities – e.g. bolding and emphasising keywords in descriptions or comments where your link may be.
  • Indirectly link to your website – i.e. building links to the page your link is on. If cleverly conducted, it could increase the link target’s PA and in turn, increase the ‘link juice’ directed at your site.
  • Revise your internal links – ensure the page you are trying to rank has appropriate and relevant links to it from within your site. Good navigation matters in SEO.

There are many more tactics that could be use, and they are always dependant on the individual and their SEO techniques. But by sharing our ideas, we can create new methods and tricks to enable our websites to be recognised.

Do you have any ideas, queries or questions? Drop a comment using the box below.