What Is The Most Reliable Measure Of Authority?

MeasureThere’s a lot of talk over page and domain and even author authority. We know that Google gives weight to content that carries credibility, and this means that developing authority for your site and your pages is important. As well as high quality content, this means authoritative page links and social media links, but how can you measure the authority of a website or a social media profile? Is it even possible to do so? Should we measure authority, considering the fact that everything we do is supposed to be organic and natural?

Is Authority Important?

Authority is important. Google has long attempted to measure the value of a web page by using the number and quality of links that point to a page. However, the introduction and rise of social media and the fact that links are heavily gamed by black hat marketers, means that the methods of measuring authority have become even more complex.

We’re encouraged by Google to write organically, and to market and brand our websites organically, too. Write high quality content, share it with those with similar interests, and we should reap the rewards. However, promoting your work to a wider audience is certainly not bad practice and as long as you stick within the lines of what is reasonable and ethical, you won’t be penalised for your practices and should enjoy reaping the rewards.


PageRank was introduced by Google as an extremely simplistic measure of the number and quality of links that a web page receives. Measured from 0 to 10, the more links a page has, and the more authoritative those links, the higher the PageRank of the page. Before anything better came along, and when Google updated the toolbar PageRank more often than every three to six months, it had some benefit. Nowadays, however, it is an outdated and largely useless measure of a page’s authority.


Alexa ranking has, unfortunately, been used by site owners and some marketers as a measure of authority. Alexa essentially ranks every website in the world according to how many visitors they receive, and not only is this a poor indication of authority, but it is also easy to manipulate. There was even an exploitation that meant installing the Alexa toolbar gave sites a boost. Alexa should be avoided altogether, because visitor numbers are not a reliable metric of any sort.

Domain Authority

For long time, we relied on the use of Moz’s Domain Authority to determine the perceived value of a website. DA is a measure out of 100 of the number of links that a site has, and the value of those links. If it sounds similar to PageRank, that’s because it is, but with a few major differences. DA updates regularly, so is closer to live than the quarterly snapshot that PageRank provides. However, it can be manipulated because it is not that effective at recognising links from bad neighbourhoods as being bad links. It has become a measure of the number of links a site has, rather than authority.

Trust Flow

Trust Flow and Citation Flow from Majestic SEO have become, in our opinion and the opinion of many others, the best way to measure the quality of a site, the authority of a page, and the value of a link from that page. Like Domain Authority, there is a free toolbar that measures it quickly and easily, and given the choice, this is the measure that we use when asked by clients.

  • How do you measure authority, and do you bother at all?
  • Do you use Klout or a similar social media scoring system?

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