PageRank vs. Domain Authority

Laura Ginn

Ten years ago, we would not have been writing about the difference, and more importantly the importance, of these two ways of judging a website. For a long time, PageRank was the be all and end all in terms of judging the quality of a website quickly and easily. These days, things are somewhat different. For a long time now, PageRank has been taking a bit of a bashing, and Google have openly admitted that they regard PageRank as being considerably less important than it was some time ago.

What is PageRank?

PageRank is a simple way of grading a website, and it is something that Google do for each indexed website on the net. It is on a scale of 1-10, and is for the most part based on the amount of no follow and do follow backlinks.

What is Domain Authority?

Domain authority is in some ways a similar way of measuring the quality of a website, but it differs both in how it judges, and what factors of a websites performance it judges. Firstly, your score for domain authority will be between 1 and 100. Secondly, it is focused on the performance of a webpage in search results.

Which Is Better?

This is of course not a straight forward question to answer. At the moment, people tend to favour the information pertained by searching for domain authority results. Firstly this is because there is a greater span of results possible. If a site is rewarded with a domain authority of 67 and has a page rank of 5, it’s immediately clear that you are getting a more specific evaluation from domain authority. Remember that Google’s homepage is a PageRank 9, so we’re only really talking about 1-8 for most pages. It really does not help us to accurately assess performance to a great degree.

The other reason why more people are interested in domain authority is because it changes more often. At the moment, Google adjusts PageRank once a quarter, whereas a website can expect its domain authority to change maybe two times in a month. A site with a PageRank of 5 might have a hard time working out whether or not they are going forwards or backwards, but by watching the domain authority ranking, it’s easier to quickly understand whether or not the site is performing well.

On top of this, domain authority tends to be a bit more transparent in terms of what the figure means. With PageRank, we know it relates to backlinks, but Google keeps a lot of the information under wraps. With domain authority, it’s a lot easier to understand why you are doing well or badly. You can find out how you are doing with your total link count, your MozTrust and your MozRank, your linking rout domains and a whole lot more.

Finally, the one thing that PageRank has over domain authority – it is taken into account in the search engine page results. Let’s face it – all sites need to do all they can to make sure they feature in the appropriate slots in the SERPs. For this reason alone, people will continue to use, follow and try to positively influence their PageRank.

Which is more important? Very difficult to say. The best advice of course is to watch both, and work hard to make sure the signals for both are on the up!