I'm Russ Jones, Adjunct Search Scientist at Moz, and I'm proud to announce that we're going to be releasing a great update to our Page Authority (PA) metric this month.
Although Page Authority did not garner the same amount of attention as its sibling Domain Authority metric, PA always correlated much better with SERPs than DA and served as a powerful predictor of ranking. While PA has always fluctuated with changes in the link graph, we're introducing an entirely new method of deriving the score.
Learn more about Page Authority 2.0
Long gone are the days of counting backlinks in different ways and hoping they would correlate well with SERPs. As Moz likes to do, we are developing a new method of calculating page authority to get superior results. Here are some ways we can change things:
The training set
In the past we have only used SERPs to train the Page Authority model. Although this method was simple and straightforward, it left something to be desired. Our first step in addressing the new Page Authority is to redefine the training set as a whole.
Instead of modeling page authority based on a page's ability to outperform another page, we now train based on a page's cumulative value based on a number of metrics, including search traffic and CPC. While this is a bit of a simplification of the process, this method allows us to better compare pages that are not in the SERPs.
For example, imagine that side A is on one topic and side B is on another topic. In the past, our model could not compare these two pages as they never appear on the same SERP. This new method gives each side an abstract value so that the machine-learned model can compare them to any other side.
The retraining set
One of the biggest problems with creating metrics is not what the models see, but what the models don't see.
Think about it for a minute: What types of URLs are not showing up in the SERPs the page authority model uses? First of all, there won't be a lot of images or other binaries. No penalized pages are displayed either. To fix this problem, let's now use a common solution to run the model, identify outliers (URLs with high PA that actually have no search value), and then feed those URLs back into the training set. We can then run the model again so that it learns from its own mistakes. This can be repeated as often as necessary to reduce the number of outliers.
Tear off the plaster
Moz is always aware of the impact changes to our metrics can have on our customers. There is a tradeoff between continuity and accuracy. At Page Authority, we focus on accuracy. This can lead to above-average shifts in your page authority. Therefore, it is more important than ever to view the page authority against your competitors rather than as a standalone number.
What action should we take?
Communicate with stakeholders, team members and customers about the update
Just like our upgrade to Domain Authority, some users will likely be surprised by changes in their PA. Make sure they understand that the new PA will be more accurate (and useful!) And that the most important measurement is relative to their competitors. We will not publish a page authority that is no better than the previous version. Even if the results are disappointing, understand that you now have better insight than ever before into the performance of your pages in the SERPs.
Use PA as a relative metric like DA
The side authority is in itself comparative. A PA of 70 means nothing unless you know your competitors' PA. It could be high enough to allow you to rank for any keyword you like, or it could be terribly low because your competitors are Wikipedia and Quora. The first thing to do when analyzing the page authority of a URL is to put it in the correct context of the competitor's URLs.
Expect PA to keep up with Google
As we announced at Domain Authority, we won't start the new PA and just let it go. Our intention is to keep improving the model as we discover new and better features and models. This volatility mainly affects pages with unnatural link profiles. However, we'd prefer to keep up to date with Google's algorithms, even if it means a bit of a bumpy ride.
When does it start?
We will introduce the new Page Authority on September 30th, 2020. Until then, we encourage you to explore our resources to prepare and facilitate conversations with clients and team members. After the new PA launches, I'll also host a webinar on October 15 that will explain how the metric can be used. We are very excited about the new and improved PA and hope that you look forward to this update too.
If you have any questions, please comment below, reach out to me on Twitter @rjonesx, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To prepare for this and learn more about the upcoming change to Page Authority, be sure to check out our helpful resources:
Visit the PA Resource Center