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mki

An explaination of Authority.

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So I glanced over at warrior forum and noticed that people still don't get authority and how it works.

Somebody posted an interesting article about brands with some charts and I noticed that they are still basing their assessment of keyword difficulty based upon domain authority.

Google doesn't rank domains, it ranks pages... The correct metric to analyze would be page authority, not domain authority.

The "magic ranking effect" of big brands is easily explained by Google's known utilization of click data.

It's a well-known brand, so people click it more, so it ranks better.

Tools like Ahrefs are really spoon feeding SEO now.

The keyword analysis tool tells you approximately how many links you need to "earn" to the page that you want to rank.

Ahrefs couldn't be making this much easier on a person trying to do SEO and there really shouldn't be any debate over this...

With that said, the "average link" according to Ahrefs, seems pretty bad to me.

That doesn't mean that you don't need some "good links" but there seems to be a clear "observational correlation" to page authority and rankings.

You can assume the higher the page authority of a page that is linking to you, the more powerful the link is. (Matt Cutts explained this years ago.)

Guessing that authority is based upon log 10, should put you into the ballpark, as far as estimating how powerful the links are.

So it's safe to "guestimate" that a PA10 link is 10 times more powerful than a PA1 link, a PA20 is 10 times more powerful than a PA10 link, and so on.

To be clear, guestimation is all you can really do since the tools that estimate authority, do not know which links Google ignores, do not know which links are disavowed, the link-age (which is an important factor,) and most importantly, their database is nowhere near as complete as Google's.

With that said, if thinking about it that way is too difficult, then just focus on the number of referring domains pointed to the page. It's still the single best indicator if you are one of those types that hates the numeric authority calculations.

As a real example:

I am looking at a keyword which Ahrefs reports that I need approximately 10 links to rank. (This tells me this keyword is a joke and the data in other tools seems to be in "agreement.")

There are a few scary sites in the top 10, but here's the thing, they are modifying the target keyword. Google considers the target keyword and the keyword they targetting to be separate topics (it's not an LSI variation.) And indeed they are rank 1 on the keyword modifier and logically, these are two separate topics entirely (Not LSI.) So what is occurring here is that Google is ranking their content because of its page authority level, but they are weak competition because of their lack of topical relevancy. (Tip: The topic relevancy is calculated by analyzing the words on the pages in the index for that keyword and it compares that data to the click data. Google isn't AI and it doesn't "understand" your content. So if you want to compete against content that is currently ranking, make sure you understand the exact topic that is currently ranking well and create content exactly on that topic.)

From experience, 2 decent PA20 links on relevant content should land my content on page one.

As far as getting to Rank #1, I would have to analyze the top positions carefully, and since I know there are factors that are unseen and that I can not control, I typically feel that going for page one is the "best use of my time" until I get real visitor and conversion data.

So with all of that said: is "Build a brand" good advice? Absolutely sure. The more well known your brand is, the higher the odds that somebody who recognizes your brand in a SERP will click your results, which over time, will have a positive effect on your rankings. But again, Google isn't AI, it's just analyzing the user click data.

It's not a conspiracy, it's not aliens, it's not AI, it's not magic Google updates that nobody ever heard of, running 100s of correlation tests within a niche is a waste of time (you're just analyzing patterns in chaos,) and Google does not prefer brands over individual blogs, it's the users that do and the individual sites who decide to link to well-known brands more frequently.

If I wasn't banned off Warriorforums, I would call out this person's "SEO victimhood" out directly.

I'm not saying the advice is bad, because it isn't, I'm just suggesting that it's wrapped in a nice big blanket of bullshit.

Oh and secrete revealed: I would bet my savings account that the reason the Google dance occurs is because Google is testing click data.

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SEMrush

On 4/11/2018 at 1:35 PM, mki said:

So I glanced over at warrior forum and noticed that people still don't get authority and how it works.

Somebody posted an interesting article about brands with some charts and I noticed that they are still basing their assessment of keyword difficulty based upon domain authority.

Google doesn't rank domains, it ranks pages... The correct metric to analyze would be page authority, not domain authority.

This drives me nuts. Moz's metrics are all over the place in terms of accuracy, but if you are going to use them, at least use the right one. Unless there is a link directly from the home page to the page you are trying to beat, the DA is all but meaningless. 

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4 hours ago, JohnHemmer said:

This drives me nuts. Moz's metrics are all over the place in terms of accuracy, but if you are going to use them, at least use the right one. Unless there is a link directly from the home page to the page you are trying to beat, the DA is all but meaningless. 

They're all flawed in one way or another. I always personally try to get a "consensus" from at least two tools. It's obviously worth it to do the research. It takes 5 minutes and if you figure 10-25 hours to create the content + .5 to 1 day of outreach work to get one quality link... Obviously, it's a big timesaver to not target keywords you won't rank on unless you grind 200+ hours of outreach marketing into the project.

SEMRush: Database is too small to be even 65% accurate and the KD is calculated off the first 20 positions.  Also, the KD metric is also really weird, ~55 is low (I'm assuming that you're going to try to earn links to that specific page.)

MOZ: Same issue, database is kind of small. I haven't had an account there recently.

Majestic: The correct metric to look at, is page level citation flow. TF is great of guestimating how spammy the links are. I actually like their metrics.

Ahrefs: The biggest database but I've found some serious inconsistencies that skew the metrics. It will sometimes factor in links that show up in search query strings. I've only found inconsistencies that make a page/site seem more powerful than it really is. Their KD metric is good, maybe ~75% accurate, but the link estimation to hit page 1 is obviously not (it depends completely on the links you get.) Again, assuming you plan to actually market the content and get links to that specific page and understand that Google is pretty slow about valuing those links. Honestly, the main thing that skews Ahrefs KD up is the #1 site has a ton of links, so when the calculation takes an average, 2-10 could have ~10RD and #1 has 1,000, so it puts it at like a KD ~50 and to get #2-#10 is really like a KD ~10. Also, it won't factor the situation where there are pages that are not completely relevant to the search query that are ranking, for me personally, seeing that is an automatic green light, and I know the metrics are not accurate. Assuming that the SERP seems to have 10 relevant pages ranking and they all have relatively similar RD, I don't really recommend targetting above about KD 25 unless you are planning for a long-term campaign, are willing to hire help or have some kind of angle to create content that will pull in links. If it's like a 35 and you plan on doing an 8,000-word skyscraper with 50 pictures, and then sending out 500 outreach emails to people you've previously networked with, obviously you can rank because that's basically what Brian Dean does.

Note: I don't do local SEO so I can't comment.

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On 5/17/2018 at 5:31 PM, mki said:

They're all flawed in one way or another. I always personally try to get a "consensus" from at least two tools. It's obviously worth it to do the research. It takes 5 minutes and if you figure 10-25 hours to create the content + .5 to 1 day of outreach work to get one quality link... Obviously, it's a big timesaver to not target keywords you won't rank on unless you grind 200+ hours of outreach marketing into the project.

SEMRush: Database is too small to be even 65% accurate and the KD is calculated off the first 20 positions.  Also, the KD metric is also really weird, ~55 is low (I'm assuming that you're going to try to earn links to that specific page.)

MOZ: Same issue, database is kind of small. I haven't had an account there recently.

Majestic: The correct metric to look at, is page level citation flow. TF is great of guestimating how spammy the links are. I actually like their metrics.

Ahrefs: The biggest database but I've found some serious inconsistencies that skew the metrics. It will sometimes factor in links that show up in search query strings. I've only found inconsistencies that make a page/site seem more powerful than it really is. Their KD metric is good, maybe ~75% accurate, but the link estimation to hit page 1 is obviously not (it depends completely on the links you get.) Again, assuming you plan to actually market the content and get links to that specific page and understand that Google is pretty slow about valuing those links. Honestly, the main thing that skews Ahrefs KD up is the #1 site has a ton of links, so when the calculation takes an average, 2-10 could have ~10RD and #1 has 1,000, so it puts it at like a KD ~50 and to get #2-#10 is really like a KD ~10. Also, it won't factor the situation where there are pages that are not completely relevant to the search query that are ranking, for me personally, seeing that is an automatic green light, and I know the metrics are not accurate. Assuming that the SERP seems to have 10 relevant pages ranking and they all have relatively similar RD, I don't really recommend targetting above about KD 25 unless you are planning for a long-term campaign, are willing to hire help or have some kind of angle to create content that will pull in links. If it's like a 35 and you plan on doing an 8,000-word skyscraper with 50 pictures, and then sending out 500 outreach emails to people you've previously networked with, obviously you can rank because that's basically what Brian Dean does.

Note: I don't do local SEO so I can't comment.

 

Speaking of Moz, have you (or anyone else reading this thread) tried out their new database? They launched something new, or it is in beta I guess, for paying customers only. Some idiot from there was bragging that it was bigger than Ahrefs' database, but someone else said they were skewing the numbers a little bit to make it appear in their favor. Like they were using a total database versus a live database or something.

Anyhow, it is 10 times bigger than what they had before and they are supposed to be pushing out more frequent updates of their metrics. They eventually want the metrics calculated in real-time. Not sure I believe that will happen.

I have heard mixed things so far from 3 different people, so not sure what to think of it.

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5 hours ago, JohnHemmer said:

Speaking of Moz, have you (or anyone else reading this thread) tried out their new database? They launched something new, or it is in beta I guess, for paying customers only. Some idiot from there was bragging that it was bigger than Ahrefs' database, but someone else said they were skewing the numbers a little bit to make it appear in their favor. Like they were using a total database versus a live database or something.

Anyhow, it is 10 times bigger than what they had before and they are supposed to be pushing out more frequent updates of their metrics. They eventually want the metrics calculated in real-time. Not sure I believe that will happen.

I have heard mixed things so far from 3 different people, so not sure what to think of it.

 

I was not aware they upgraded their database.

It gives you 10 free credits a day with a free account. You only get 10 rows of link data though, so it's useless.

I can't really give you an opinion based on the data available in a free account.

Since it does give you a lot more data than it used to, I would personally be willing to try it.

It does appear that it adds lost links to the count which could be useful in certain cases.

For bigger projects, usually, you want to get a report from everywhere you can and then combine the data together. (Talking about projects where you're going to need 50+ quality RDs to the page.)

Referring Domains:

blogtyrant.com

Moz: 3.8k Ahrefs: 2,512

smartblogger.com

Moz: 3.7k Ahrefs: 5,003

thesocialmediahat.com

Moz: 2.5k Ahrefs: 1,890

stoppingscams.com

Moz: 458 Ahrefs: 384

robbierichards.com

Moz: 1.39k Ahrefs: 1,160

Moz gives you some free keywords to analyze as well and the data seems relatively consistent with Ahrefs, but the number scale is different.

Keywords that I personally felt were too difficult for a new site were around ~KD30 in Moz and I try to stick under ~KD25 (Ahrefs) in general unless I've personally identified something that perks my interest.  I'd have to test like 200-300 keywords to get a good feel for the Moz KD metric and I obviously can't do that on a free account. I think they only give you 10 queries a month.

Edit: I tested some more keywords in the Moz KD tool and I do not like it. I'm looking at a keyword right now that has so little competition that non-English content is actually ranking in the #2 spot. The KD according to Moz was 36. It's a KD 0 in Ahrefs and from personal experience, it's at "Make a blog post about it and get one good link to get page 1" difficulty level... I don't completely understand how the metric works, if that's only for the first few positions, then maybe.

Edit2: Yeah the Moz KD is worthless. It factors the DA in and I believe it's the top 20 results, not the top 10. So in the case of the above keyword, there are 3 youtube videos on page 1 so it derped up the difficulty. Also, the traffic estimates are US only, (there might be a way to change it) but I only care about global traffic volumes. Also, it doesn't seem right to me. I'm looking at a different keyword where I actually get more clicks than Moz reports that it gets searched in the US.

Verdict: There's enough data there for me to throw $100 at a month to see whats up. I'll let you know what I find when I try it.

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@mki

I will be interested to see what else you find if you do test it out. I do not like that they factor DA into the Keyword Difficulty score. Like you said in your one example if there are a couple of results from somewhere like YouTube, that is going to skew the whole thing. To be honest, I'm not all that interested in the KD anyhow. More interested in the link database and if their metrics are a little more in line with reality.

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3 hours ago, Mike Friedman said:

@mki

I will be interested to see what else you find if you do test it out. I do not like that they factor DA into the Keyword Difficulty score. Like you said in your one example if there are a couple of results from somewhere like YouTube, that is going to skew the whole thing. To be honest, I'm not all that interested in the KD anyhow. More interested in the link database and if their metrics are a little more in line with reality.

I don't mind testing it.

But if it doesn't provide me data that I can use to yield 4-5 extra links/month over Ahrefs, I'm just going to cancel it.

The bottom tier plan on Ahrefs provides more data than I can personally use unless I started doing 24/7 marathon outreach marketing sessions or something.

Warning: Extremely Highly Speculative Fantasy Math ahead.

As far as KD, I'm currently looking at a list of 40 keywords all under KD 25. If you take the global *click* volume estimates of the #1 pages and add it up, it's 500K UV/M and that's just Google traffic. So... Yeah about to go off into rainbow unicorn land here but this is possible, granted highly unlikely... If in theory, I could rank all 40 pages #1, the opt-in rate was ~5%, and the EPL was ~$10, that's $250k/month. Now I'm not in any way suggesting that would be easy to do or is even a sane way to think about things (it's not), I'm just saying that it's possible to illustrate why I feel KD matters. The sum of estimated links required is ~550, which puts page #1ing all of the keywords into "can be done by one person" territory (note: not rank #1.) Obviously achieving 4% of that would be pretty good for most people.

The reality here is that it would probably take 2 years, either the EPL or the opt-in rate would be way off, and there's no real way to rank #1 on all of those keywords. To explain the ELP vs Opt-In rate problem in a bit more detail; obviously, you can bait lots of people into opting in, but then the leads are mostly junk, I would personally try to filter the junk leads away with the offer itself, so the opt-In rate would be much lower on some of those KWs since optimizing for list size isn't what I personally want to do.

 

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