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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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