PageRank vs. Domain Authority

We’ve all heard about the PageRank vs Domain Authority battle. These are two measurements of a site that are always getting thrown around as important metrics that you should work on improving. What many people don’t know however is that one of them, PageRank is created by Google. While the other, Domain Authority is a third party option that is developed by Moz.

It’s needless to say that there’s not enough about neither of the two online, let alone about the differences. So, we decided to get to the bottom of everything and explain what goes into measuring these. Also, in this article, you’ll find out which one of them is more important for your site.


We’ll start with PageRank. As we already mentioned, it’s an algorithm created by Google founder Larry Page, and therefore, it’s named after him. All in all, it’s a simple measurement of links and link equity on a certain website. Google looks at a given site and measures the number of links leading to it. Additionally, it also measures the authority of those sites as well. This is to prevent the abuse from link farms and other black hat link building tactics. So, the higher-quality your links are, and the higher number of those links is, the better PageRank number you’ll have.

For a long time, PageRank was an important, if not the most important, metric relating to the quality of a site. Both webmasters and regular users used it to determine if the site is trustworthy or not. Another use of it was setting a value on a site for domain resellers. However, this particular utility has gone down quite a bit.

In fact, this algorithm has decreased in value significantly in the last couple of years. It reached a point where Google pretty much stopped updating PageRank data. Therefore, your site actually can’t either rise or fall over time. Recently they started updating it again, but these are very infrequent and come usually twice a year.

All that being said, PageRank is still valuable as a part of Google’s internal algorithm. However, for the general public, it’s not very relevant.

Man learning about PageRank vs Domain Authority on Google.
PageRank is Google’s algorithm that lost its’ utility in the last couple of years.

Domain Authority

Domain Authority is a measurement created by, and it represents a more accurate indication of the value of a site. Similar to the PageRank, it’s an algorithm that calculates the authority of a website and there are a few things you need to know about it.

For starters, it’s logarithmic. What this means is that rising from a low score of 30 to 35 will be much easier than rising from a high 80 to 85. A score of 100 is the top ideal, and not many sites will be able to get it. When it comes to an unraked site, it would have a DA of zero.

It’s a metric that is frequently mentioned and there are ways and tips to achieve higher authority of your domain. So, if you’re still down low, you don’t have to despair. As it is so popular and important, you can find it through a number of different SEO tools, some of which you’re already using for sure.

Photograph of a computer monitor.
Domain Authority is a much more relevant measure when it comes to the PageRank vs Domain Authority battle.

Metrics of Domain Authority

It’s important for you to understand that PageRank vs Domain Authority is a bit of unfair competition. DA is calculated using a much wider range of metrics as opposed to PageRank. We couldn’t list them all, but some of them are:

  • Number and quality of incoming links. Who links to you, how often, and how good. This number can be improved by gaining backlinks from different authoritative sources.
  • Number and quality of outgoing links. It determines who do you link to and it measures if you have too many links for your content.
  • Domain registration information. If you own many domains and even one of them becomes a spammy site, all of the others can be demoted.
  • Domain age. Many sites never go past their first anniversary, so the longer your domain exists, the better it will perform.
  • Link diversity. It’s always a better idea to have fewer links coming from a wide variety of sites, than many links from just a few sources. Domain Authority also checks for link equity here.
  • PageRank. Since DA uses PageRank as one of the metrics, you can easily figure out that it is much more accurate.
  • Temporal distribution. This is the aspect that calculates the distribution of content and traffic over time. It checks all the spikes and determines if they’re genuine.
  • Value distribution. This measures how much of the pages on your website are considered valuable.
  • Traffic metrics. Here are things like the number of returning visitors, time spent on the page, and bounce rate.

PageRank vs Domain Authority explained

There are a few key takeaways here. Domain Authority is a much wider, and much more complex measurement than PageRank. It is affected by many of the things that also affect your SERPs and user engagement. It measures your SEO, popularity, and relevance all at one go. So, you have to improve your all-around metrics to increase your Domain Authority.

Additionally, Moz offers to do the same calculation on a page level as well. While on the other hand, PageRank can only work on the whole site. If you ask professionals at Link Department, they’ll tell you right away that this option is a great way to analyze the width of your site. You get the ability to check which pages have low authority and therefore are keeping you down, and which pages have high authority. By comparing these, you can determine what you’re doing right and what you can change.

Laptop showing different metrics.
Domain Authority gives you many more options and more precise measurements than PageRank.

Who is the winner?

All in all, in the battle of PageRank vs Domain Authority, the latter is a clear winner. It’s a much more active, up-to-date metric that ranks a site in a much more precise and granular way. Obviously, a higher DA is much better than a higher PR.

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