Joran Hofman
March 1, 2021

What is Authority? 

Authority in SEO is a measure of the quality and knowledge of a website in its niche, which can strengthen the overall visibility and SERP of a website. A common goal for many website owners is to try and increase the page authority and domain authority of their website. This can have a strong impact on a website's ability to rank high in search engines, but it isn’t the sole determining factor when it comes to ranking a website.

How Search Engines Evaluate Authority?

First of all, it is important to explain that search engines help connect the visitor to authorized and relevant sources to get answers to questions and queries.

Search engines use multiple signals and elements to evaluate the authority and relevance of web pages that match the query, but in general can be grouped into two categories:

  • Content (relevance)
  • Links (external citation authority)

The first thing a search engine does is read and evaluate the content and characteristics of a page such as how complete the information is on it, and what would be its usefulness to the reader. Once the search engine understands the page, it is incorporated into its index and then uses external citation signals to measure the level of authority in a related topic.

Links have become the primary signal for assessing the authority of web pages. They work similarly to academic citations, as long as a source document cites more relevant academic articles, it will tend to receive higher authority.

Other elements that search engines take into account to evaluate the authority of a web page are the relative authority and reliability of each of the sources that are quoted.