Google Pagerank vs Domain Authority (and Moz vs Alexa)
As a blogger, I take pride in the things that I write and the amount of people that read my blog posts. Google Pagerank measures neither, so why are so many people obsessed with it?
After starting the blog in 2004, I decided last year to move to my own domain rather than relying on WordPress (and before that, Blogger, and even further back with LiveJournal). The move was an impulsive one, but I’m glad that I did it. Unfortunately in doing so, I reset all my stats, so any rankings, ratings and so on that had built up on the previous domains were now worthless.
Google Pagerank has, historically, been a great way to assess a website’s popularity. Browsing through the majority of blogs that I read, most have a PageRank of 2, which is a score out of ten. Believe it or not, this is quite a high score. Twitter has a PageRank of 10, for comparison, but Google themselves only have a PageRank of 9, and it’s rare to see too many blogs higher than a 3 or 4.
However, Google announced a few years ago that it was running down its use of PageRank, and despite doing a sneaky and unexpected update last year (which unfortunately for me came in too soon after I had registered my domain for it to give me a ranking), the use of PageRank to evaluate websites is fast becoming obsolete.
Unfortunately, though, many people and companies still see to rely on PageRank as an accurate way of comparing websites. I decided to take a look at the alternatives. Primarily google pagerank vs DA (Domain Authority)
Firstly, there’s Alexa. It’s a company that is owned by Amazon, and it ranks websites by popularity in a league table, offering both a global ranking and a country ranking. There are limitations to this, insomuch as Alexa draws information from people that use Alexa themselves.
Although this should give an accurate reflection of a wide range of users, the truth is it is merely a reflection of a slice of internet users (albeit millions of them). If every Alexa user chose to visit, for example, www.cancerresearchuk.org, the website would be ranked near the top of the rankings, rather than the lowly position it (probably accurately) holds. (22,712 worldwide and 1,773 in the UK).
There is a breakdown of how Alexa accumulate a ranking, where they reveal that they take an average of three months data for their global rankings and a month of data for the country rankings.
To give you an idea of how this works, I’ve compared three sites: Mine, my good friend Kip’s and the Cancer Research UK site which was mentioned above.
As you’d imagine, Cancer Research gets a higher ranking than both Kip and I, though surprisingly my site rates higher than Kip’s.
Secondly is Moz, who seem to have taken the crown from Google as king of all things SEO. Moz has a few fingers in the SEO pie. They offer both Page Authority (the equivalent of Google Pagerank) and Domain Authority, the former which measures the relative strength of an individual page, the latter measures the strength of entire domains and subdomains. It’s increasingly becoming a case of Google Pagerank vs DA when it comes to measuring how successful a website is.
Fortunately, more and more companies are leaning toward Domain Authority from Moz and away from the Pagerank that Google offers. Unlike PageRank, Domain Authority offers a score of up to 100, using a logarithmic scale, which means it’s easier to rise from 10 to 20 than it is to rise from 70 to 80. You can check your Domain Authority quickly and easily at opensiteexplorer.org, where you can even compare up to five sites.
Again, comparing the same three sites:
The screenshots clearly show what you would expect - Cancer Research is the most popular of the three, with a bigger Page Authority and Domain Authority. Kip’s site, which has been running on the same domain is higher than mine and mine is, naturally, last.
Hubspot describes themselves as “an inbound marketing software platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers”
Obviously, it’s aimed at businesses, but they have a Marketing Grader which is free to use and gives a handy overview of your site. Again, for comparison:
Interestingly, Kip comes out on top of this one, and that could well be of his excellent use of social media.
Overall, there are several ways to rank a website and the contents it holds, but ultimately, rank is no real recognition of how good a website is.
Take a look at the examples above, and all three websites are a little up and down in comparison with each other. Yes, it can be reflective, and yes, it offers a quick and easy insight.
But if 100 years ago we weren’t judging books by their covers, then in the 21st century we shouldn’t be judging sites by their pageranks. Though, let’s be honest, it’s easy to see why people would.
The more that you read, the more it becomes apparent that Moz is fast becoming the defining force in SEO and ranking sites, especially as Google seem to be relinquishing their hold on the market. Moz are continually upgrading their Page Authority ranking system, meaning it’s far more up to date than Google.
It also allows a far more accurate scale given that it goes from 1-100 as opposed to 1-10 like Google.
It will be a while before people start recognising Page Authority as the standard, but the tide is already beginning to turn that way. In the meantime, there will still be debate about the battle of Google Pagerank vs Domain Authority.