There are many metrics you can use to judge a page. Google’s outdated, dying PageRank is one. Various backlink health checks are others. One of the most credible, these days, is the Moz-created Page Authority.
Moz has long been one of the most important names in SEO, such that anyone who is anyone tries to contribute to the site. They’ve been in the game for an incredibly long time, they work with a wide variety of clients and they have a massive pool of data to comb through to measure everything in the SEO world. When a major algorithm update hits, you can trust Moz to analyze it in detail and show you how it works. Heck, Moz has gone deeper than any other site in analyzing some updates.
With all of the data, research, knowledge and analysis that goes into Page Authority, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the more valuable and accurate measurements for a page online. So how, exactly, does it work?
Page Authority combines a wide number of factors measured by Moz and taken from other data sources. This includes other Moz-based ranks, including MozRank, MozTrust and ton of other factors. Moz hasn’t explained what those factors are, precisely, in several years; the old videos that covered them before are five years old and missing from their servers.
There are a few things you should know about Page Authority before you go relying on it, however.
So, the question many people come to ask is the same one many people asked about PageRank when Google still cared about it. How often does it update? How long does it take for changes you make to be reflected in the calculated score?
The answer, for Moz Page Authority, ranges from 2 weeks to 2 months. The most recent update was January 27, 2015, so very recent. Unfortunately, that means a page published on January 28 will have to wait until anywhere from February 15 to March 30 – on estimate – to receive a Page Authority calculation at all.
The reason for this is the sheer amount of Data Moz has to accumulate and process on an ongoing basis. They don’t have the power or the resources to make that calculation a constant. Hell, Google doesn’t have those resources, which is why they’re abandoning PageRank and why so many of their algorithmic shifts come in huge bursts rather than a slow, constant trickle.
How do you know when an update is, or when one is coming? You can follow the news through Moz themselves here. You can see, for example, the January 27th update was delayed twice due to the sheer amount of data they were processing, including nearly 300 billion URLs. You can also scroll down and see the second most recent update was December 4th, nearly two months previously. Before that, it was October 28th, only about a month before.
You can also check the Open Site Explorer homepage and look at the top. See where, next to the Open Site Explorer headline, it says when it was last updated? This will give you an idea of how long it has been since the last update.
Look down a bit and you see “Mozscape Index” with an update date. This is the index that powers Page Authority and Domain Authority, among other Moz metrics. At the bottom of that little infobox, you see their projected next update. Currently, the next update is tentatively scheduled for March 11, about five weeks in the future.
When you’re using Page Authority to determine the rank of your pages, you can’t make a few changes and wait for an update. The data is simply not responsive enough to take the change in ranking into consideration before you continue making more changes. Therefore, you need to do as many improvements as possible.
Moz cautions you, however, that Page Authority is difficult to influence directly. It’s an aggregate of many other factors, any one of which will have such a minor effect that it’s hard to move the numbers. Therefore, any change that boosts your SEO will have an effect on Page Authority, given time.
In short, anything that works to boost your SEO in the white hat arena will help with your Page Authority, and the more you have a better Domain Authority across your site, the more you’ll have better individual Page Authority measurements.