What Is Authority?

Adam Steele
Nov 10, 2021

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People only want sources they can trust. Authority is the metric or the quality search engines use to judge how trustworthy and valuable the content and information on a website is.

Authority is the most important ranking factor for an SEO website. Understanding how authority works, and how to see it from within Google’s search results will help you get more out of your marketing strategy. We’ll also show you a few tactics that will help your site’s authority score in the rankings skyrockets like crazy so that customers can find your site when they need it.

What is Authority?

Authority is the factor that determines how a site ranks in the search results of a given search query.

From social science and political thought perspective, the official and traditional definition of authority is “ the power over or right (or a government agency of other political authority) to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience”. Having an authority figure, a form of authority or a legal authority is essential to our economy and society because it gives law and order.

Source: Zain

When we consider authority from an SEO perspective, it relates more to the legitimacy or legitimate authority of a website.

Google, Bing and Yahoo all consider this factor when considering the relevance of a website to specific search queries. If you want your website to appear on page one in Google, then having high authority is crucial. Authority is also known as PageRank. The higher your authority score, the greater your ranking position will be in Google’s main results page (which is where most users go when they are searching).

Read more: How to Increase Domain Authority

Why is Authority Important?

The concept of authority is important for SEO because it is one of the main factors that Google uses to decide which websites rank at the top of the search results for a given query.

Google’s algorithm is designed so that the search results which are relevant to the query appear high in the results. This means that, for each search query, Google will try and determine which website would best answer that query. The more relevant (i.e., more authoritative) those websites are to the query, then the better they will rank.

The more authority your website has, the more Google perceives it as a trustworthy and reliable source of information. This is similar to a group of people vouching or voting for a source, such as a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Thus, the more authority your website has (or the more backlinks from relevant sources), the more valuable and authoritative it appears in the eyes of Google.

Authority FAQ

How do I build SEO authority?

Authority comes from link popularity (links pointing to the domain), keyword identification (the number of times a keyword is used in relation to other words), and content length.

Google’s main algorithm is to determine the most authoritative websites for a given search query. The specific way in which Google ranks different websites for a given query varies depending on the types of queries Google has monitored and detected in its systems, but the same factors are at work every single time.

As such, getting more backlinks, and publishing optimized content are the two best, most authentic ways of building SEO authority.

What is DA in SEO?

DA stands for domain authority (similar to domain rating). It is a metric used by Google to see how many websites link to another site, and what type of sites these are. As such, Google assess’s a website backlink profile to identify what type of content is on the site, and how valuable that content might be to users.

Does domain authority affect SEO?

Absolutely. The higher your domain authority, the more competitive your position will be in Google’s search results.

This means that if you have a high domain authority, then you will get a much better position in the search results for your chosen keywords than if you have a low domain authority. It also means that it’s easier to rank for competitive keywords if you have a high DA; it’s much harder to rank well in Google with low DA.

What is a good DA score?

Your competition will determine what is a “good” domain authority score.

For many websites, a good DA score is 15 or higher for PPC ads. This provides a level of authority that can be attributed to numerous factors, such as brand name recognition and the number of websites with a known or trusted domain name referencing your website.

However, when you start competing with other websites that have DAs of 30-40+, then you need to get a domain authority similar to those websites if you are to outrank them in the SERPs.

Check your domain authority here with this free DA checker tool!

Don’t forget: check out the other definitions (over 200) in our growing SEO glossary.


Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of authority in SEO. Authority helps search engines identify which websites are trustworthy, so growing your authority is essential to securing higher ranks in search engines.

To learn more about building authority and how we can help you do so, take a look at our SEO packages.

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

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Written by Adam Steele on November 10, 2021

COO and Product Director at Loganix. Recovering SEO, now focused on the understanding how Loganix can make the work-lives of SEO and agency folks more enjoyable, and profitable. Writing from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.