Since Google stopped updating its Page Rank after October 2014, the demand was born for an accurate tool to measure the website’s authority. Various companies, such as Moz, Ahrefs and Majestic, started to offer their ow replacement metric. Today Domain/Page Authority (DA/PA), Domain/URL Rating (DR/UR) and Trust/Citation Flow (TF/CF) try to do the same thing that Page Rank did in the past, which is to determine the authority of the whole website (or a single page) based on the amount and quality of backlinks.

However, these metrics are not as reliable as one would think, and this article will explain the reasons for it.

website authority

Different results

Moz, Ahrefs and Majestic all try to determine the same thing but come up with different results, sometimes the difference can be quite significant, even up to 50%, especially for websites with low or medium authority. They use varying technologies and valuation methods, hence the differences, but this does explain the outcome to the user. In terms of usability, it means that none of the tools are 100% correct at guessing the authority; they are all wrong at least a little bit. Thus to determine correct authority level arithmetic mean should be used.

Easy to mislead

Google has invested billions into providing the most accurate and best searching engine results. SEO metric companies do not have that much money. This leads to them being much worse at noticing black hat techniques, than Google. It’s still very easy to cheat these website authority metrics which high amount spam links, even though Google has been punishing for them for ages. This can be seen in situations where a website may have 50 DA, but no organic traffic. Obviously, Google does rank that website high, so the SEO metrics are providing incorrect data. Similarly, there are cases when a website has relatively low authority according to SEO metric tools, but still receives a lot of organic traffic.

Slow to with updates

This is mainly an issue of Moz’s DA and PA, which takes up one month to update. It’s not as slow as updates of Spam Score, which is updated only once in every six months, but still slow enough for cases where you are doing active link building and want to see the results. Ahrefs and Majestic, update their metrics daily, so they are more accurate, but still not accurate enough. The problem is that while Google indexes a new page usually in a few hours, for these companies it may take days or even weeks to do the same. This is due to their relatively low computing power compared to Google. 

What to trust?

I personally trust organic traffic more than any SEO metrics. High organic traffic is the best indicator of high website authority. It’s the only way to find out what Google thinks about the website.


Filip Poutintsev, the Chief Editor of Honest Pros and Cons, is a long term business writer, who has been featured in various online publications such as Forbes, CoinTelegraph and HackerNoon. Now he writes exclusively for Honest Pros and Cons.