Search Engine Optimization Metrics PageRank, TF/CF, PA/DA, UR/DR
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Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing a website for the search engines. The aim of SEO is always the same – to improve the rank of the website or page in the SERPS.
For this reason, SEO practitioners are always trying to second guess the search engines – what exactly do we need to do in order to rank higher for our keyword? How do the search engines value backlinks? What keyword density should I be using?
These are all questions that get asked every day by SEO professionals and the truth is – nobody knows the actual answers. The reason is that the search engines keep all their algorithms completely secret. After all, search engines such as Google want to rank pages based on their true value, not the value that the page owners would give them.
SEO Analysis and research tools
This is where SEO analysis tools such as AHREFs come in. These tools are designed to do a similar job to Google and other search engines in terms of assessing any given website. These tools tend to produce their own metrics for each page on the Internet, or at least as many as they can manage to index, and these metrics provide an estimate of what the search engines might think of the page in question.
Sometimes, internet marketers get carried away with these metrics and think they are real values that exist and are taken notice of by the search engines. This, of course, is not the case and therefor it is important to always remember these metrics are simply indicators of how the search engines might value a website or webpage. The metrics could be way off.
PageRank: An outdated metric created by Google
PageRank is an algorithm used by the search giant Google. PageRank was, and still is, at the very core of Google and is a way of measuring the importance of website pages.
PageRank as a metric is not so important now, seeing as it has not been updated since November 2013.
Some people would argue that PageRank still holds value today, although this metric should be taken with a pinch of salt. You should also be careful where you mention it as you may get laughed out of the room for giving it too much credit.
TF and CFL Two metrics from Majestic SEO
TF and CF are two very popular SEO metrics produced and managed by Majestic SEO.
Trust Flow is scored from 0-100 and is based on the quality of backlinks coming in to any website. The lowest value – 0 – indicates a complete lack of quality links and the highest value of 100 indicates some of the strongest backlinks are coming in to the website. Trust Flow has a large collection of extremely authoritative websites at its foundation. Sites closely linked to those authoritative sites are likely to see a higher score.
Citation Flow is also scored from 0-100 but relates to the power of the inbound links to any given website. Think of citation flow as more of a mathematical calculation on the number of links coming into a website.
These two metrics can be used together to give a good understanding on the quality of a website’s backlink profile. If a website has a high number for its TF and CF then the site probably has a lot of authoritative links coming in. If, however, a website has a low TF number but a very high CF number it could indicate that the site has been engaging in shady backlink tactics and that it may have links coming in from bad neighbourhoods or low quality websites that are far removed from any authoritative sites.
PA and DA: The metrics from Moz
PA (page authority) and DA (domain authority) are two metrics created and maintained by Moz. These two metrics are self-explanatory – the first being a measure of how authoritative a single webpage is and the second being a measure of how authoritative the entire website is.
Moz calculates both scores for any given website or page based on the number, and quality, of sites linking to it.
UR and DR: Two metrics from AHREFS
UR and DR are two metrics provided by AHREFs. UR (URL rating) is scored from 0-100 and is very similar to the PA metric from Moz. The UR score considers internal links as well as external backlinks, but of course both types are weighted differently.
AHREFS declare that they use a formula very similar to that of Googles PageRank algorithm when determining the UR score for a URL, which of course is no surprise; we are all trying to understand how Google think aren’t we?
DR is very similar except that it is a domain level metric and indicates the backlink power score for the entire domain, rather than any page on the website (Like UR does).
Although Google denies assigning weight to domains (According to Google the internet is simply made up of web pages rather than domains and pages separately) it is still considered an important factor within the SEO industry and therefor it is a good idea to assess the relative strength of a domain. If nothing else, having a page on a strong domain means you are essentially funnelling strong backlinks towards that page.
Referring domains: A global metric
Let’s not forget about one of the most important, and global, metrics. Referring domains is a metric that most of the tools listed above will provide. This number will vary greatly between tools and is dependant on how many websites those tools have managed to crawl.
Referring domains is still a very powerful metric though because the figures simply don’t lie. Whilst some other metrics give more insight into the power of a website’s backlink profile, the number of referring domains a website has gives a very quick and easy to interpret assessment on how popular a website is, and to put it simply, how many other websites are linking to it.
A final word of advice: Don’t rely solely on these metrics
The best piece of advice you can take away from this article is not to rely solely on any of these metrics. Get under the bonnet and look at the links themselves. That is where the real value lies and that is what will make or break any websites backlink profile. At the end of the day, if a website has a good number of backlinks from quality websites within its niche, its going to be a powerful site, regardless of what the metrics might say.
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