What confers the authority of a web page?

For years, the rule of thumb used to be that:

the more backlinks a page had from popular websites,
the more authoritative it was in Google searches.


But with the changes in the past few years, that rule no longer applies.

Nowadays, some backlinks may even be detrimental. Besides, lots of new factors unrelated to backlinks have been added, making the algorithm more complex than ever. It is therefore legitimate to ask: what does it really mean for a landing page to have authority?

In contrast with other SEO tools, which still hang on to measuring page authority based on backlinks, SEOmonitor strongly believes that Google is the ultimate criterion:

a landing page has Topical Authority

when it ranks well for more keywords within a certain topic.

The more monthly impressions (scrolling to see the result and not just the SERP loading) it gets on the topic, the higher its topical authority. And, from our research, the higher the topical authority, the easier it is to rank for new keywords within the topic.

This is why the Topical Authority represents one of the factors taken into account in our Difficulty formula. When you check the explanation for the Difficulty of a keyword, you will see a comparison between your landing page and the top 10 results in terms of Topical Authority, as well as how many other more authoritative pages stand between your current position and the Top 10.

How does this work?

[Topical Authority] = the estimated monthly organic traffic a page makes

based on keyword rankings and search volumes.

1. Topical Authority for UK, US, RO: our own keyword databases

We extract all of the keywords where the landing page ranks in Top 100.

Then, for each keyword, we estimate the monthly generated traffic, using the keyword Search Volumes and a general estimated average CTR for the top 20 positions (the same as in the platform). This gives us the estimated visits.

[Topical Authority] = sum([Estimated Visits]) for all ranking keywords

2. Topical Authority for the rest of the world: SERPstat’s keyword databases

This is calculated for keywords ranking between 11-100, on markets not in our databases.

2.1 For keywords in Top 100:

  • We extract the unique (desktop) landing pages, through SERPstat’s API (URL Report).

  • Then we filter by Top 10 positions & Search Volume > 100.

  • We sort descending, by Search Volume.

  • We get the Top 5 keywords.

We compute their Topical Authority as the [count of keywords ranking in Top 10].

2.2 For keywords outside of Top 100:

  • We take the #1 ranking page, also through SERPstat API (URL competitors top 10)

  • This gives us the count for Top 10 URLs.

  • Using SERPstat API (URL report), we filter by Top 10 positions & Search Volume > 50.

We compute the Topical Authority as the [count of the Top 10 keywords on the URL analyzed].

Note: if it doesn’t have a page, the Difficulty is automatically Hard.

By measuring the Topical Authority not by the number of links, but by the impressions generated in Google searches, SEOmonitor provides a timeless formula, which does not depend on any future changes in ranking algorithms.

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