Why Does The First SERP Usually Contains High Domain Authority Sites?

I'm competing with a Medium post for first rank.
I found that Medium has a lot of meta tags, social links, and divs inside divs.
Will having such a complex structure help in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Or is Medium's rank mainly due to its domain authority?
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Its site authority yes (as opposed to the official Moz Domain Authority metric which Google doesn't use). Google seems to be favouring Medium articles a lot in certain fields at the moment. It will change. So I wouldn't base your strategy on it.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 201: There is no such thing as domain or site authority.
It's ranking for all the usual reasons why any web page ranks.
Domain authority/site authority is never the reason. Google leveled that playing field many years ago.

Mark Β» Roger
If you have a site with lots of powerful pages, including home page, and you link to new content from those pages your new pages will rank better. I call that authority.
Roger Β» Mark
Links to the home page trick is an oldy but goldy. But that doesn't work as well anymore.
1. A site with heavy home page links will get a crawl, but that's Discovery.
2. A page with inbound links directly, that's a ranking benefit link.
3. Adding a prominent link from home page tells Google that that page is important.
A page with links directly to it will rock the party all night long. I've built links for decades and saw that change quite some time ago.
Back in the old days, back when PageRank (PR) was visible, sites with PageRank of 9 and 8 would routinely outrank more relevant sites.
So a site like Adobe would be ranking for terms over better and more relevant pages. Google killed that link effect many years ago.
Richard πŸ‘‘ Β» Roger
This opens up an interesting debate. In years (decades for those of us long enough in the teeth) past the nearest thing we probably had to an official Google measure of domain authority was PageRank (sometimes measured at the domain's root page).
I agree that Google is now far better at ranking content on its own merit, but I'm not entirely sure that "authority" (however you want to define that – links to the site/page etc.) isn't still a factor. I work on some guerrilla websites, and the mere fact of publishing content still gets them higher ranking than I would expect to be the case if they were a mom-and-pop site.
NB: I respect your view on this, and looking for conversation with the hope here of extending the perceived wisdom.
Roger Β» Richard
I commented about it above, but if you were around for decades, then you probably remember how Adobe, with a PageRank (PR) of 9 (as I recall) used to rank for terms over better and more relevant pages.
If PageRank to the home page was an overwhelming and deciding factor, you'd see more PR heavy sites with a PageRank of 9 at the top of the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) (Adobe, NYTimes), but that's not the case.
Check out the Modification Engine and what that does (Indexing Engine, Ranking Engine, Modification Engine). It will take traditionally ranked SERPs and set those rankings aside and then re-rank them for relevance, including intent.
So-called site authority cannot exist in a search environment of Search Engine Result Page (SERP) personalization and search intent. That changes the SERPs significantly.
And there's so much more. πŸ€“
NOW, with Natural Language Processing, the power of links is even less relevant today than at any other time in search history.
This is 2022. We have BERT, FLAN, MUM, Artificial Intelligence (AI) Spam Fighting, and so on. We are so far beyond Home Page Links and PageRank heavy sites having an advantage. Waaaay far beyond that simple paradigm.
I'm putting together an article on this topic, so sorry for being brief, there's more to this that I'm holding back. πŸ˜ΊπŸ–±
Richard πŸ‘‘ Β» Roger
I don't disagree with most of that. I've spent a great deal of time looking at Natural Language Processing (NLP) and learning as much as I can. But I don't think we're at a point just yet where authority (and I'm being careful here about semantics) no longer matters.
>> So-called site authority cannot exist in a search environment of SERP personalization and search intent.
I'm not so sure they are mutually exclusive. I'm also pretty sure that we have not yet entered the post-links stage of SEO. On this, perhaps we may need to agree to disagree.
Roger Β» Richard
The fact of the matter is that Googler's have stated many times that they do not use anything at Google that represents an authority metric. There is no such thing as "authority."
So if anyone is going to promote the idea of authority, they have to prove they are not speculating by citing patents or research papers.
Otherwise it's just some guy twiddling their thumbs and making things up, you know what I mean? Once you start down that road we're back to the Moz days where people believed Facebook likes were a ranking factor and that "brand mentions" were like links, ideas based on the most unreliable reason of all: because "it sounds reasonable."
Once we go down the road of documentation-free speculation, it's pure misinformation, i.e. B.S.
Even the original PageRank paper does not set up a situation where a metric called Authority accrues. PageRank was always meant to be a way to use the Internet to vote on what a site is Relevant for and not what site is the biggest gorilla and then rank that site because it's the biggest one.
Richard πŸ‘‘ Β» Roger
I think you're missing the tree for the wood here. "Authority" means different things to different people, and that's why I mentioned I needed to be careful using that term. I never mentioned "authority metric", but taking your POV to a logical conclusion – are you claiming that links no longer have any value?
>> PageRank was always meant to be a way to use the Internet to vote on what a site is Relevant for and not what site is the biggest gorilla and then rank that site because it's the biggest one.
PageRank has never been a score of relevance, and it applies at a document level.
Roger Β» Richard
"PageRank has never been a score of relevance, and it applies at a document level."
Yes! 😍
That blows the whole idea that a site with high PageRank (PR) to the home page can outrank everything because "Authority."
That is what I'm saying here. It's page level. And not just because of links, but links to that page will blow away another site with links just to it's home page.
1.Links do matter, but not like before. Links DO get set aside and other factors decide on what gets ranked.
Is your query local? Links get set aside and local factors come into play.
Does the query require freshness? Links get set aside and a fresh on-topic article is ranked.
Does the query have a commercial and non-science intent? Links to NASA get set aside and a telescope site gets ranked.
Of course links do not call the shots anymore. Links matter, but in a significantly different way.
2. It does not matter that "authority" means different things to different people, either.
The only people that matter in this discussion is the one who authored this post. πŸ˜‰
My answers are in the context of the Original Post.
You're right about PR being about quality of a page.
However, Google's use of links, as described in their original research paper, had at least two functions:
1. As an indicator of quality
"Intuitively, pages that are well cited from many places around the web are worth looking at. "
2. Anchor text as indicator of meaning/relevance:
"anchors often provide more accurate descriptions of web pages than the pages themselves"
Authority has never been a thing in Google's algorithm, from day one. The word "authority" doesn't even appear in that research paper. If "authority" was a thing with Google, that word would have been in there.
The words relevant and relevance appear "about" 12 times.
The Anatomy of a Search Engine
The Anatomy of a Search Engine
Richard πŸ‘‘ Β» Roger
OK, I think we're a lot closer in thinking than may have appeared to be the case.
I'm not sure though where this came from though:
"That blows the whole idea that a site with high PR to the home page can outrank everything because "Authority.""
I don't think anybody suggested this. I mentioned was that sites with very strong backlink profiles ("guerillas") still seem have an advantage over other sites when it comes to ranking. The effect has declined greatly in recent times, but it is still present to some degree. That's my gut feeling, anyhow.


Forget the concepts of site/domain authority. meta tags, social links and divs have little to do with ranking boosts. Make sure your page is a better Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (EAT) example than the competing one and is more relevant for the query, which means: do all the usual SEO work.

I just want to add that Nallawalla is a longtime SEO who has been in the business since the beginning, in case you don't know who he is. He's worked at many big name brands, huge brands. So if anyone is in the position to confirm a so-called advantage of big brands, he is the one to know about it.
Thanks, Roger. By way of proof, the OP should think of some big-name brand's page that surely has a high Page Authority (PA)/SA/Domain Authority (DA)/what-have-you. Search for something ubiquitous, such as "home insurance". Look at page 2 and 3 of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Keep turning and look for big brands that you think have a high PA/SA etc. Why are those big names not on the first page?
Then compare the brands who are on page 1. You might also see Wikipedia there – how about its PA/SA? Is the #1 result also highest in those numbers?
I used to be with an insurance giant that had about 8 brands that sold almost the same products, with four of them considered competitors. This company actually had about 16 brands and over 60 websites. The top 4 brands had the main focus of the same SEOUser Experience (UX), testing and writing teams, yet the rankings were not consistent. My SEO team was like an agency trying to explain to internal stakeholders why we could not get their page to #1, or even the first page. Ironically, one of those brands was the company name and it also had a banking arm – yet it was not the top ranking in any of the keywords. πŸ™‚
Juan ✍️ » Nallawalla
I would imagine that Google will combine my search for "home insurance" with my previous queries, site visits, location, etc to come up with a result that disregards DA
So I realize that the Medium post outranked me because I'm a frequent viewer of Medium and not because of Medium's DA
Nallawalla Β» Juan
As an SEO you must always do all your browsing in incognito mode, using more than one browser type.
Juan ✍️ » Ash
Nallawalla thanks. I added some relevant content near the footer and in the footer and ignored changing the head meta tags
I added a bunch of internal links (to my best pages) on the footer to make Google think it was a busy site
After a few weeks it ranked higher than the rival Medium post


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