While you search for topics online and go through them, you will peruse and synthesize heaps of information sources. But the biggest issue lies in whether or not you know a source of information is good, whether or not the author is aware of what he is writing about, and if they have the right credentials or the right type of authority. One way to redeem people from this stumbling block is Author Authority.
What is Author Authority?
Author authority is a measurement of the amount of expertise and credibility a particular author has on a given topic they wrote the information about. In other words, Author Authority refers to a person’s jurisdiction over a specific case or subject and the right they possess to claim their expertise being the author of the given matter. The degree to which an entity or a person can claim authority depends on a few things. The way to measure an author’s authority as a reader is to ask two overarching questions: who wrote it and what decides their expertise.
For instance, if someone is feeling sick and they wish to go online to read an article to get medical advice. After the synthesis of the information, they scroll down the article and see that the author’s bio describes them as working as a teacher or a professor instead of a health professional. In such a scenario, the reader would feel the content is less trustworthy because the presenter of the information doesn’t lie in the area of expertise of that specific topic. Author Authority is important in esteemed fields such as healthcare, finance, law, or any other technical niche; everyone wants to hear the opinion of experts.
Who or What is an Author?
An author can be an organization, a person, or an institution that presents or creates a literary work (i.e., a novel, website blog, scholarly journal, autobiography, etc.). In a more general spectrum, though, an author can also be someone who begins or creates something. For example, one might call Elon Musk the author of civilian or commercial space exploration.
How Does Google Measure Author Authority?
So, how does Google figure whether or not a piece of content is an authoritative source? Here are some factors that you should include in your content to make sure Google notices your content creators as authoritative.
Author Bylines and Bios on Every Piece of Content
A byline is a short phrase that tells the name of an author of an article in a publication. You can see bylines under the heading of an article or the article itself in newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other popular publications; the byline tells the readers who wrote the literary piece. A byline adds legitimacy to an article or blog, primarily if the piece has been written by an experienced writer with a good reputation. This brings an additional level of credibility for the reader.
Bylines in Online Articles
When the byline is associated with an article on a website, it is combined with a hyperlink to the writer’s website, profile webpage that gives more detailed information about them, email address, or social media handle. This isn’t necessarily a standard practice; if a writer is a freelancer or not on staff with the publication, there might be no obligation to link to their outside work. A clear author byline and bio should accompany every in-depth or informative article on your website. Even though your primary product or service webpages don’t require displayed authorship, your long-form SEO content that illustrates a topic or subfield related to your business should have an author bio. This makes the content on your website more effective. In addition, you want to lead your target audience to the bottom of an article and assure them that an author has given the particular piece with expertise in the subject matter.
Author About Page or Bio Page
Every content creator’s blog post or article on your website should be connected to a bio page that conveys that they are competent or trusted experts. The author’s ‘about’ page can include their job title, areas of expertise, education, content fortes, and even mentions to other trustworthy websites where the author has his content posted. If your content writers have multiple blog posts or articles for your website, link all their work to their author page.
Links to Social Media Profiles
You should also include the content writer or creator’s social media profiles on their bio or pages using links to create more credibility. This pushes and makes it easy for website visitors and search quality raters to research further. In addition, it lets people explore cross-references for your author and evaluate whether the author is a true expert or not. Added social media links can also help your authors get verified on social media platforms like Twitter. Moreover, they can even help them upgrade their status by earning Google Author panels and, simultaneously, your website’s reputation as a source of information featured by expert authorship.
Author Schema on the Author Page
Schema markup makes it easy for Google to crawl or read specific information about authors and list it in its search results. The author bios that list in search engine results are often pulled directly from bio pages on publications where those authors appear. You can even use schema creators to create author schema and add it to your bio pages.
But can Author Authority Influence Google Rankings?
Technically, author authority is not a ranking factor. Nonetheless, Google patents help them identify authors for specific pages. In other words, Google’s patent uses “digital signatures” to rank content on web pages based on reputation scores.
Remember rel=” ” author:? In 2011, Google confirmed it was supporting authorship markup. In 2014, Mark Traphagen wrote a study on authorship adoption to explain that authorship adoption was relatively slow. He also stated that 70% of authors still need to combine their authorship with their posted content. So, in 2014, authorship markup was officially discarded.
Later in 2016, Google’s Gary Illyes declared at an SMX conference that Google has stopped using authorship altogether – but they are aware of who the author is. How does Google know that? It was learned that Google notices several factors like links to profile web pages, structured data, and other visible information on a page as part of a reconciliation process. Other relevant evidence worth your notice is from 21 August 2018, when Google’s John Mueller established again that Google doesn’t use author reputation as a ranking factor.
But what about E-A-T? Reputation isn’t exactly like “expertise” or “authoritativeness.” The former is how other readers view the author, and the latter are the attributes that Google utilizes to evaluate the author. Moreover, recent patents have shown that authorship is evolving. For example, in March 2020, Google filed a patent known as Author Vectors to recognize authors via internet-based writing style.
Slawki’s evaluation of the patent explains how the process works:
“Different authors can have different writing styles and different levels of expertise and interest in different topics. So Google is telling us with this new patent on author vectors that they may be able to identify the authors of unlabeled content.”
The importance of an author’s reputation has been rising in recent years. As a result, Google updated its Search Quality Rater Guidelines; the company emphasized the importance of the author of the main content. Understanding a website’s reputation is essential to the Page Quality rating. For example, suppose the writer of the main content is different from the creator’s website; it’s also imperative to understand the writer’s reputation. Although the author authority is not used in Google’s ranking algorithm, it is a way that Google understands and evaluates quality content and how to rank search results.
Google’s quality raters and searchers pay attention to who writes your content; therefore, websites that want to get listed higher in search engines should also pay attention to it.
Summing It Up
So what exactly can we believe about Author identity, Google Search, and reputation? Here’s our insight-
- While we can’t conclusively state that author authority affects search results today, we can only partially claim that it is something Google isn’t interested in. It is undoubtedly something Google is actively working on and may even be testing in limited methods.
- Google Authorship was open to all authors or publishers who bothered to use the code. Google most likely discovered, while their observations were, that only some authors matter. It might sound jarring, but it’s indeed true. It’sIt’s likely that the general public is only inclined to a certain extent by who wrote a piece of content when they recognize the author and can understand the author’s expertise.
- Only some content, too. We shouldn’t expect that Google would pay heed to who authored every big or small piece of content on the web. One speculation indicator is that YMYL (Your Money Your Life) content merits more scrutiny than other types. Since this type of content could affect either people’s finances or their well-being, it significantly matters if it is written by a legitimate financial advisor, scientist, or doctor.
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