Author Authority Is A Ranking Factor Or Not?
Do you believe that author authority is a ranking factor? Does this concept help you to get better rank in search engine results? Let’s discuss it with some evidences.
Why and when this author authority concept comes? Imagine you are having a some small medical problem. For example, when you eat, jaw audibly is clicking behind your molars. Now you want to find a solution for this annoying problem. When we are having any problem, what is the first thing we are going to find a solution? The internet. You are searching it and there are number of websites in search results list. There are many pages, posts written by different people. What would you choose among them.
There is a post about your issue that was written by a person who are running a Minecraft blog. And also there is post written by a doctor who has 10 years of experience in the field and he is a specialist about ear, nose, and throat. Both have written posts about the same issue. What would you choose. Your choice is obvious. No one choose the post from Minecraft blog than selecting doctor’s post. I don’t say Minecraft blog post is wrong. The information in that post might be right. I just want to say, people tend to believe information comes from a person who has years of experience in that field.
Many pages genuinely try to give best information for visitors. And also there are many pages who spread false information. Those false information is harmful and can make damages. That’s why the concept of author authority comes. This factor is considered in the process of search engine optimization. The question is author authority is a ranking factor or not? Let’s dive into this more.
The Claim of Author Authority is a Ranking Factor
Google use EAT method to find the quality of the webpage along with whether it gives answers to the user’s search query. What is EAT?
- E : Expertise
- A : Authoritativeness
- T : Trustworthiness
Does Google use the EAT of the author? Does a post written by a genuine expert and a post written by a recent journalism graduate, make different? Author authority concept has been around many years. The role it plays in the site ranking and the fact of author authority is a ranking factor, has been debated over years between digital marketers and SEO experts.
The Evidence of Author Authority is a Ranking Factor
Google hasn’t said that author authority is a ranking factor. But it doesn’t make sense to ignore it. Because there are many evidences which said search engines are interesting to identify authors.
In 2005, Google got a patent for Agent Rank. They want to weed out low quality contents in the internet. It rank articles by its reputation using digital signatures. In 2011, Google start to support authorship markup using rel=” author” tag. But authors didn’t use it that much. In 2014, Google removed it. Because a research found that only 30% of authors used that tag.
In 2016, Google Analyst Gary Illyes said that Google is not using authorship in SMX conference. He further said that they have system to recognize who created the content. Which means authors are playing a role in the Google’s Knowledge Graph.. Knowledge Graph is a big database of entities and facts. What are those entities and facts? For example, concepts or things that are unique, well defined, singular and distinguishable. The search engine doesn’t know each and every content creator. But they are entities that recognized by Google.
In 2020, Google got a patent for Author Vectors. It helps to identify the creator of a unlabeled content. The factors that Google use to identify them are evaluating writing styles, interest in different topics and levels of expertise. But Google hasn’t said how and why they using this program. It may be use to determine search rankings in the future. Google has also said to adding author URLs in the article. But they didn’t specifically said to where those URLs should direct. It’s common these URLs direct to author’s bio pages or social media profiles.
Author reputation is important. But don’t conflate it with “authoritativeness” and “expertise”. Google uses both to evaluate reliability of a given subject. Reputation is a more subjective evaluation and it is based on the way of readers view the author. It is determined according to the Search Quality Raters Guidelines. The Search Quality Raters Guidelines is a set of guiding principles. It is used to train raters who evaluate the quality of the search engine. Sometimes they test changes to search algorithms also. According to one of these guidelines, it says that a low content creator score can give a low-quality score. But Google has said those human generated ratings are not used to give query results.
We cannot exactly say author authority is a ranking factor. Because its role in search rankings is not clear. It might not directly impact on your organic ranking. But its good to use Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines. Visitors always care about reputation of the author and his relevance with the post. Therefore when writing articles, keep remember this factor.