Are exchanged or reciprocal links okay with Google?
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Google recommends adding author URL to Article Schedule

Google recommends adding author URL to Article Schedule

Google recommends adding an author’s URL to Article Schedule to help clarify the correct author when multiple authors have the same or similar names.

This is confirmed in an official Google changelog that reads:

“6. August: Added a new recommended author.url property to article-documented data documentation. The URL property helps Google distinguish between the correct author of the article. ”

To be clear, the author’s URL property is not new. What’s new is the recommendation to use it to help Google distinguish between the correct author of an article.

The author’s URL property is embedded in the article schema, so if you’re already using this check mark on your site, just one more field to add.

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Google notes that the sameAs property can be used as an alternative to the author’s URL, as Google can understand both sameAs and URL when separating authors.

Prior to this update, there was no such solution to help Google clarify authors. Google’s John Mueller once talked about a process called reconciliation, in which the search engine searches for URLs on author cinema pages to differentiate authors with similar names.

This new method of using author URL schema markup sounds like it could be more effective.

Related: Your Guide to Google EAT & SEO

Which URL should I use in Author Markup?

Google does not specify what kind of URL markup to point to, e.g. A link to social media or a link to the author’s website.

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However, it may be best for Google if the checkmark points to an author biopage on the same domain where the article was published.

Why?

Because Google’s Quality Scores are instructed to search for author information when they manually evaluate sites.

An “unsatisfactory” or “insufficient” amount of information about who wrote an article is the basis for judging content as either “low” or “lowest” quality.

Here’s what’s in section 6.6 of Google’s Quality Assurance Guidelines (MC = main content):

“We expect some form of site information for many or most sites. We expect clear information about who (eg which person, company, company, fund, etc.) has created the MC, unless there is good reason for anonymity. A long-standing internet alias or username can also serve the same function as identifying the MC creator. ”

The guidelines do not explicitly state “you need an author bioside”, although it would be a highly effective way to communicate to Google’s Quality Assessments who an author is.

The more information you can provide about an author, the more evidence you give to Google that your content is high quality.

In addition, an author bioside further helps to clarify authors.

Back to the reconciliation technique I referred to earlier, Mueller explains how links to social media on bio sites can help Google tell the difference between authors of the same name:

“So my recommendation here would be at least to link to a common, or a bit like a central place where you say that everything comes together for this writer. Which e.g. Can be something like a profile on a social network and use it across the various author pages you have when writing, so when our systems look at an article and they see an author page linked to it, they can recognize this is the same author as the person who wrote something else. And we can kind of group this by device, and we do it based on maybe this common social network profile that’s there. ”

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With that said, the best solution sounds like pointing to the author’s URL tag on a bio page that links to their social media profile. This sends several signals to Google that can help determine the correct author.

For authors, a link to the same social media profile on each site you publish can help Google see the difference between you and another author of the same name.

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