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Is it a Google Ranking factor?

Is it a Google Ranking factor?

Is there anything more frightening to read an article that provides medical help from a journalist who is fresh out of college with no medical background?

The truth is that not everything you read online is to your advantage. A lot of online content is simply untrue. Although writers can come from a harmless place, it can get pretty damaging when a particular copy is taken as the truth.

This is where author authority (or author ranking) begins to affect your content.

Here we debunk the myths surrounding authoritarianism.

Read on to find out if author authority is a ranking factor.

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The requirement: Author authority as a ranking factor

When it comes to Google, it would make sense for them to value author authority as a ranking factor because of EAT (Guidelines for Expertise, Authority and Credibility).

But do search engines really care who created the content? And who does the author influence ranking algorithms?

Spoiler alert: There is not enough evidence to support this claim. But interest in this topic is growing.

Author authority as a ranking factor: The proof

Let’s start with the first question, is author authority a ranking factor?

No, author authority is not a ranking factor. However, there are Google patents to help them identify authors for specific pages.

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In August 2005, Google filed a patent for Agent Rank. If you want to learn more about it, Bill Slawski breaks down Agent Rank here.

The short version? Google’s patent uses “digital signatures” to rank content based on reputation scores.

On June 20, 2011, Google confirmed that it supports copyright markup. Remember rel = ”author:?

In 2014, Mark Traphagen ran a study on authorship adoption to show that author processing was slow. He found that 70% of authors did not associate their authorship with content.

Later in 2014, the authorship mark was officially removed.

In 2016, Google’s Gary Illyes said at an SMX conference that Google “does not use authorship at all anymore” – but they know who the author is.

How does Google know this? Well, we learned in this 2021 video that Google looks at a number of factors (e.g. links to profile pages, structured data, other visible information on a page) as part of a process called reconciliation.

Other relevant evidence we found is from August 21, 2018, when Google’s John Mueller confirmed that Google does not use the author’s reputation as a ranking factor.

What about EAT. Reputation is different from “expertise” and “authority”.

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Reputation is how others view the author.

Expertise and authority are qualities that Google uses to evaluate the author.

But recent patents show how authorship is evolving. For example, in March 2020, Google filed a patent called Author Vectors to identify authors through Internet-based writing styles.

In Slawki’s assessment of the patent, he describes how the process works:

“Different writers may have different writing styles and different levels of expertise and interest in different topics.

Google tells us with this new patent on author vectors that they may be able to identify the authors of unlabeled content. ”

In fact, we know that Google is getting better at determining who the content authors can be with the updates to their Quality Rater Guidelines.

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But we do not know why or how they use this to support their ranking factors.

One thing we know for sure is that Google recommends adding an author’s URL to Article Schedule.

Author authority as a ranking signal: Our judgment

Author authority has had its ups and downs over the years. And with Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines related to EAT, it causes a bit of a gray area in SEO.

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While authoring authority may not directly affect your organic search rankings, it’s still smart to follow Google’s Quality Assurance Guidelines to improve your content performance.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita / Search Engine Journal

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