November 13th, 2019
The answer is: very. Author reputation matters more now than ever when it comes to search, and SEO as a whole. Google is well-known for experimenting with new search features, and just as well known for killing them off with no warning. From in-depth articles to personalized vs. global search toggle, Google Authorship is subject to many diverse changes, often at a moment’s notice.
Last year, Google reconsidered what it considers to be low-quality content, included in its latest update to Google's search quality rater guidelines. For the first time, "reputation of the creator of the content” is mentioned. Also referred to as SQRG, these principles act as guidelines in training human raters who evaluate the effectiveness of its search algorithms.
Google uses this research to determine how close its search results are to what actual humans think of as “quality content,” says Search Engine Journal. While it is not really a search ranking factor, it does provide a strong picture of what Google wants in the pages that to appear at the top of search results.
Explaining Google Authorship
Google Authorship was formerly a feature appearing in Google search results between 2011 and 2014. It allowed, indeed encouraged, web authors to identify who they were with a rel=”author” attribute on the links showing up between their byline on a content page as well as an author profile page. Not long after the authorship mark-up announcement, Google’s social network Google+ was rolled out, which revealed that linking rel=”author” to an author’s Google+ profile would be the best and most respected way to authenticate authorship. Authorship was phased out from search results by summer 2014, seemingly gone forever. Not so fast -- it's back!
There are several factors the guidelines are now requesting that quality raters keep an eye out for in terms of building out a search algorithm, such as:
- Content creators who are well recognized in the industry and who can be linked to sources backing up their authority.
- Unmistakable identification of the content creator on the content page.
- Short biography about the author, either right on the page or via a link.
Fostering Relationships with Authors
Up until now, everything was focused on searching for websites that publish content provided by other people. This is what has been contributing to so many content farms, black hat link building, and churn and burns. Now it has to be approached a different way, and that starts with authors. Not only do influential bloggers and authors write amazing content, they also have access to platforms where they can distribute that content effectively, says Moz. Plus, authors usually enjoy many advantageous relationships with respected industry publications, resulting in a big competitive advantage.
That’s why it makes sense to build relationships with authors over webmasters, particularly when it comes to incorporating high-quality link building.
Responsibilities of Authors
Content creators must follow these guidelines in order to rank for authorship. As an author, you must:
- Request that your bio on publications link to your social media accounts and personal website, Wikipedia page or bio page on your own website.
- Establish expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT).
- Take every chance you can to be interviewed and quoted online.
- Publish content that aligns with your area of expertise in relevant publications.
- Be active and responsive on all social media platforms.
With so much “fake news” out there, it's more critical than ever to be authentic and trustworthy. Your reputation and that of those who write content for you will increasingly become the main way you can establish your online legacy.
Responsibilities of Publishers
Likewise, those who publish content have to place a large emphasis on author reputation.
- Link each byline to a detailed author bio page in order to offer prominence to your authors’ bylines within your content page.
- Link to social media profiles and any other reputable sites.
- Only accept content from creators with proven reputations and demonstrated expertise in their industry.
- Ensure all important content pages contain author information.
- Work with creators who have already shown up on high-quality sites.
- Choose authors with a positive, clear online presence.
To learn how we can ensure stellar content that boosts your author authority, contact us at 617-858-5802.