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Is Author Authority a Google Ranking Factor?

Does authorship affect your organic search rankings?Find out if search engines consider who created the content in their ranking algorithm.

What could be scarier than reading an article from a journalism major just out of college with no medical background offering medical advice?

The truth is, not everything you read online is in your interest.A lot of online content is downright untrue.While the author may come from an innocuous place, it can become very harmful when certain copies are taken as truth.

This is where the authority of the author (or author rank) starts to influence your content.Here, we debunk the myths surrounding author authority.Read on to find out if author authority is a ranking factor.

Disclaimer: Author Authority as a Ranking Factor

When it comes to Google, it makes sense that they treat author authority as a ranking factor because of the EAT (Expertise, Authority and Trust) guidelines.

but search enginesReallyCare who created the content?Also, does who the author is will influence the ranking algorithm?Spoiler alert: There isn't enough evidence to support this claim.But interest in the topic is growing.

Author Authority as a Ranking Factor: Evidence

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

No, author authority is not a ranking factor.However, there are some Google patents that help them identify the author of a particular page.

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

short version?Google's patent uses "digital signatures" to rank content based on reputation scores.

On June 2011, 6, Google confirmed support for authorship flags.Remember rel="author:?

In 2014, Mark Traphagen conducted a study on authorship adoption to show that authorship adoption is slow.He found that 70% of authors did not link their authorship to the content.

Later in 2014, the authorship mark was officially removed.

In 2016, Google's Gary Illyes told the SMX conference that Google "no longer uses authorship," but they know who the author is.

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

Other relevant evidence we found came from August 2018, 8, when Google's John Mueller confirmed that Google did not use author reputation as a ranking factor.

So, what about EAT?Reputation is different from "expertise" and "authority".

Reputation is how others perceive the author.

Expertise and authority are characteristics Google uses to evaluate authors.

But recent patents show how authorship has evolved.For example, in March 2020, Google filed for 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 authors can have different writing styles and different levels of expertise and interest in different topics.

Google is telling us through this new patent on author vectors that they may be able to identify the author of unlabeled content.

The truth is, we know that Google is getting better at determining who the author of content might be, with updates to their quality scoring guidelines.

But we don't know why or how they use this to support their ranking factor.

One thing we can be sure of is that Google recommends adding the author's URL to the article schema.

Author Authority as a Ranking Signal: Our Verdict

Author authority has had its ups and downs over the years.With Google's EAT-related quality scoring guidelines, it creates some grey areas in SEO.While author authority may not directly affect your organic search rankings, it's still wise to follow Google's Quality Score guidelines to improve your content performance.

Extended reading:

Anchor Text as a Google Ranking Factor: Everything You Need to Know

Is AMP a Google ranking factor?

Top 8 Google Ranking Factors - What Really Matters for SEO

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