Trust, Authority and SEO - Why Authorship Matters
The Google SERPs have come a long way since its inception. Initially there was only text, then images were added and later on came the videos, real time results and shopping. In 2011 there was a complete new aspect added to it i.e., author information which had a link to Google+ profile of the author and his/her thumbnail photo. Does this change anything for SEO? If yes then what and how are the questions.
It would look like a small tweak in Google’s webmaster rules but if one looks into it more carefully it becomes clear that Google wants to remove the spammy and low quality content. Here is some insight provided by SEO in India for some of the changes made in the past year by Google.
7th June, 2011: Google announces that they would support authorship markup. This feature would allow sites to link the content on their site for a particular author and the work of that author would be linked across the internet.
28th June, 2011: Highlighting content creators was the new feature announced by Google. This was like an update to the previous update. In this update the linking content was specifically mentioned to the author’s Google+ profile.
Since 2011: The Panda update by Google emphasizes the importance of having high quality content in the site. The update aimed and changed the rankings of low-quality content containing sites and it was in a negative way. Along with good quality content it also emphasizes on quality authors.
24th April, 2012: Penguin update was released which targeted webspam. This included keyword stuffing, content spinning and link schemes. However this update affected the authorship as well because it considers who the site’s content is linked with. So if the link profile is stuffed with keywords then it won’t be good for your rankings in SERP.
Thus it is clear that Google has spread a wide net of factors it considers for evaluation of trust and relevancy to include the content in the site and the author of the content as well.
Authority of content: Where does it come from?
Google’s has its own way of calculating the authority of an author for a particular content. However there have been few clues which might throw some light as to how this happens:
Though Facebook is Google’s enemy in terms of business eating away it’s social media share but it provides valuable insights which indicate whether the person who claims to be the author of the content on some site is trustworthy or not. The likes the person’s page is getting on Facebook, the frequency of updates he makes on the social network, the number of comments he gets on his post and so on, all this gives a lot of information to Google. The same thing can be done using twitter and Google+.
The person who claims to be the author of the content has a personal website or blog? If yes then Google can find out how often do they update posts, number of comments they get and what are the topics they write about. If the person gains some kind of authority for a particular topic on his blog, then he might be given precedence in SERP over others who lack it.
Google also might try to find out if the author is mentioned or referenced on any other site as an authority. If yes then with which topic he is referenced to mostly? It gives authority to a person in a niche is referred to most even if he is found on numerous sites on the Internet.
Looking at the current trend it is quite clear that Google is giving a lot of importance to authorship, originality of content and quality. Thus the successful SEO campaign requires to include the factor of Author Rank in the strategies to stay ahead of the competitors.