Author authority sounds redundant. It’s not. Authors can garner authority in various ways. On Google, this simply means tagging yourself as an author using the rel=”author” tag. At least that’s what it used to be in the early days. You would get a picture next to your link and a byline. Around 2013, this began to disappear. Google eventually quit using authorship altogether.
Recently, however, there have been hints that Google might bring back authorship. This time it might not be so easy to spot. Here’s what you need to know about Google’s new treatment of authorship in their SERPs.
Search Quality Rater Guidelines and Authorship
While Google is often silent on upgrades to their algorithm, they are generous in giving webmasters lists and guides. The Search Quality Rater Guidelines is a 164-page search document every SEO expert should check out.
Google updates the document every so often and they’ve recently added a new section. Guess what the section entails? The reputation of the creator of the content.
It tells quality raters how to spot websites that toot their own horn with no credibility. “When the website says one thing about itself, but reputable external sources disagree with what the websites says, trust the external sources.”
It’s not unlike how we rate and canonize historical literature. We don’t merely trust what a book says about itself, but we compare it to outside sources. Sometimes those sources counter claims within the book.
What Does This Mean for Us?
Google has been employing machine learning and A.I. in their algos. And using human raters dampens any attempt at scaling.
Some in the SEO community believe Google is heading into a new era. Soon we won’t have updates as the search engine will be able to adapt as it goes. The inclusion of authorship in the rater guidelines is an indication that perhaps Google will be teaching its AI to monitor and verify authorship.
Even then, Google may attempt once more to incorporate Authorship into their normal algorithm.
This is good news for authors, but not so good news for newer businesses with little reputation outside their own website.
Here’s what Google might look for if they do include Authorship as a metric:
Clearly identified content creator (no more Admin bylines)
A well-written bio on the author
Creators who have links online to other content with authority
What Are Some Practical Things to do to Prepare
Content creators are going to have a much harder time getting their content a website. They will need to have expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. And as a webmaster, you should already be vetting your content contributors carefully.
One great thing for writers is the fact websites will need to start giving more bylines if they want to gain authority. They will have to link out to social media accounts and other authorial sources.
But, if you’re a content creator and you haven’t diversified your portfolio, you might again have a hard time doing so after any algorithm change involving authorship.
Continue to expand your portfolio if you’re a content creator. If you’re a webmaster, start vetting your authors ASAP.
Search engine optimization is a competitive, ever-changing landscape that requires marketers to adapt fast. Google changes its own algorithm up to 600 times every single year. And according to Google itself, it has confirmed this in tweets, “each day, Google usually releases one or more changes…” Keeping up with changes is extremely hard. But it’s also necessary if you want your organic traffic to be consistent and continue to improve. You can’t be doing what worked five years ago today and expect the results to last forever. With changes coming daily and significant updates in the works, SEO is, has and will keep changing as consumer behavior changes.
Google’s search engine is designed for the people, not for the marketers.
We can’t keyword stuff anymore and expect to rank number one.
Now meaningful experiences for users play a key role in success. Creating content that solves user problems faster and more efficiently.
As of late, Google has pumped out a few major changes to the way we conduct SEO practices in 2018 and beyond.
Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. However, our ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user. This can cause issues when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because our algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.
Let me summarize this for you in plain English:
Most people are using Google on a mobile device.
Conducting mobile searches is more common than ever. Yet Google was still ranking search results by desktop page content and experience.
The disconnect here is that most are on mobile yet website owners are designing for an audience viewing desktop.
This results in bad experiences for users on unoptimized mobile pages.
And Google is all about providing the best search engine to its user base. Which is the majority of the world:
If Google didn’t make the change to rank mobile pages, there would likely be a drop in mobile users not searching with Google due to slow sites and unoptimized mobile pages.
So, they started testing the mobile-first index in 2016, where Google planned to shift its indexing to mobile pages before desktop, providing better browsing for the majority of users.
As you can imagine, this was a pretty significant shift. And, it left the industry with a lot of unanswered questions.
If your website is not optimized for mobile, you could see a drop in traffic and rankings.
Over a few days that the update was pushed live, Glenn Gabe from GSQIS started to notice fluctuations in rankings, rich snippets, and more:
This prompted tweets from Google’s Search Liaison account, confirming the updates:
So, what exactly happened here?
Websites with little content relevance were primarily affected, sending rankings for companies to either jump high or fall heavily.
Many SEO marketers suspected this update was targeted at low-quality websites.
As Glenn speculates on the “brackets” update:
“This was one of the biggest updates I’ve seen in a while. It seems Google once again improved how it assesses quality, and with Google always looking to surface the highest quality content for users, that’s a really big deal.”
However, John Mueller cleared things up during a Google Webmaster Hangout on April 6th.
He went on to explain that if your site was affected by the March 7 update, it is not an indication of a low-quality site, but more about content relevance.
Meaning your website is attempting to rank for specific queries that might not be relevant to the user clicking through to read them.
Your content has to connect the dots to search queries. Bounce rates must be reduced. Anything and everything you write and publish should be relevant to the reader.
It’s no secret that it can take a long time to rank on the first page of Google. And with each passing year, it seems like there are more elements than ever for webmasters to consider in the neverending climb to the front page. But with all the changing and updating, there are some elements of SEO that you can rely on to always help you improve your rank on a results page. One such element is the permalink. There’s a good chance that even if you don’t know what a permalink is, you’ve been taught a few of the best practices already. This part of your site and how it contributes to your SEO cannot be understated, and it’s worth your time to dig a little deeper into how you can use them effectively.
So in this post, I want to provide a guide that helps you establish permalinks that will act as a cornerstone of your content for years to come.
And to kick things off, I want to show you what a permalink is and why you should start optimizing them immediately.
How permalinks affect SEO
Permalinks are the full URL that users and search engines see when navigating through your site.
As the name suggests, permalinks are permanent even if you update the content on the page.
You can think of it like you would your physical address.
You have a number, street name, city, state, and zip code in that case.
Unless you move down the street, your address will stay the same forever.
The same sort of principle applies to a permalink, but in this case, you’re talking about your website.
It has a distinct set of parts that tells a web browser which page to navigate to and display on your screen.
Despite content marketing’s golden child status, SEO remains one of the most important factors in ranking websites on Google. According to a Hubshout survey of small to midsize digital marketing agencies, 32% of agencies reported that SEO as a service generates the most revenue for them. But as technology advances and search engines continue to evolve and adapt their algorithms, it can be difficult even for veteran SEOs to keep up. This means you could be overlooking significant SEO value on your site. In other words, if you’re missing key SEO strategies, you could cost your business some serious revenue.
Not interested in flushing money down the toilet?
I didn’t think so.
Implement these four SEO hacks to skyrocket your rankings and put money in the bank.
1. Increase page speed by compressing images
Images are one of the biggest culprits to slow loading times.
“It doesn’t really matter how often you show up. It matters how often you get clicked on and then how often you … convert those to whatever you really want (sales, purchases, subscriptions)… Do spend some time looking at your title, your URL, and your snippet that Google generates, and see if you can find ways to improve that and make it better for users because then they’re more likely to click. You’ll get more visitors, you’ll get a better return on your investment.”
“If you publish high-quality content that is highly cited on the Internet — and I’m not talking about just links, but also mentions on social networks and people talking about your branding, crap like that. Then you are doing great.”
The idea is that brands that garner a lot of mentions, both in social media and on websites and long-form content, are trusted and therefore authoritative in search engines’ eyes.
While this ranking strategy has flown under the radar a bit, both Google and Bing have indicated that linkless brand mentions factor into how the search engines measure authority and quality.
In fact, Duane Forrester, former senior product manager at Bing noted back in 2016 that Bing had already:
“figured out context and sentiment of tone, and how to associate mentions without a link. As the volume grows and trustworthiness of this mention is known, you’ll get a bump in rankings…”
But Bing isn’t the only one showing us their hand.