In a recent Google Webmaster Central hangout, John Mueller touched upon the topic of creating author pages and pondered whether spending your time to create one is worth your buck or not.
Mueller has said that author pages are not a ranking factor, but can be used efficiently in some aspects of building trust with the audiences.
Author pages for News and YMYL Sites
There has been a widespread belief that using author pages and “expert authors” can be significant for rankings, but there is never any confirmation from google for such things.
Some of them even tried to implement the same, but that of no use as using author pages was never a ranking factor.
Mueller’s answer is clear and puts an end to such practice if it exists today & reiterates that it is something one must not do.
Question asked to John Mueller
“Question about E-A-T and YMYL.
We’re working with news websites. What tips can you give us about indication of content authors?
Is it really necessary to make pages for each author, provide big info with photo, bio links to social networks?
…Does this really matter that there are lots of work to do elsewhere.”
John Mueller Answers
“So, E-A-T is Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness. And YMYL is You Money or Your Life content.
These are terms from the Google Raters Guidelines that we put out.”
Google Quality Raters Guidelines are reference documents for third party raters to use them while rating search result quality. The document is intended to provide a standard format to the evaluators, so the rater’s ratings are much more filtered. Somewhat most being their subjective opinions.
Google documents the QRG so that it can be used by a publisher as well. The publisher can use the QRG as a benchmark to check the quality of the content on the website.
John Muller’s reservation on author pages necessity
“I think like with all kinds of content it’s not the case that you can say this really matters, and you absolutely must do it.”
“I do think with a lot of news websites, especially if you’re providing information that you want people to trust, then this certainly makes sense.”
John has downplayed the necessity of author pages but suggested the same can be used if the publisher wants to build trust with the readers.
Author pages are a way for people to know more about the author. Constant quality content from an author shows his expertise and authority on subjects. Quality content can help build trust among the readers as they may pursue the content as genuine and authentic in terms of facts.
Muller on author pages as SEO factor and content improvement
“So it’s not something that where I’d say it’s the same as removing a no-index meta tag on a page because that’s like really and on-and-off switch”.
“But if you’re improving the content of your site, that works well for users, that works well for Google.
So it seems like something that could be done. How to prioritize that versus other things on the website that’s really hard to do. That’s where you almost need to kind of use your experience and figure out what works well on your side”.
Mueller has refused the idea of author pages being an SEO ranking factor; he further emphasized the importance of quality content. He recommends focusing on improving the content quality and then adding author bios for building trust.
It is clear that author pages are not a ranking factor, but merely a way to build trust with the user if an expert author writes the content piece.
The fact that the author page contributes to rankings may be mistaken due to the mention of author pages in Quality Raters Guidelines. QRG mentions that to help raters follow a standard format for determining the quality and not as a ranking factor.
Author bios can be valuable in the context of building trust with users. If the expert writes an article, then why not include a statement about their expertise, it may help build trust with the user as said by John Mueller.
It is high time Publishers, and SEO experts should not focus on author bios in terms of ranking factor but in more realistic terms of what it means to the user.
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