When you look for something to read, what do you consider? If you’re looking for a book, you might check out the cover, or the blurb. If you’re browsing a website, you might look at the headlines or the pictures. How do you know, however, whether to believe what you’re reading?
You might trust the source your article or book comes from. The BBC or Oxford University Press are the sort of people who publish information you’re meant to trust. But beyond the top-level of trustworthy, how do we rank the believability of what we read? One of the main ways is through our impression of the author’s trustworthiness.
If you have heard of the writer, or you get the impression from their writing that they are a reliable source, you are more likely to believe the arguments they put forward.
This is not just true of individuals though. It is also a factor in how Google understands your website, and an increasingly important factor in how your pages and articles rank.
What is Authorship?
In the most basic terms, Authorship is considering who wrote the page that you are reading. Trying to maximise the trust that your writing can inspire is nothing new in marketing. In fact, E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trust) has been a mainstay in marketing for years.
Marketers have been wondering how to best get across the credentials and trustworthiness of an article’s author for years. While literally listing the qualifications of an author may work to convince individual readers, it is not currently a ranking factor according to Google.
As a result, authorship is a somewhat nebulous concept in SEO. While Google doesn’t directly tell us how authorship affects SEO rankings, we understand that it does have an impact beyond simply helping an individual reader to understand the relevance of a search result.
How much does Authority Matter in SEO?
When people make a search query, they are looking for answers. They need to know that you are able to give them the answers that they are looking for, and that those answers are correct and accurate. Authoritative sources are much more likely to provide a successful response to a search query than any other type of search. As a result, Google understands that those pages provide a better experience for its users, and is more likely to rank them higher than pages that provide a worse experience for users.
How do you Prove your Authority?
Authority is not just about saying the right things. After all, anyone can do research on a topic and pretend that they are the expert on it. Authority is showing that you are a genuine expert on a subject – and that you have the receipts to prove it!
One way to do this is to attribute your writing properly. Google takes into account a range of factors when it tries to determine authority. One of these seems to be how consistently the author’s name appears across the internet discussing the same topic.
Another means of proving authority is to use your accreditation and experience. This can mean multiple things – awards, qualifications, accomplishments and more. Being able to prove your experience and qualifications can improve your authority.
Who Cares About Style?
Finally, websites are ranked not just by search engines, but also by people. People don’t make their decisions based exclusively on data and evidence. They make them on emotions and opinions. Style is far more convincing to the average user than any number of qualifications and awards. Having both a recognisable and readable style is much more likely to lead readers to continue reading than Google can understand.
However, one thing Google does understand is numbers of page views. Pages that are more popular with readers will be rewarded by Google with improved site rankings. This means that it is clear to Google that a page that users are enjoying is a better page, and as such a better result to show searchers.
Google makes a big song and dance of wanting to focus on content that is designed for human beings. That means that content which is boring, repetitive, designed for or by machines and poorly written is not what Google wants. Authorship is essential to showing Google that you understand its guidelines, and are taking them seriously.
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