Did you know that the reputation of your blog posts’ authors (i.e., author authority) affects not just how your audience perceives your brand but also how much traffic your website gets from Google?
Think about what the word “authority” means. Here’s what the Oxford English Dictionary says:
A person with extensive or specialized knowledge about a subject; an expert. A book or other source able to supply reliable information or evidence.
Based on that definition, is your blog authoritative? Do your bloggers have extensive or specialized knowledge about the subject matter of your blog posts? Are they experts? Is your blog considered to be a source for reliable information?
You need to be able to answer each of these questions with a resounding, “Yes,” or your blog is not authoritative.
Why should a consumer visit your blog for information or buy from your business if it’s not authoritative and reliable?
The reality is they won’t buy from you. They’ll buy from the brand and business they feel the most comfortable and confident with. Your blog can either help or hurt you in that regard.
Why Author Authority Matters in Blogging
Author authority can directly affect consumers’ perceptions of your brand and business. It can also positively or negatively affect traffic to your business website. Here are three primary ways author authority matters to your business blog:
1. Author Authority Establishes Brand Trust
Where would you rather get medical information:
- A blog post on a business website that doesn’t include the author’s name or biography; or
- A blog post on a business website written by a doctor that provides a comprehensive bio explaining his or her credentials, expertise, and years of experience on the post’s topic as well as links to his or her LinkedIn Profile and other social media and online profiles where you can learn more him or her?
Most people would choose the latter, and that’s why author authority matters in blogging.
To that end, the writers who create your blog posts and other content should be experts in their fields. They should understand your business, and they should understand your audience’s needs.
That’s how you can be confident that the content created for your blog is relevant, meaningful, and valuable to your target audience.
2. Author Authority Helps You and Your Brand Get Noticed as Influencers
When you write a blog post for your business blog and you need to link to an external source so your audience can get more information that is outside the scope of your blog and business, would you rather link to an unknown, low quality source, or to a well-known source with a trusted reputation?
If you chose the latter, then you already understand the value of author authority.
When you have a reputation for being authoritative, other influential sites written by authoritative creators will want to link to your content. Your reputation will grow and you’ll become known as a respected source with significant online influence.
As a result, your website will get more incoming links and more traffic.
Not only will you have more opportunities to convert visitors into buying customers but you’ll also get more search traffic because Google will recognize you, your authors, and your content as authoritative, high quality, and trustworthy.
3. Author Authority Increases Search Traffic to Your Business Website
Here’s a little tidbit about me that you won’t find on my resume or LinkedIn Profile. I was a Google Quality Rater before I started my own company. Working as a Google Quality Rater gave me a huge amount of knowledge about what Google thinks makes content authoritative and high quality versus what it considers to be low quality content.
Now, it’s important to point out that when I was a Google Quality Rater, you had to sign a contract saying you wouldn’t disclose any of the factors Google uses in its quality rating process. Fast forward many years and you can find all of the current guidelines online and people writing about them freely.
Therefore, I’m going to share some insights based on the information freely available online about how Google considers author authority in its quality ratings and subsequent search rankings.
Keep in mind, Google’s search algorithm is based on hundreds of criteria, and author authority is just a small part of how search results are ranked. However, it’s important enough to prioritize in your content marketing strategy.
In fact, author authority is so important to Google that it even created a process for people to connect their online content with their Google+ Profiles so Google could better track author’s authority and influence to better rank search results.
Authorship and Google+ have since been abandoned by Google, but you can bet author authority is still included in search results ranking factors.
How do we know that?
Because it’s one of the things Google Quality Raters today are expected to evaluate when they rank the relevancy of search results based on specific search queries.
Today, Google Quality Raters are instructed to look for the author of any page they rate, research that author to evaluate their expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, and give the author a creator score. If the creator score is low enough, the entire page gets a low quality score.
Guess what that means?
It means content written by low quality creators are unlikely to rank well in relevant search results pages.
Google has yet to admit that this rating process will negatively affect search results, but common sense tells us it has a purpose. And what other purpose would that be than to adjust search rankings?
Specifically, here are the things Google Quality Raters are instructed to look for to identify what it refers to as a low quality page or a lowest quality page:
- An inadequate level of expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness.
- There is an unsatisfying amount of website information or information about the creator of the main content for the purpose of the page, and there is no good reason for anonymity.
- A mildly negative reputation for a website or creator of the main content based on extensive reputation research. If a page has multiple low quality attributes, a rating lower than Low may be appropriate.
Clearly, author authority matters to Google, and it should matter to you.
What You Should Do to Improve Your Blog’s Author Authority
Now that you understand how important author authority is to your blog and website, here are three ways you can improve your blog’s author authority.
1. Hire Authoritative Bloggers
Most importantly, if you don’t have writers on your team who are already known as authoritative online content creators with an expertise in your industry, you should hire authoritative bloggers immediately.
Not only do experienced, authoritative bloggers give your blog an instant boost in credibility and reputation, but they also know how to write blog content that people want to read using the most effective style and structure.
It’s worth every penny to work with someone who knows what they’re doing and is already known by and respected by Google.
2. Build Your Own Authority or Your Team Members’ Authority
If you don’t already have writers on your team with authority, start working to build their authority as soon as possible.
Have them start publishing amazing blog posts on your business blog, get active in relevant social media sites and groups, participate in relevant online forums, and guest post on related and authoritative sites and blogs.
It’s critical that each writer uses the same name across the web, so it’s easy for Google Quality Raters and everyone else to identify them.
It will take some time to build online influence and a reputation as an authority, but it’s worth the time investment when it leads to more traffic to your blog.
3. Showcase Your Authoritative Bloggers
If authority authors are writing your blog posts, then you should make sure everyone knows it.
Include author bios with links to their social media profiles at the end of every blog post, and publish an author bio page with the same links for each person who writes for you. Furthermore, include links in your writers’ bios to other sites where you’re their content has been published.
The goal is to give visitors (and Google Quality Raters) peace-of-mind that the content on your blog was written by true experts. This can be a powerful way to differentiate your content from your competitors’ content and prove that your business really is the best.
Key Takeaways for Business Blogs
Author authority directly affects your brand reputation and influence. While Google isn’t saying that author authority affects search rankings and traffic, we do know that evaluating author authority is part of its content rating processes.
Therefore, hiring authoritative bloggers and building your own authority (or the authority of your team members) is essential to your blog and your business’ success.
With that in mind, make author authority a priority for your business over the next six months. It won’t be long until you start seeing positive results.