Google is once again beginning to look at the author of content to influence rankings, but they admit it can be hard to tell who is really the author.
For more about this, check out the blog post over on Search Engine Roundtable.
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From 2011-2014, Google had a piece of functionality called “Authorship” that was pretty slick. You could connect your sites with your Google+ profile, and Google would be able to tell what articles you had written across the internet. They even showed author faces in search results next to their articles for a while. I thought this was great, as I’d see familiar faces next to articles and be more apt to click them, but Google slowly faded it out.
In the last year or two, though, Google has been pushing E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. If you can show those three things to Google, you’ll tend to rank better. For this, Google again is trying to determine who is the author of each piece of content, but it’s a lot softer this time.
You can, and probably should, but author bio boxes on your posts and do things to help Google understand who wrote the content. However, it’s not that simple. A user asked:
“Does pseudonymous authors with bio pages, links to their sites and more elements that support their activity is enough? Most of the times they don’t use their real names and photos. Any thoughts?”
Google’s John Mueller replied: “Totally up to you — I doubt Google’s algorithms would judge the “real-ness” of author names that you use. Users might thought.”
I read this to mean that you can put an author name on your site, and Google will typically take it at face value. It’d be hard for them to know if you were faking, which John admits.
The more important piece, though, is that users might judge your site based on names. There are a number of blogs I follow based largely on the specific people writing, and it would be pretty clear in some of those if they suddenly got a ghost writer and started faking it.
I encourage you to research a bit more about E-A-T and how it may affect site, as I suspect Google will continue to increase its importance as a ranking factor, and may slowly move back toward some form of semi-official authorship on sites. We’ll see.