August 8, 2018 at 3:28 am PST By Jennifer Slegg
Google has released a new version of the Google quality rater guidelines, and one of the most significant additions was creator reputation. Instead of just focusing on the reputation of the website itself, Google wants the raters to now look and see what the reputation is of the creator of the content. Does this person have a good reputation? Are they well-known in the field? Do they have a lot of experience or credentials in the area they are talking about? These are all things that site owners need to consider now.
Previously, Google’s quality rater guidelines focus primarily on the reputation of the website itself, and in turn, the reputation of the website owners. So many sites did things such as beef up their about us pages, made sure there was a valid contact information, and even included company info in some sections of the website, such as Frequently Asked Questions pages.
But now, site owners need to consider the reputation of their contributors. For some sites, there is usually one author for the entire site who have a short bio and then a link to a full author page, which would include things like their credentials or experience is perfectly fine. But in the case of multiple contributors, it can be a bit more tricky when you need to show expertise/knowledge for each one.
Even more important is the fact that Google is telling their quality raters to rate websites lowest when the content creator has a negative reputation or is written by an author that they cannot find any information on whatsoever. If you do a search for your current contributors, what do you see? Or can you find anything at all?
While the fact that a quality rater rate the specific website low or lowest does not have a direct impact on the live search results, it is still an example of the types of sites that Google wants to see ranked lower in the search results. It is most certain and likely that Google’s constant changing of their algorithms are trying to adjust in order to reflect “creator reputation” in addition to “site reputation”. In other words, if your site or specific pages have characteristics of pages Google wants to rank low, you need to figure out how those pages are lacking and correct it, before a newer algorithm can accomplish it. And one of the key additions to the latest quality rater guidelines was the “creator reputation” measurement.
There are many sites where there could be a dozen or even hundreds of contributors who are all writing content on the site. And something many site owners have been rather stingy with is offering their authors bios or links, because they don’t want to send their traffic offsite, particularly if they have paid the author for that content. But now in Google’s point of view, they want to ensure that those authors should be trusted, and raters need to research to confirm that yes, they should be trusted or that page will likely be rated low.
Don’t forget that this isn’t just for Google, or Google’s quality raters. Your site becomes more authoritative and trustworthy when site visitors are easily able to tell that they should be able to trust your writers as well. And this would lead to additional perks such as more shares or links to your site. While your motivation might be to make changes because of Google, the effects are far-reaching and benefits your site well beyond the realm of Google.
So what are things that site owners can do to showcase their content creator’s experience, reputation, and authoritativeness? And what can those content creators do to help show off their reputation so site visitors trust what they write?
Creator Reputation for Site Owners
But with creator reputation being an issue, site ownership encourage their authors to have a detailed bio, one that can show off their expertise and experience of whatever topic it is the writing about.
First, find out the accomplishments of those writers. Do they have awards or certificates or some sort of accolades that shows how knowledgeable they are about this topic? Have they worked under someone famous, having attended a well-known school or conference related to the subject? You should now be thinking of bios as a way to showcase “here is what this author is best known for, and here is why you should trust what they say.”
If your site has resorted to comical bios, or the type that don’t highlight the skills or expertise of your writers, you’ll want to rethink that, or the very least include some of those raters accomplishments as well.
For WordPress sites, there is option to fill in a field for a biography for all account profiles. There are also many plug-ins, both free and paid, that include options to dress this up a bit and make it look more professional and to add more features such as links within the bio and additional link fields to cover a variety of social media profile links. They also add other features such as adding an author photograph, support for multiple contributors to a single page and expandable profiles.
Don’t worry about the fact that someone might click off your site and visit your writer’s links instead. It’s not just quality raters that want to get a better sense about authors on their favorite sites, but also those who visit your site as well. So even though many people are doing this for Google purposes, it does benefit the user as well.