Google Still Working On Promoting Subject-Specific Authorities In Search Results

google-knowledge-mortar-board-graduationRemember the video Google’s Matt Cutts released in May, talking about the ten future Google SEO changes? One of those topics was about authority boost for authors and sites that are an authority on a topic? Well, Google is still working on that.

In TWiG, This Week in Google, episode 227, Google’s Matt Cutts said this is something his team is working on right now. In fact, it is not about demoting sites but rather promoting the “good guy.” Craig Moore transcribed the snippet, which takes place an hour and twenty minutes into the video. Matt said Google is working on promoting the content of authorities on topics, so if an expert writes on a topic on any site, Google will notice that and make sure the content ranks better than non-authorities.

Here is the transcription:

We have been working on a lot of different stuff. We are actually now doing work on how to promote good guys. So if you are an authority in a space, if you search for podcasts, you want to return something like Twit.tv. So we are trying to figure out who are the authorities in the individual little topic areas and then how do we make sure those sites show up, for medical, or shopping or travel or any one of thousands of other topics. That is to be done algorithmically not by humans … So page rank is sort of this global importance. The New York times is important so if they link to you then you must also be important. But you can start to drill down in individual topic areas and say okay if Jeff Jarvis (Prof of journalism) links to me he is an expert in journalism and so therefore I might be a little bit more relevant in the journalistic field. We’re trying to measure those kinds of topics. Because you know you really want to listen to the experts in each area if you can.

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Mark

    Let’s make a prediction: the “good guy” = big brand websites that are massive advertisers and have 6-figure social followings. The same kind who can post the biggest piece of drivel and get 1,000 Facebook likes in 20 minutes. Who will lose, as usual: small businesses and start-up reviewers, start-up brands, honest/hard working affiliates. More top-of-google cement coming for CNET, TechRadar, Gizmodo, PC Mag, Mashable, IGN, Amazon, eBay, etc – if you’re not in the fray, f-off and get a job. It’s the Google way. Also, be prepared to lose your G Authorship if you currently have one.

  • Mark

    Let’s make a prediction: the “good guy” = big brand websites that are massive advertisers and have 6-figure social followings. The same kind who can post the biggest piece of drivel and get 1,000 Facebook likes in 20 minutes. Who will lose, as usual: small businesses and start-up reviewers, start-up brands, honest/hard working affiliates. More top-of-google cement coming for CNET, TechRadar, Gizmodo, PC Mag, Mashable, IGN, Amazon, eBay, etc – if you’re not in the fray, f-off and get a job. It’s the Google way. Also, be prepared to lose your G Authorship if you currently have one.

  • http://expresswriters.com/ Julia McCoy

    @Pixelrage:disqus you nailed it! Couldn’t have said it any better. However I do have high hopes for some niches, because not all of these author categories have monster brands and or huge social impact. For example, (in the copywriting space) there are authorities like copyblogger.com which wouldn’t be a direct competitor to a much smaller agency, individual freelancers, or us for that matter.

  • http://andreas.com/ Andreas Ramos

    ” AuthorRank” is a great idea, but just like PageRank, it’s easy to game. Have you ever seen a corp VP speak at a major conference? Often, it’s fake. The corp paid $20,000 or more to be a “sponsor” and in return, they get a speaking slot. The VP’s presentation was written by his staff. He’s just a sock puppet.

    The same for many high-profile blogs, articles, etc. by CEOs, VPs, etc. Books are also often ghost-written. In many cases, the publisher goes along with this: they don’t care. Corp agrees to buy 10,000 copies in advance and the publisher arranges the ghost writer and produces the book. The VP’s name is pasted on the cover. All of this is the work of PR and marketing.

    This really happens: I’ve seen many examples of this. It’s the large corps, not the little ones, that do this. They have the resources (money, staff, connections) to do this.

  • http://federicoeinhorn.com/ Fede Einhorn

    Sure Matt… right… I’m seeing the great results already (irony, in case you have troubles understanding it…)

  • http://www.internalsoul.com/ Souvik Mallick

    Great work Big G. really have to give a second though to to the term “Good Guy” seeing the results on SERP as of now.

  • hGn

    Everything has been said.

  • http://printfirm.com/ Katherine Tattersfield

    Amen. Mashable will now Rank for literally everything, despite the fact that they post 300 word nonsense every damn day.

  • blwinters

    Note the reference to Jeff Jarvis as an “expert in journalism”. That may be true, but he is also one of the biggest Google evangelists out there. He wrote a book called, “What Would Google Do?”, for Pete’s sake! It’s clear what kind of experts Google has in mind.

  • blwinters

    Note the reference to Jeff Jarvis as an “expert in journalism”. That may be true, but he is also one of the biggest Google evangelists out there. He wrote a book called, “What Would Google Do?”, for Pete’s sake! It’s clear what kind of experts Google has in mind.

  • vijina jayraj

    I second that!

  • http://www.myfanex.com/ Mitali Chowdhury

    The aforementioned for abounding high-profile blogs, articles, etc.
    by CEOs, VPs, etc. Books are aswell generally ghost-written. In
    abounding cases, the administrator goes forth with this: they don’t
    care. Corp agrees to buy 10,000 copies in beforehand and the
    administrator arranges the apparition biographer and produces the book.
    The VP’s name is pasted on the cover. All of this is the plan of PR and
    marketing.

    This absolutely happens: I’ve apparent abounding examples of this. It’s
    the ample corps, not the little ones, that do this. They accept the
    assets (money, staff, connections) to do this.
    http://www.myfanex.com

  • http://www.psychics.co.uk/ Craig Hamilton-Parker

    Horrible but true. Real authors will not get a look-in.

  • http://www.psychics.co.uk/ Craig Hamilton-Parker

    Horrible but true. Real authors will not get a look-in.

  • http://www.psychics.co.uk/ Craig Hamilton-Parker

    What is art? Now we know.

  • CarlosVelez

    @pixelrage and others are correct.

    What is an “authority” anyway? Why are edutainers like Dr Oz considered authorities while they peddle junk on TV? Just because they have a wide following it does not follow that they are authorities.

  • Durant Imboden

    Sure, and U.S. Presidents don’t write all their own speeches. But their authority comes from who they are and what they do, not from whether they type their prose or use ghostwriters.

    Similarly, when a movie says “A James Cameron film” at the beginning, that doesn’t mean James Cameron did everything in the movie. It simply means that James Cameron’s vision guided the project and he’s ultimately responsible for the finished film. He’s the “author” of the picture even if he had a ghostwriter, ghost directory of photography, ghost wardrobe mistress, ghost film editor, and so on.

  • http://wtff.com/ WTFFcom

    Another cute video from Google … but yesterday I was shocked again watching some SERPs.

    Seems, that video promotion is the only way left to make Google SERPs look useful.

  • http://andreas.com/ Andreas Ramos

    In some cases, yes, the VP or CEO may be the guiding light for the project. But I’ve seen many situations where the CEO or VP’s name was simply pasted onto the project. They use internal political games to either steal credit for themselves or give it to one of their followers.

    Others here mention Jeff Jarvis, Dr. Oz, and other high-visibility “media personalities”. That’s all they are. Not really skilled or knowledgeable. Google will confuse popularity and high traffic (easily created with marketing) for expertise.

    Here’s the task: come up with a way to display information from certified, authentic experts in STEM (science, technology, engineering, medicine/mathematics and other sciences). Like a vetted Wikipedia or Brittannica. It’ll make Google look like Fox News.

  • Durant Imboden

    OK, that’s where links and other citations come in. The goal of “author authority” strikes me as being fairly narrow in scope: The idea is to give authority to individuals, not just to domains. In other words, if Professor Whosit writes a dozen articles for the Journal of Contrapuntal Music, he’ll also get respect from Google if he writes an article about contrapuntal music for the Widgetville Times-Herald or his own Contrapuntal Music Blog.

    The challenge, obviously, is to make sure that Phil Nobody, who’s the Contrapuntal Music Examiner for Examiner.com, doesn’t get more “authority juice” in a search on “contrapuntal music” than Professor Whosit does just because Phil is a contributor to a mega-sized content farm that has an Auhorship partnership with Google.

    Will Google get it right? Possibly not. But if Google is granting authority only to domains (not to individuals), it isn’t getting it right, either.

  • http://www.pixelinsights.com/ Pixel Insights

    Google Authorship is a great idea, but as others said it will be hard for small businesses to beat the big guys. With that said, as long as your providing a service and product that people want visitors will keep coming back for more.

  • Durant Imboden

    I don’t think authorship is really about promoting services or products. It’s more about helping searchers find high-quality articles and other informational content by authors who are knowledgeable about the topics at hand. (Mind you, goals are easy. Execution is where things get tricky.)

  • Durant Imboden

    I don’t think authorship is really about promoting services or products. It’s more about helping searchers find high-quality articles and other informational content by authors who are knowledgeable about the topics at hand. (Mind you, goals are easy. Execution is where things get tricky.)

  • http://www.pixelinsights.com/ Pixel Insights

    I agree. That’s what I meant by providing a service or product on your website. Providing high-quality content by knowledgable people is what is going to generate results. Our motto is write for people, not search engines.

  • Guest

    well said @Katherune:disqus

  • http://scottpdailey.com/ Scott P Dailey

    I have faith their will be a balance struck between what Google wants to provide searchers (Mashable, et al) and what Google should supply: a diverse body of contributors on thousands of micro subjects. If the New York Times kills it for journalism, but key contributors to the journalism topic include small, but influential thought leaders in the space, then I hope Google allows for enough one’s and zero’s to capture and report on both the powerhouse and its writers, community members and community curators equally. After all, TNYT is the sum of its parts and Google’s algorithm should report on those parts with sensible consideration for the contribution each makes to the journalism topic.

  • Guest

    http://www.ViralityScore.com … The only rank you need be concerned with =) It was specifically designed to replace PageRank and provide a better system for how we use the internet today. PageRank is great, but let’s face it folks…That’s not how we use the internet today. Things have changed, that’s all.

  • AhzaTsa

    it’s sad to hear about it. how about new website, new startup that they didn’t recognize in anywhere. well i think most people who wants to promote their niche to be acknowledge, they should be use Google Adwords. and yes! that’s the Google ways not yours…. but anyway we should follow the rule.. Mr G is the rule, follow it or get off from Google ways http://puppiesforsaleny.blogspot.com and i love Google, Matt Cutts and team work very hard to give the best to the us, internet user.

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