• http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Barry: Is the paragraph starting “We are also expecting…” quoting Matt from the stage, or is that your own comment? Very important!

  • Durant Imboden

    From what I’ve seen, “In-depth articles” results have more to do with the publisher than with the author. (They’re typically from “big media” sites like NYTimes.com, WSJ.com, and Forbes.com, and often–maybe even usually?–author bylines aren’t displayed in the results.)

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    I wrote an extensive article last night explaining why Matt’s reply to my tweet is author authority as a qualifier (for a search feature) and is not a RANKING factor, which is what most people mean by “author rank.” See http://www.stonetemple.com/quo-vadis-author-rank-the-present-and-future-of-author-authority-in-search/

  • Ryan Fortin

    This will make many folks in search very happy :)

  • http://konnectdigital.com.au Sophie Gillfeather

    Seems like it is quoting Cutts — I’m deducing this from the “This specific comment…” but it could be formatted slightly better. Clarification would be good.

  • Jamal Ashraf Siddiqui

    Confusion! Authors are publishing the material through Publishing houses. How they get the listing.

  • sharithurow

    Hi all-

    There is a BIG problem with authorship: in order for it to be effective, true authorities need to participate.

    I was at an event where true experts were participants:


    This group of people doesn’t even know about or care about Google+ and author pages. My biggest concern about Google authorship is that the system is going to award blowhards and loudmouths instead of true authorities about a topic.

  • Durant Imboden

    It’s worse than that. Unless the subject experts control the use of authorship markup (which isn’t the case when they’re writing for third-party sites), even those who DO know and care about Google Authorship won’t be able to participate in any “author rank” scheme. That’s probably one of the main reasons why Google can’t use authorship as a ranking factor right now–and it’s why, in the words of AJ Kohn, Google has moved toward “entity extraction” as a way to determine who the subject authorities are.

    In the short run, Google seems to be using “publisher rank” or “publisher authority” as a placeholder for “author rank” or “author authority.” The problem with that approach is that someone who writes about, say, pancreatitis for USA Today is likely to be far less of a subject authority than someone who writes on that topic for the American Journal of Medicine. For that matter, someone who writes a travel article about Melbourne, Australia for The New York Times or The Telegraph is likely to be less of a subject authority than someone who’s been publishing a specialist Web site about Melbourne for the last 10 years.

    I suspect that it will be quite a while before “author rank” or “author authority” becomes a significant ranking signal. Still, Google claims to have more than 200 factors in its ranking algorithm, so it’s possible that “author authority” could become a minor ranking signal without doing too much damage.

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Shari – your point is one of the main things I emphasize when I try to explain to people why I think any real “author rank” is still a long way off for Google. People don’t realize how tricky it is to get this right, and Google won’t throw something into the search algo half-baked.

    For author authority ranking to work, I’m sure Google knows by now it can’t depend on Google Authorship alone. That’s why it’s so important to see what they are doing with the Knowledge Graph and semantic search. They are learning ways to identify individuals as “entities” even apart from markup like rel author. As they get better at that, they will be able to match up those entities with authority signals.

    But its a long term project.

  • http://jameshalloran.net/ James R. Halloran

    Interesting. So, does that mean people who are writing long articles for the sake of long articles automatically get pushed down in the in-depth SERPs if they already don’t have authorship established?

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    No, not at all that simple.

    First off, anyone “writing long articles for the sake of long articles” is not likely to ever qualify for this. There likely needs to be a significant amount of signals around the content for it to even be considered.

    Second, while Cutts says author authority may be “in use” for In-Depth Articles, we see very little evidence that it is so far a major factor. So far Google seems far more dependent upon publisher (site) reputation. Only a very small percentage of articles displayed in In-Depth Articles boxes show an author attribution.

  • http://keithcash.com/ Keith Cash

    What determines who is authoritative and who is not?

  • http://www.discountonlinefitness.com steve

    if the person has a TON of followers in their google plus account and tons of shares/reposts across social media then they are authoritative.

  • Ceri Wheeldon

    I agree with Shari – just because someone has mastered Google Pus does not necessarily make them an expert in their field – it does concern me that true ‘experts’ will get lost as good marketers rise to the top.

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    @disqus_JV5JAbaFlw:disqus and you’ve based that on what evidence? What testing? When people are looking for actual answers, your guesses aren’t helpful.

    @KeithCash:disqus the truth is we don’t know for sure. One thing I can assure you is NOT in and of itself a high authority sign is just a high number of Google+ followers. Too easily gamed (and many people are gaming it now). Google’s not that stupid.

    It’s likely a very complex combination of factors, and don’t believe anyone who tells you they know the formula.