Google’s Search Liaison recently cleared up a common misunderstanding about the impact of author bylines on search rankings. The confusion started when a well-known publication suggested that including author bylines could enhance a content’s visibility on Google’s search results. Many websites then adjusted their content strategies, thinking that bylines would improve their rankings.
Google’s Statement on Author Bylines
Google’s Search Liaison responded on X (formerly Twitter) to clear up the misinformation. The liaison stated, “This part of the article is wrong and doesn’t cite us saying this.” He emphasized that Google doesn’t use bylines as a direct ranking signal, debunking the publication’s claim.
The liaison clarified that author bylines aren’t a tool for boosting search rankings; they are meant to benefit readers. Stressing the point, he added, “Author bylines aren’t something you do for Google, and they don’t help you rank better. They’re something you do for your readers — and publications doing them may exhibit the type of other characteristics our ranking systems find align with useful content.”
What’s the future of Bylines?
Google’s Search Liaison clarified further: “Just putting an Author byline doesn’t make your content rank higher. We don’t read a byline and assume an expert writes it.”
He highlighted that although having accurate bylines and information may relate to quality content, they don’t directly impact rankings.
The point emphasized that many well-ranking pieces exist without bylines, underscoring that they’re not necessary for success in search rankings.
Important takeaways for SEO professionals:
- Google doesn’t use author bylines to influence search rankings.
- Bylines should be added to benefit readers and may align with other quality indicators.
- Quality content can perform well in search rankings regardless of the presence of an author byline.
- Google intends to update its documentation for better clarification on ranking factors, aiming to enhance communication with SEO professionals.
In essence, Google’s Search Liaison reminds us to prioritize creating high-quality content that meets audience needs, emphasizing that specific strategies may not directly impact search rankings.