Authorship is not a Google ranking factor

While studying Semrush’s report on ranking factors, I noted that according to their research: “there is no correlation between displaying authorship on a page (using markup) and its ranking.” Moreover, the relevant markup was found on only 5% of pages that ranked in the top 10 search results.

Ranking Factors [Semrush Study]

Immediately following, there was an intriguing statement from Google stating, “Google does not use authorship as a direct ranking signal.” It further elaborated that “Authors are not a tool for improving search engine rankings, but rather provide benefits to readers.”

Just adding a byline doesn’t give a ranking boost. Nor do we somehow read information in or near a byline and think “oh, they say their an expert, so this must be written by an expert.” That wouldn’t make sense, given how undependable it is. Having accurate bylines and accurate information, however, might be among the things that quality content does that aligns with completely different signals we use to understand things about quality content. There’s also plenty of content that ranks well without having a byline.

From this, we can conclude:

  1. Google does not use author names as a direct ranking factor.
  2. Author/Editor blocks should be included for the convenience of readers and may be used by various systems to determine content quality.
  3. High-quality content can rank well, both with and without author attribution.

Therefore, adding an author to pages in itself will not impact ranking, but it may serve (or may not serve) as a composite signal for some ranking systems (algorithms).

Issues that arise after adding authors:

  1. It becomes necessary to invent characters to include an author block in the article.
  2. It’s challenging to demonstrate or prove the author’s expertise in this block.
  3. Difficulties arise due to jurisdictional restrictions or compliance issues.

Final thoughts

In the case of authors on the page, it can enhance user engagement. For example, seeing the author, visitors may start navigating through the site to schedule an appointment (e.g., with a dentist), thereby increasing page depth/time on site and other user metrics that are ranking factors.

In other words, authors indirectly influence your site. The inscription itself – written by Mueller, verified by Brin – has no direct impact on ranking (as claimed by the search engine). However, they could easily lie about it.


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