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Author Archive Pages And E-A-T

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Author Archive Pages And E-A-T

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Google’s John Mueller answers a question about whether author archives makes a difference with their E-A-T scores. John first noted that there is no such thing as an E-A-T score then provided advice that indirectly provided insights into how Google views author archive pages.

Author Archive Pages

Author archive pages are pages that list the articles published by a individual writers for that website. The pages can be useful for listing the accomplishments and credentials of the authors.

It’s also useful for readers to find more articles by their favorite author.

Google’s Mueller Discussing Author Archive Pages And E-A-T

Is It Okay to No-Index Author Archives?

The person asking the question noted that they had a structured data markup error and they were thinking of blocking Google from indexing their author pages in order to stop that error from showing up in Google Search Console.

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The way to block Google from indexing a web page is by the use of what’s called a no-index meta tag. A no-index tag is an HTML element that tells the search engines to not include the web page in their index.

However the person asking the question was concerned if their rankings might be affected.

There is an idea in the SEO community that author archive pages might be a ranking related factor.

There is a way of understanding web pages in terms of Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) and a belief that those qualities of a web page are a ranking factor.

They are not actual ranking factors, they are simply qualities of the type of web pages Google wants to rank.

Because of that, the person asking the question was concerned about a negative ranking effect from blocking Google from indexing those pages.

The person asked:

“Are they important for E-A-T?

Will my E-A-T score go down if I no-index the author archive pages?”

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There Is No E-A-T Score

Google’s John Mueller dispelled the myth that there is an E-A-T score.

John Mueller explained about E-A-T:

“So we don’t have an E-A-T score.

So from that point of view you don’t have to worry about that.”

No-indexing Pages Will Make Search Console Errors Go Away

Mueller next advised that by no-indexing those pages the structured data notification messages in search console would go away, problem solved, in a way.

John Mueller advised:

“And if you don’t want those pages indexed, then by no-indexing those pages you will remove that notification as well.”

No-Indexing Author Pages is Fine In General

Mueller, still addressing the topic of resolving the structured data misconfiguration issues said that if those pages aren’t critical, don’t rank and are otherwise not important to the publisher, then it’s totally fine to remove them.

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Mueller advised:

“My guess is that the structured data that you’re using using on these pages is not critical for your site, is not something that we would show in the search results directly anyway.

So from that point of view, probably you’re fine with either removing the structured data from those pages, no-indexing those pages if they’re not critical for your site.

All of that would be fine.”

When Not to No-Index Author Pages

In general terms, if author pages were super important ranking related factors, Mueller probably would have urged caution about removing those author pages. But he doesn’t urge caution, he said it’s fine.

But then he explores situations where it might not be okay to remove those author pages.

Mueller offered his insights:

“I think I would see this slightly different if I knew that this was a site that really focused a lot on the authority and kind of the knowledge and the name of the authors, where if people are actively searching for the name of the author, then your collection of content by that author might be actually useful to have in the search results.

So for those kinds of sites, I think it would be useful to keep that indexed.

But then you would probably already want to keep that indexed, because they’re getting traffic from search.

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So if you’re not seeing any traffic at all to these author pages and they’re just random people who are writing for your blog or something like that, then probably no-indexing them would be fine. “

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Author Pages Not Ranking Related?

An interesting thing about Mueller’s answer is that the main consideration of whether to no-index or not didn’t have anything to do with whether the site was in a sensitive topic that might affect people’s finances (banking, credit, mortgage) or their health.

Another interesting point is that Mueller also didn’t make reference to any ranking related consideration in regards to the author archive web pages.

The important consideration, according to John Mueller, was whether the web page received traffic and was so important to readers that they actually searched for the name of that author.

The decision of whether to refrain from no-indexing the author pages hinged on whether those pages were important to site visitors.

At no point in Mueller’s answer did he mention any ranking or E-A-T related consideration when answering whether to no-index the author page.

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Even more important, Mueller affirmed, yet again, that there is no such thing as an E-A-T score.

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Will No-Indexing Author Archive Affect EAT?

Watch John Mueller Discuss Author Archives and E-A-T at the 48:01 Minute Mark

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B2B PPC Experts Give Their Take On Google Search On Announcements

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B2B PPC Experts Give Their Take On Google Search On Announcements

Google hosted its 3rd annual Search On event on September 28th.

The event announced numerous Search updates revolving around these key areas:

  • Visualization
  • Personalization
  • Sustainability

After the event, Google’s Ad Liason, Ginny Marvin, hosted a roundtable of PPC experts specifically in the B2B industry to give their thoughts on the announcements, as well as how they may affect B2B. I was able to participate in the roundtable and gained valuable feedback from the industry.

The roundtable of experts comprised of Brad Geddes, Melissa Mackey, Michelle Morgan, Greg Finn, Steph Bin, Michael Henderson, Andrea Cruz Lopez, and myself (Brooke Osmundson).

The Struggle With Images

Some of the updates in Search include browsable search results, larger image assets, and business messages for conversational search.

Brad Geddes, Co-Founder of Adalysis, mentioned “Desktop was never mentioned once.” Others echoed the same sentiment, that many of their B2B clients rely on desktop searches and traffic. With images showing mainly on mobile devices, their B2B clients won’t benefit as much.

Another great point came up about the context of images. While images are great for a user experience, the question reiterated by multiple roundtable members:

  • How is a B2B product or B2B service supposed to portray what they do in an image?

Images in search are certainly valuable for verticals such as apparel, automotive, and general eCommerce businesses. But for B2B, they may be left at a disadvantage.

More Uses Cases, Please

Ginny asked the group what they’d like to change or add to an event like Search On.

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The overall consensus: both Search On and Google Marketing Live (GML) have become more consumer-focused.

Greg Finn said that the Search On event was about what he expected, but Google Marketing Live feels too broad now and that Google isn’t speaking to advertisers anymore.

Marvin acknowledged and then revealed that Google received feedback that after this year’s GML, the vision felt like it was geared towards a high-level investor.

The group gave a few potential solutions to help fill the current gap of what was announced, and then later how advertisers can take action.

  • 30-minute follow-up session on how these relate to advertisers
  • Focus less on verticals
  • Provide more use cases

Michelle Morgan and Melissa Mackey said that “even just screenshots of a B2B SaaS example” would help them immensely. Providing tangible action items on how to bring this information to clients is key.

Google Product Managers Weigh In

The second half of the roundtable included input from multiple Google Search Product Managers. I started off with a more broad question to Google:

  • It seems that Google is becoming a one-stop shop for a user to gather information and make purchases. How should advertisers prepare for this? Will we expect to see lower traffic, higher CPCs to compete for that coveted space?

Cecilia Wong, Global Product Lead of Search Formats, Google, mentioned that while they can’t comment directly on the overall direction, they do focus on Search. Their recommendation:

  • Manage assets and images and optimize for best user experience
  • For B2B, align your images as a sneak peek of what users can expect on the landing page

However, image assets have tight restrictions on what’s allowed. I followed up by asking if they would be loosening asset restrictions for B2B to use creativity in its image assets.

Google could not comment directly but acknowledged that looser restrictions on image content is a need for B2B advertisers.

Is Value-Based Bidding Worth The Hassle?

The topic of value-based bidding came up after Carlo Buchmann, Product Manager of Smart Bidding, said that they want advertisers to embrace and move towards value-based bidding. While the feedback seemed grim, it opened up for candid conversation.

Melissa Mackey said that while she’s talked to her clients about values-based bidding, none of her clients want to pull the trigger. For B2B, it’s difficult to assess the value on different conversion points.

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Further, she stated that clients become fixated on their pipeline information and can end up making it too complicated. To sum up, they’re struggling to translate the value number input to what a sale is actually worth.

Geddes mentioned that some of his more sophisticated clients have moved back to manual bidding because Google doesn’t take all the values and signals to pass back and forth.

Finn closed the conversation with his experience. He emphasized that Google has not brought forth anything about best practices for value-based bidding. By having only one value, it seems like CPA bidding. And when a client has multiple value inputs, Google tends to optimize towards the lower-value conversions – ultimately affecting lead quality.

The Google Search Product Managers closed by providing additional resources to dig into overall best practices to leverage search in the world of automation.

Closing Thoughts

Google made it clear that the future of search is visual. For B2B companies, it may require extra creativity to succeed and compete with the visualization updates.

However, the PPC roundtable experts weighed in that if Google wants advertisers to adopt these features, they need to support advertisers more – especially B2B marketers. With limited time and resources, advertisers big and small are trying to do more with less.

Marketers are relying on Google to make these Search updates relevant to not only the user but the advertisers. Having clearer guides, use cases, and conversations is a great step to bringing back the Google and advertiser collaboration.

A special thank you to Ginny Marvin of Google for making space to hear B2B advertiser feedback, as well as all the PPC experts for weighing in.

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Featured image: Shutterstock/T-K-M

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