Google Continues Work On Promoting Topic Authorities

Dec 20, 2013 • 8:35 am | comments (13) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

google authorityBack in May, we covered how Google is planning on releasing an algorithm to promote subject authorities in the search results. Some call this the "good guy algorithm" and some call it the "author authority algorithm," while others may have some other names for it.

Part of episode 227 on TWiG, Google is not only trying to break the spirits of the "bad guys" but he also mentioned they are trying to promote the good guys.

Craig Moore transcribed what Matt Cutts of Google said on Google+. He said it about 1 hour and 20 minutes into the video.

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 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.

I am terribly interested to know when this launches and how it impacts the results.

Google has not given an ETA to this launch, and I don't expect them to. But with any winners, in this case the "good guys", others will see loses. So while this algorithm may be about promoting content, some content will ultimately drop in the results because of it.

Forum discussion at Google+.

Previous story: New Look For Medical Knowledge In Google's Search Results


12/20/2013 01:49 pm

Sounds like something SAPE will do well with exploiting.

Charles - The Great and Powerf

12/20/2013 03:22 pm

As it loses Search Engine Market Share bit by bit.

Alexander Hemedinger

12/20/2013 03:24 pm

Cant wait for the updates in algorithm. All the hard work in prediction will surely pay off! -Good Guys :)


12/20/2013 06:35 pm

Probably Google Continues, but SERPs don't confirm any success.

TheeDesign Studio

12/20/2013 07:03 pm

We still decent ranking for authorship markup in the SERPS for both our clients and ourselves. I wonder what the parameters are for making someone an "expert" on a topic? Perhaps it has to do with how tightly themed your blogs are? ex:

Durant Imboden

12/20/2013 09:40 pm

Identifying "subject experts" isn't likely to be easy, and links alone won't always do the trick. Let's say that Professor Jeff Jarvis links to the home page of Search Engine Roundtable: How should Google interpret that link? Does Jeff Jarvis know anything about Barry's main topic, search? Or is he just voting for Barry's reportorial skills, which aren't directly related to Barry's subject expertise? I'd like to see Google look at an author's track record over time, which at least shows that the author has a history of involvement with the subject. For example, Ed Bott has been writing about Microsoft Windows at least since the 1990s, so he should have more credibility than, say, someone who just went to work as a contract blogger for Engadget. And Tom Brosnahan of has been writing about Turkey since he wrote the first Frommer guide to Turkey several decades ago. He should have more authority for "Turkey travel" than someone who started writing a blog about Turkey six months ago, even if the latter author did get a link from The New York Times.

Eric Van Buskirk

12/21/2013 02:49 am

The only problem I have with "author rank," which is a niche I've become an expert on via my writing, is that there is much importance to those that can think deeply about how subjects tie together. I'd rather read stories from journalists, for example, who are well rounded and not too narrow in their expertise.

take it easy geezer

12/21/2013 11:33 am

Ohhh...slip a link in there why don´t ya. That is not an earned link in googles eyes and is unnatural. Google could plump up that turkey link for Christmas and serve it back to the table with a lovely bottle of penalty.


12/21/2013 02:55 pm

Google Continues working on how to keep all the money for themselves

Durant Imboden

12/21/2013 02:58 pm

Actually, I didn't slip a link in there. (Disqus did.) I merely mentioned a site that I don't own and have no personal interest in.

Gracious Store

12/22/2013 12:55 am

With zillions of contents out there, will Google algorithm be able to sort relevant from irrelevant contents? And then what will be the yard stick to measure relevance of a content?

Durant Imboden

12/22/2013 09:16 pm

There's no reason why someone couldn't be considered an expert in more than one subject. A "subject expert" doesn't necessarily have to be a specialist. Take John McPhee, who's written NEW YORKER profiles and books about nature, the Merchant Marine, transportation, and other subjects. His works have earned him enough respect, reviews, and Web citations to make him a recognized expert in everything from modern feudalism in Scotland to the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

Eric Van Buskirk

05/07/2014 12:44 am

I guess I wonder if John McPhee's over-all visibility will increase swith author rank as much as someone that just writes about, for example, the "merchant marine." We all know if a website is broad it ranks for nothing vs. the same quality website that is focussed like a laser. Comments from Cutts seem to support that with Author Rank, and it's a simple weekness of algo judgements vs. what may be more complex judgements of human "grading" (which is also too expensive to implement in search).

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