Google Search Topic Authority Ranking System (Not New)

May 24, 2023 - 8:01 am 11 by
Filed Under Google Updates

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Google posted a new blog post about an old ranking system it has not talked about before named "topic authority." Initially, everyone thought Google was announcing a new search ranking algorithm update, but no, Google's Danny Sullivan clarified on Twitter, saying, "this isn't a new system that's just launched."

Danny added that "we've used it for several years." This "post is part of our regular efforts to share more about how ranking works."

So Google has this ranking system named "topic authority" which aims to "surface relevant, expert, and knowledgeable content in Google Search and News." Google said that topic authority "helps determine which expert sources are helpful to someone’s newsy query in certain specialized topic areas, such as health, politics, or finance."

Google then described a bit how it works and what Google looks for with this search ranking system:

  • How notable a source is for a topic or location: Google's systems understand publications that seem especially relevant to topics or locations. "For example, they can tell that people looking for news on Nashville high school football often turn to a publication like The Tennessean for local coverage," Google wrote.
  • Influence and original reporting: Google's system looks at how original reporting, the example Gogoel said is if the publisher that first broke a story and is cited by other publishers to understand how a publication is influential and authoritative on a topic.
  • Source reputation: Google's system also looks at a source’s history of high-quality reporting, or recommendations from expert sources, such as professional societies. For example, a publication’s history doing original reporting or their journalistic awards are strong evidence of positive reputation for news websites," Google explained.

I love what Google wrote in terms of what publishers need to think about when it comes to ranking well with this system. Google wrote, "Publishers looking for success with topic authority should do exactly what their publications would normally do: provide great coverage about the areas and topics they know well. Such work should naturally align with what our topic authority system measures and with our general guidance about creating helpful, people-first content."

This reminds me of the local news system that "works to identify and surface local sources of news whenever relevant, such as through Google's "Top stories" and "Local news" features."

And yes, all of this is stuff Google has been preaching for a while and most SEOs try to get their clients to achieve anyway.

This should be added to that Google ranking systems page soon:

So this is new, but not new - got it?

Forum discussion at Twitter.

 

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