Mueller Discusses No-Indexing Author Archive Pages
Google’s John Mueller was recently asked whether or not no-indexing author archive pages would affect a site’s E-A-T scores. In response, Mueller stated that E-A-T scores are a myth and provided advice that indirectly gave insights into how Google sees author archive pages.
What are Author Archive Pages?
Author archive pages refer to web pages containing all the articles published by an individual writer for a specific website. The pages can be used to list the authors’ accomplishments and qualifications. It also helps visitors discover more content written by their favourite author.
No-Indexing Author Archive Pages
The person asking the question stated that they had problems with the structured data markup and were considering blocking Google from indexing their author pages to avoid errors from showing up on Google Search Console.
The simplest way to prevent Google from indexing a page is to utilise a no-index meta tag, which is an HTML element that informs search engines to exclude the page from their index.
However, the individual asking the question was also worried about no-index tags affecting their rankings. They asked Mueller if author archive pages are crucial for E-A-T and if it would hurt their E-A-T score if they no-index author archive pages.
Many in the SEO community believe that author archive pages could be a ranking factor. Google’s systems can understand web pages using Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T), and some SEOs believe that these E-A-T qualities can affect rankings. However, they are not actually ranking criteria; rather, they describe the kind of web pages that Google aims to rank.
Because of this, the person who asked the question was concerned about a possible drop in their rankings after stopping Google from indexing their author archive pages.
Mueller’s Response On E-A-T Scores
Mueller debunked the idea that there is an E-A-T score. He said that Google doesn’t use any sort of metric for measuring a site’s expertise, authority, or trustworthiness, so SEOs should not be concerned about it.
No-Index Tags Chase Search Console Errors Away
Mueller said that by no-indexing those pages, one could get rid of the structured data notification messages in their search console.
No-Indexing Author Pages Is Okay
Mueller continued to address the subject of solving structured data misconfiguration problems. He stated that if those author archive pages aren’t important to the publisher, don’t rank, and aren’t essential to the business, then it’s okay to remove them.
When Not to No-Index Author Pages
Generally, if author archive pages were significant ranking related factors, Mueller would have suggested caution about removing them. Because he doesn’t recommend caution, this tells the SEO community that these pages do not affect rankings and that it is fine to no-index them. However, Mueller did give a few scenarios where one should avoid no-indexing author archive pages.
He said he would view this situation differently if the website emphasises the author’s name, authority, and knowledge. For instance, if users are actively looking for the author’s name, author archive pages may be very useful in the search results. Therefore, it would be best to keep author archive pages indexed for such websites.
Moreover, these pages will be getting traffic from the search results. On the other hand, if the website owner does not gain a lot of traffic from the pages and all they get are random people writing for the blog, it is fine to no-index them.
Are Author Pages Not Ranking-Related?
It is interesting to note that Mueller’s answer on whether to no-index or not did not mainly consider websites that discuss sensitive topics that might significantly affect people’s health or finances, like credit, banking, or mortgage.
Another thing to note is that Mueller did not make references to any ranking related consideration regarding author archive pages. The important thing to consider was whether author archive pages gain traffic and are valuable enough for users to search for the author’s name.
It tells the SEO community that the decision to avoid indexing author archive pages is based on whether or not they were critical to site visitors. Mueller never mentioned any ranking or E-A-T related considerations when giving his answers on the matter.
But what’s more important is that Mueller confirmed again that E-A-T scores do not exist.
Advantages of Author Archives
Although Google does not use E-A-T scores, author archives can still help with a website’s expertise, credibility, and trust.
Some website builders and platforms allow site owners to adjust their author archive pages. They can add their bio, custom descriptions, meta descriptions for their author archive pages, avatar, schema metadata about the publisher, and even their employer and expertise.
Site owners can also enable author boxes on their posts and archive. Doing so will display the bio at the end of the post alongside their photo if they have added one.
One can also take advantage of bios by addressing important information about the publisher – their identity, expertise, related credentials, and how they aim to help readers. They can also add social media links in their author archive pages to encourage readers to follow and connect with them on social media.
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