YMYL Sites: How to Format Author Bio Correctly
Many SEO specialists have come across the fact that search engines may behave differently based on whether author bios are available. WordFactory conducted a survey on this topic, and our respondents replied that a bio itself will not boost your rankings unless it is written and placed correctly.
We have looked in detail at why having an author bio box is necessary, when authorship can have a positive effect on ranking, and when it brings no returns, how to measure authors’ recognizability and even create star authors if necessary. The importance of author bio when promoting medical-themed pages was covered previously; we have also determined how a perfect content creator should look like in the eyes of Google.
Having spoken to numerous SEO specialists, we came to the conclusion that an expert author is a person whose expertise is backed by specific information, namely:
- education and/or content-related work experience;
- research papers and/or degrees;
- publications on other resources;
- citations/references in professional communities;
- participation in conferences, broadcasts, and competitions;
- YouTube videos, books written;
- content distribution across other platforms;
- active social media profiles with comments and feedback;
- reviews from customers and colleagues.
Expertise and Authority Do Matter
Boosting writers’ expertise is useful for all pages, but for YMYL websites that are ranked in accordance with E-A-T factors, having a signature with a bio of a verified expert is definitely a must. The thing is, such webpages affect users’ decision-making when it comes to their lives, health, and money, and therefore, search engines issue special requirements. These topics must be handled by experts.
Roman Efremov, head of SEO in Wits – Seomasters:
– Specifying authorship is part of the successful website promotion checklist for the topics considered YMYL – in articles that can directly affect readers’ financial wellbeing or health when it comes to websites offering loans, insurance, or medical services.
This is a special section in the Search quality evaluator guidelines that tackles reputation analysis of websites and main content creators. The moderators check who is responsible for a certain web resource and its content and whether it contains credible information.
Vladislav Trishkin, SEO specialist at Promodo:
- Google news policies feature a clear recommendation – specifying an author’s name. This addition will be useful not only for organic search results; the same applies to the Google Discover feed, where the page optimization guidelines also mention specifying authors’ names.
Author Bio for Improved Promotion
If you want the factor of authorship to accelerate your website promotion, you have to lay the foundation – fill out your author’s profile in as much detail as possible and ensure its correct placement within the website itself. Here is what must be done.
Filling Out Expert’s Bio
For search engines to treat the writer with trust, the profile on the designated webpage itself must contain:
- first and last name;
- contact details (e-mail address, phone, instant messengers);
- work experience, current job position, degrees, publications, and references on other resources, certificates, diplomas, ratings.
Based on this information, search engine bots and Google assessors can determine whether a given person is real, as well as the level of expertise and authority in their field. What was specifically pointed out by our survey participants?
Alexandr Denisov, SEO-analyst at Kite:
- First of all, having scientific publications is important. Being an expert works both ways – the more high-ranking the publication platform is, the higher authority level is assigned. Popularity can be quite hard to determine, but it is really a significant factor if an author is famous for covering specific topics. The more works he or she is featured in, the more references and citations the author gets, which subsequently leads to having higher credibility.
Artur Kvak, head of Compas Agency:
- It is really beneficial for a publishing platform to have well-known authors. In fact, recognizability is directly tied to pumping up social media. If people know you, they follow you on social media. In turn, if you produce great content on social media and grow your following, it makes you even more popular.
Irina Shamina, executive director at 1PS.RU:
- Having real reviews and comments can improve experts’ trustworthiness in the eyes of the readers. That is why apart from specifying authorship, it can be a good idea if you let people leave comments under the article. Don’t forget to create profile pages for your authors, featuring their personal details: pictures, certificates, diplomas, titles, etc. It is important to show that the experts can be trusted. Here is what it looks like:
Technicalities: Markup Done Right
Simply adding the author’s name at the top or the bottom of the page would not provide any special signals and would not positively affect the search engine ranking.
When preparing author bio boxes, it is vital to perform certain steps:
- use the rel=author attribute, to help search engine bots notice that your link contains author bio;
- implement micro-markup of the website filling in the Author field;
- create individual pages for team members or writers right on the website, providing information that would confirm their credibility;
- adopt a set of SEO measures: internal optimization, semantic core, structure expansion, link profile improvement, domain capacity expansion.
Sergey Zhigalkin, CEO at Cursor, stresses the importance of handling anchor links correctly. He believes that when the rel=author format is used, search engine bots see the author in connection with other Google services.
It is good if maximum information on the content creator can be obtained immediately with the publication. To achieve this, specially structured micro-markup should be employed along with description pages properly filled. This will simplify the task of identifying authorship by search engine bots. Talking about YMYL pages, this could be important for yet another reason. As noted by Ekaterina Abrashina, a leading specialist at IQ Online agency, using micro-markup when handling the Author field helps improve the snippet, which, in turn, can affect CTR positively.
Using special micro-markup was also mentioned by Roman Katerinchuk, CEO and founder at Artjoker. He also recommends posting a link to the writer’s page itself, for this person to be gradually seen as a more credible expert by Google.
To what extent does adding a dedicated team page to your website affect the authorship factor? As explained by Ramazan Mindubaev, head of SEO at TRINET.Group:
- We were looking into how crucial it is to create an Our Team page for a website, providing information on each team member. In our assessment, as of 2020, the importance is 5 out of 5, which stands for very important.
Having an established name will not help if there are technical issues on the website that could affect its ranking. That is why SEO corrections must be performed first and foremost – as once again emphasized by Sergey Cherevko, Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) at SEOTOPS.
The writer’s bio is important, but it is one of the many elements. A similar opinion was expressed by Alexandr Belitskiy, CEO at Idea Digital Agency:
- There has not been an ideal experiment where we would only specify authorship and leave the content intact. Based on an SEO strategy, such changes quite often include technical and structural improvements and working with the link profile. But there are certain patterns and results that can be attributed to adding author bios.
Alexandr Nechiporenko, a manager and leading specialist at webPCstudio, stresses the usefulness and uniqueness of the content for readers, while in terms of technical improvements, the overall project/site/domain capacity should be considered.
Irina Shamina, executive director at 1PS.RU:
- A landscape design blog was fully maintained by a client until November 2019. In November, we prepared a semantic core and, based on it, provided ready-made topics for articles, indicated authorship, and implemented semantic markup, where the authors of the articles were specified for search engines. The growth is obvious: even in the slowest month of December, we got almost the peak of May, the best month of the previous year. Although, in general, they did nothing out of the ordinary. The articles were written by the same experts; we only set the right course and specified the authors for search engines and users.
Proven Reliability – Trust at First Sight
Search engine optimization is an applied discipline. To provide some tangible facts, here are a few examples of how posting author bios is done on multiple platforms. What can persuade both the reader and search engine that a certain author is credible, and what it looks like?
How We Do It
Some personal experience, to begin with. At WordFactory, we have been paying attention to author bio signatures for a long time. The face of our content studio Natalia Kirik (Voskoboinikova) is an expert in anything having to do with texts in all shapes and formats. This author has been generating expert-level content for more than 10 years. And that is not all, as managing a team with dozens of employees implies handling financial and legal issues, hiring and training, launching new projects, cooperating with colleagues, and participating in industry events. Natalia has been sharing her and her team’s experience for 10+ years with other colleagues in the field. It works towards building credibility, which, in turn, is taken into account by search engines when it comes to ranking.
The online profile features the job title, email, and instant messenger shortcuts features. Leaving comments is also possible.
The WordFactory brand and its leader are well-recognized by search engines. We conduct surveys, practice guest posting, publish materials on reputable business platforms, generate useful business tips, and address pressing industry issues, where we can express a valuable opinion and share it with the professional community. Various personal matters don’t remain unanswered as well.
The profile is registered on guest platforms where content is being posted, and it is designed similarly:
- active link to the content studio’s website and/or personal FB profile.
As a result, search engines can recognize and identify a person even if they switch companies or change their name.
How It Is Done by Reputable News Websites
News – one of the topics related to YMYL. The most reputable foreign media outlets treat expert-authored articles with awe. There are personalized pages where readers can find everything about the content (texts, video) creators.
On Forbes, authors are shown at the top, under the headline. The page also indicates whether this person is a guest journalist or a staff writer.
Author bio – an active link to the profile page, containing:
- list of author’s articles;
- short self-presentation with: education, experience, specialization, notable achievements;
- personal email;
- social media presence.
A dedicated button allows readers to quickly subscribe to the latest publications on the website.
Finance and hedge funds section
You can observe the same tactics employed by CNN. They make their profile look as catchy as possible, thus improving their writers’ personal brand recognition.
CNN reporter page
Below, there is a list of publications with active links.
Here, the reporter’s bio is included, which helps highlight their specialization and experience. You can also follow their personal Twitter and access the reporter’s programs and previously published materials.
What to Make Of It?
After the most recent Google updates, the factor of authorship was moved to the list of mandatory search engine requirements instead of optional. As a result, customers tend to order articles with a bio that is going to be treated favorably by search engine bots and Google assessors.
For the inclusion of author bios to be effective, unique and useful articles must be part of the writers’ portfolio. Their authority must be verified and confirmed by colleagues in the field. This information must be easily accessible online, along with real social media profiles. Posting videos, scientific works, or co-authoring books can also boost one’s recognition as an expert. Certain technical and information technology tactics can help achieve this, coupled with social engineering methods and PR.
Important! Expert-authored content shall be handled in accordance with search optimization rules. Then, author bios will be more accessible and identifiable by search engine bots, assessors, and readers, resulting in better utilization of content creators’ expertise and authority.