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.
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?”
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.
“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.
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. “
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.
Even more important, Mueller affirmed, yet again, that there is no such thing as an E-A-T score.
Will No-Indexing Author Archive Affect EAT?
Watch John Mueller Discuss Author Archives and E-A-T at the 48:01 Minute Mark