Google’s John Mueller has clarified that the search engine’s algorithms do not look at author reputation when ranking websites.
This is a misunderstanding that arose as a result of changes made to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines.
While Google’s Quality Rater team is directed to consider author reputation when manually assessing a web page, there is no such directive built into Google’s algorithms.
Moreover, quality raters themselves cannot directly impact a site’s rankings.
So even if a quality rater was analyzing a piece of content and discovered the author has a poor reputation, there’s nothing he or she could do that would affect the page’s rankings.
This topic came up during a recent Google Webmaster Central hangout when a site owner asked the following question:
“Say we have a site with multiple authors and then we find that one of the authors has a poor reputation or has developed a poor reputation. Is there a way to remove the author from the site but keep the content?”
Mueller answered this question by explaining that removing an author would be treated like any other site change. There’s nothing special about making that particular change to a website.
He then goes on to address the concern regarding author reputation, stating:
“I wouldn’t look at the quality rater guidelines as something that is like our algorithms are looking at this explicitly, and checking out the reputation of all authors, and then using that to rank your websites.”
In other words, don’t worry about author reputation impacting rankings.
However, if you want to remove an author from your website because you no longer want to be associated with them for whatever reason, then that would be treated like any other organic site change.
The full exchange can be seen in the video below, starting at the 28:17 mark.