Google doesn’t specifically measure the authority of a website, according to webmaster trends analyst John Mueller.
This was stated in the most recent Google Webmaster Central hangout when Mueller was asked how a site can increase its authority.
The webmaster who asked the question says their site lost a significant amount of organic traffic following the June core algorithm update.
Somehow, the webmaster came to the conclusion that their site’s authority dropped by 50 percent as a result of the core update.
However, that would be impossible to determine, as Mueller says Google doesn’t have any kind of ‘authority’ metric.
“In general, Google doesn’t evaluate a site’s authority. So it’s not something where we would give you a score on authority and say this is the general score for authority on your website. That’s not something we would be applying here.”
Google’s quality rater guidelines have a section on evaluating authority, but earlier in the hangout Mueller mentioned quality raters do not evaluate sites on an individual basis.
In other words, quality raters are not looking at sites and assigning scores based on how authoritative the sites appear to be.
The people who site owners should get to evaluate their sites are actual users, Mueller says. He recommends seeking feedback from current or potential users with regards to their perception of a site’s authority.
Find out if real users feel like they can trust the content on a website. From there, you should be able to gather feedback on how to appear more authoritative.
Here is the full quote from Mueller:
“If you’re thinking about authority, if you’re thinking about the search quality raters, then that sounds like you’re kind of on the right track there. One of the other questions was also on expertise, authority, trustworthiness – that kind of goes in the same direction.
It’s something, from my point of view, where I would try to get more input from users and potential users. Really try to get the more hard feedback that’s sometimes hard to take where people can really tell you where they think – like comparing different sites in the same niche – where they see issues that you could be doing. Or where they look at your page and think I can’t really trust the content that’s on here.
It’s probably the case that you’ve already been doing a lot of these things really well, but maybe there are things you could be doing even better in that regard.”
Hear Mueller’s full response below, starting at the 23:47 mark: