Often relegated to an afterthought, author bio creation is usually the least of a writer’s worries. Many authors go through the process mindlessly, slapping on credentials, awards, and maybe a few funny lines. But did you know your author biography can possibly boost your SEO? We took a deep dive into Google’s recommendations and analyzed expert opinions to create this guide to writing SEO-friendly author biographies. Here’s what you need to know.
Why Google Cares About Your Author Bio
First things first: Google has never explicitly stated that author bios directly impact search engine rankings. In addition, Google doesn’t seem to value an author’s reputation when ranking websites. So why should you care?
The answer lies mainly in Google’s E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust) guidelines. Let’s discuss the E-A-T guidelines and why author bios play an essential role in helping you climb the SERPs.
What is Google’s E-A-T?
E-A-T is the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of an author, web content, or website. While it is not a ranking factor, it is an essential component of the Google Search Quality Raters Guidelines – a document that Google Search Quality Raters utilize and reference in rating websites.
As of 2022, only Google knows all the factors influencing a website’s E-A-T, leaving SEO experts to speculate and analyze data. For example, this SEJ article discusses how you can improve your website’s E-A-T, with tips derived from analyzing sites that have won the core algorithm update.
Many SEO professionals claim that having clear bylines and author bios that demonstrate your expertise and credentials is an integral part of E-A-T, and here’s why.
How Do Author Bios Improve Your E-A-T?
So how do author biography pages affect your E-A-T and boost your SEO? Experts can only assume, and the influence seems to be indirect. John Mueller from Google didn’t believe author bios were essential for SEO but considered it an integral part of creating a better user experience.
While this may be true, Google has always cared about author authority. Take, for example, its efforts in developing Author Rank and Author Markup. Even Google’s announcement of its procedures for ranking news sources is telling of its partiality to author authority. The report emphasizes the importance of transparency: having clear bylines and author information are great ways to build trust.
In summary, while author bios are not a ranking factor, there are benefits to having a well-written author bio page. Author bios allow Google to understand your E-A-T and help readers develop trust in your company while setting you apart from less-established sources. In effect, your website creates trust, credibility, and authority, which are essential for good SEO.
How Do You Write a Good Author Bio Google Will Love?
So how do you craft a compelling author bio that not only showcases your credibility and authority but is also SEO-friendly? Here are some best practices to follow in SEO copywriting.
1. Keep it short and substantial.
A majority of author bios are between 50 – 100 words, so try to keep yours within this limit. Several CMS will also limit the words you can write in the author bio.
2. Use the third person.
Some people may find author bios written in the first person self-serving. Use the third person when showcasing your achievements. It reads more formally and improves your perceived authority.
3. Include a good photo.
Adding a photo to your bio is a great way to add a more personal, human touch to your work. Using one professionally-taken portrait on all your pieces is an effective strategy to develop your brand. If readers don’t remember your name, they’ll at least remember your face.
4. Showcase your experience.
Author bios are a great way to boast about your credentials and assume authority. Highlight your citations, years of experience, degrees, published works, previous jobs, or media coverage.
5. Tone down on being catchy.
Writing funny and goofy bios are a common practice among authors of small-time blogs. This shouldn’t be the case for business blogs, especially when authoring a thought leadership or opinion piece. Your love of cheese doesn’t say anything about your SEO expertise, and no one really cares about your passion for coffee (unless you’re writing an article about coffee).
This is not to say that injecting humor or personality will completely do your bio a disservice – keep it subtle, and help your readers view you as an authority on your topic by focusing on your credentials.
6. Link to your socials or your business website.
Adding links where people can learn more about you or see the depth of your work is an excellent way to build trust among your readers. With your socials for everyone to see, they can tag you in posts or get in touch with you.
7. Showcase a real person.
A lot of companies are guilty of this author bio no-no. Instead of using a human author in their author bios, they indicate the company’s name as the writer, which does nothing to build trustworthiness or authority. Make sure to indicate that a specific person writes your blogs; bonus points if they’re an expert in the field.
How Do You Optimize Author Bios for SEO?
Now that you know how to compose good author bios, it’s time to learn how to reap its SEO benefits. Follow the tips below.
1. Utilize structured data.
Think of structured data as a set of instructions you set to help Google classify content on your page. By adding structured data markup to your website, you can tell Google who the author of an article is instead of merely hoping that its crawlers pick up on the writer based on the format of your site. The Schema.org structured data has an Author property you can utilize to attribute authors to their respective content.
2. Set an author bio page for each writer.
You can easily optimize for author names by having an author bio page for each writer. A designated About Me page allows you to have a repository of each writer’s work, which is helpful for readers searching specifically for a writer and their works.
3. Decide whether to index or no-index.
Should you index an author page and allow it to show in Google’s search results? Google’s John Meuller recommends indexing the author page if they are important ranking-related factors. If your website focuses a lot on authority and author credibility, or if your readers actively search for the author’s name, it’s wiser to index the page for its SEO benefits. Otherwise, it’s okay to no-index them.
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