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Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority

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Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority Keith Loris 11/1/13 5:57 AM
I am a freelance writer for 5 diff companies who posts on each of their blogs multiple times per month. I also write appropriate posts/comments for them on other germane-to-their-business blogs, social media, forums, comment sections, etc.

Essentially, I am ghostwriting as a subject matter expert for them across the web (after I've received a lot of training from them).

If I were to use my name as the Author, Google will associate 5 quite distinct sets of content (with legit value & expertise within each) with me. In aggregate, however, I fear it'll come across to Google as a jumbled mess and the 5 diff sets of expertise will dilute or cancel each other out (e.g. flowers, sign manufacturing, public speaking, auto repair and dentistry don't have a lot in common).

Would it be better therefore to use a diff pen name for each client when blogging, guest posting, etc.? This way, all my flower author authority would flow only to the floral author, the car repair authority to the car repair author, etc and there wouldn't be any confusion/cancellation between them.

I am willing, btw, to use my same photo in each G+ profile because I understand Google wants a human to be involved and I am the same, single person doing all 5 sets of content. I am not trying to hide the fact that I'm doing the writing, it just seems unreasonable for Google to assume that authors only work for one client, or have only one kind of expertise, at a time.

Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority barryhunter 11/1/13 11:51 AM


On Friday, 1 November 2013 12:57:53 UTC, Keith Loris wrote:
 it just seems unreasonable for Google to assume that authors only work for one client, or have only one kind of expertise, at a time.

Do you have any evidence that they actually do that? 


Unless you have concrete reason to goto the trouble of setting up seperate profiles, seems more sensible and do the honest - true to reality - thing and use your one profile against everything you write. 

 
Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority black belt 11/1/13 4:32 PM
Keith... not to bust on you but it seems like you're afraid that Google might see you for the truth. I think you realize that as you allude to in the end. But here you're worried about how an "expert" is qualified by Google and don't seem to reconcile how it's no different than the way humans will perceive you.  I can probably write on 20 different subjects, easily. It doesn't mean that I am an "expert" on any of them. At the same time you might write 500 articles of drivel on one subject and that doesn't make you an expert (although it can qualify you to be a blogger.) 

Try to explain how you're coming to your definition of what an "expert" is as defined by Google. If it's writing on a single topic, that doesn't strike me as good enough. In addition, explain why the average person seeing you write on five different topics would appear or on just one topic repeatedly with no qualifications but your own say so. This is just to think through the issue.
Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority Keith Loris 11/2/13 11:16 AM
In response to both barryhunter & black belt:


>how you're coming to your definition of what an "expert" is as defined by Google
The heart of my issue really has to do with the fact that Google has NOT defined what it means by expertise and my post was posing a real-world scenario that I was hoping Google would respond to.


>you're worried about how an "expert" is qualified by Google and don't seem to reconcile how it's no different than the way humans will perceive you
I know people tend to anthropomorphize Google but Google is not a person, it's a set of computer algorithms and how these algorithms define expertise is guaranteed to NOT be the way humans do it (so appeals to whether a person would recognize me as an expert are besides the point).


>Do you have any evidence that they actually do that?
There's next to nothing that I've been able to find online about what Google means by expertise, so no, I have no evidence for my assumptions .... but again, that's kinda why I wrote this post: I want more specifics from Google as to how they're going to use expertise to increase the authority of authors.  Btw, I've worked in AI and natural language understanding for years and I can make some reasonable assumptions about simplifications their programmers might make in a 0.9 release.

I understand and agree that this drive to authorship and expertise is a good thing, but many businesses' livelihoods depend on understanding and optimizing for Google's algorithms and I feel Google is obligated to better explain how its algorithmic changes will play out in the real world.  This is what the scenario in my post was attempting to do.
Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority black belt 11/2/13 11:52 AM
I'm guessing that Google's algorithm determines expertise via a variety of methods including legitimate backlinks to your articles and perhaps activity on your profile that might correspond to you being an "expert" or thought leader on a particular subject. Example case - blogger writes 500 articles on dieting and fitness. Has a handful of backlinks, all from lousy directories and in articles Google has identified as "probably placed by or on behalf of the so-called expert." Then there is a dietician with 50 articles, 20 of which are cited by several other health sites with backlinks, 20 of which have a great deal of social activity occurring and from profiles they have determined are legitimate and active. Who would you think is more "authoritative" in this scenario?

I'm not and cannot say what formula Google uses. They have determined that, from their experience, most "authoritative experts" will generate some type of profile. You want the secret formula to be spelled out - why? Most people focus on trying to artificially generate those qualifications rather than focusing on putting out the meat that makes them an expert and the right execution so that all of those other elements and social activities fall into place. Let's look at what you're trying to do --- if you want to write on 5-7 totally different topics then, inherently, you'll be the master of none - just informative. But perhaps you hope to boost that up by knowing what the criteria for being an expert are by using artificial means. Best -- pick 1 or 2 or at most 3 topics to focus and become an "expert" or you'll never be a true expert.
Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority Keith Loris 11/2/13 12:42 PM
I am not trying to reverse engineer their algorithm for black hat seo purposes. I am raising what I think is a legitimate question about how the real world--where not everyone has a full time job writing for one client--operates. I have long term contracts with 5 clients and I do believe I am writing useful info about flowers and signage for their business audiences on the web (I am not writing for the academy or scientific worlds). I certainly can competently write on more than one thing at at a time and provide useful info to these intended audiences and I would hope I'd build up expertise in Google's eyes on these subjects when I do this ... so, as my original post asked, what happens when the expertise is diverse and distinct?

>Let's look at what you're trying to do --- if you want to write on 5-7 totally different topics then, inherently, you'll be the master of none - just informative ... pick 1 or 2 or at most 3 topics to focus and become an "expert" or you'll never be a true expert.
If your your definition of expertise requires an advanced degree, I'd agree I'm not writing at that level.  But my audiences would be bored with that level of detail but that doesn't mean I'm not imparting useful knowledge to them. Do you have to be writing at the graduate level to be an expert; bachelor's, high school? 

This exchange, in fact, kind of makes my point: you and I dont agree on what expertise means, so we need the referee to step in and explain the rules. Are you there Google?

Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority black belt 11/2/13 1:07 PM
On Saturday, November 2, 2013 3:42:46 PM UTC-4, Keith Loris wrote:
I am not trying to reverse engineer their algorithm for black hat seo purposes. I am raising what I think is a legitimate question about how the real world--where not everyone has a full time job writing for one client--operates. I have long term contracts with 5 clients and I do believe I am writing useful info about flowers and signage for their business audiences on the web (I am not writing for the academy or scientific worlds). I certainly can competently write on more than one thing at at a time and provide useful info to these intended audiences and I would hope I'd build up expertise in Google's eyes on these subjects when I do this ... so, as my original post asked, what happens when the expertise is diverse and distinct?

I'll try once more. The real world consists of people who do have a primary focus of concentration, e.g. their profession. Those people would be experts in their field. Your clients might be the experts in their field, e.g. the actual florist who has run a flower shop for 10 years and has a ghost writer who writers some general content for him about the profession.

Your primary concentration and expertise is as a writer of articles who can effectively community with words in order to reach the common reader. You can write articles about how to perform in that manner effectively and there are many who are experts in their profession but truly mediocre when it comes to writing and communicating their thoughts effectively in an article. This is what you do well. The fact that you can write 20 useful articles on brain surgery that you've read elsewhere or as explained by a brain surgeon does not make you an expert on brain surgery in the eyes of any regular person. Nor should Google treat you differently simply because you've raised the volume but not exhibited virtuosity in the composition.
 
If your your definition of expertise requires an advanced degree, I'd agree I'm not writing at that level.  But my audiences would be bored with that level of detail but that doesn't mean I'm not imparting useful knowledge to them. Do you have to be writing at the graduate level to be an expert; bachelor's, high school? 
This exchange, in fact, kind of makes my point: you and I dont agree on what expertise means, so we need the referee to step in and explain the rules. Are you there Google?

I think you really need to read how the search engine works because I'm unaware of any "expert" system that you're referring to specifically. Maybe I'm mistaken - point me to it. Good websites are  "experts" in their respective niches. The rules of the algorithm apply and I am unaware of Google having any specific program where "experts" are given some special reward when they grace the web with an average website and an article every blue moon that passes by like falling leaves. 

Facts About Google and the Competition - http://www.google.com/competition/howgooglesearchworks.html
Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority Grace Massa Langlois 11/4/13 6:48 PM
Good Evening,

Keith are you referring to the subject of Author Rank? If yes you may find some useful information in the Google Authorship & Author Rank Community on Google+. Perform a search with query author rank and it should return quite a few posts. 

Mark Traphagen has written a few posts on the subject at Virante (posts should pop up when you search community) but this one in particular is definitely worth a read, Google Authorship Update: Where Is Google Going with rel=author? (Google Authorship Update section). 


AJ Kohn also wrote a great article, Build Your Authority Not Your Author Rank

I hope these informative posts will provide some guidance.

Grace
Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority black belt 11/4/13 7:32 PM
Grace, the problem with your blog is that it's far too delicious. I can smell it each time I take that trip from NY to Toronto. And how did it get that way? Your bio suggests you had a fortunate career which led you to continue to hone what would appear to be  a lifelong source of enjoyment.

Unfortunately, many who come here ask the same questions - how can I be #1 without expending too much effort? What diet pill will help me lose weight quickly without much exercise?

While the articles are good, I am not sure they directly address the OP's question, who wants to know specific criteria for someone being considered an "expert" in a particular subject. I don't really see any of them nailing down what I think the authors deem as obvious -- you're not going to be considered an expert unless you develop a very specific skill set and show examples of your high proficiency. What that is will depend upon the profession or subject matter. But in none of them would it even be assumed that the criteria is "write 2 or 3 good blog posts of 450 words or more per week."

In the age of the Internet it is staggering how many people overlook and then will fight against accepting  the fact that top rewards will almost always require top efforts be expended.
Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority Keith Loris 11/5/13 6:04 AM
Thank you very much Grace! I will definitely check them out and let you know.
Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority Grace Massa Langlois 11/5/13 8:37 AM
Good Morning blackbelt,


You'll have to make a small detour to London on your next trip for a taste! It's funny how things happen in life, I spent so many years nurturing a career that I loved and mapping out my life journey and I never once thought my path would take me to where I am right now. 


After the accident not being able to return to my career was let's say one of the most difficult things for me to come to terms with, actually took me years and a little push from my kids to move into the direction I am now (to be honest I didn't realize this was going to be a new path). I've always loved to cook and entertain (and it was the one thing I could do at my own pace - physical limitations) but when it came to sweets I couldn't even bake a batch of cookies but I was eager to learn. I dove in head first and dedicated hours, days, months, which then turned into years learning techniques and the basics. 


When my publisher first contacted me let's just say I was more than a little stunned. It's ironic you're asking me this question when Keith is asking his because I believe both you and barryhunter are right in what you're saying. When I first started blogging I didn't realize it was so involved and there was so much to learn, I wanted to make extra special sweet treats I didn't know the first thing about managing a site (after much research and almost 4 years later I still have so much to learn). At times the pull to my previous career had me thinking I could write on that subject too (my years of dedication wouldn't be lost) but I've always stopped myself from doing that because for one, they are vastly different subject matters and two, things change so quickly and I'm no longer in the trenches to flow with the changes. I was respected as an authority in my field but it wasn't only because I was well trained in the subject area it was also because I made many connections and built relationships and through these connections and relationships and a finely tweaked sales process (consistently fine tuned) I became successful. Through connections word starts to spread about your expertise and before you know it people are reaching out looking for guidance. The same happens in the online world, usually in the form of a link or social signal. I dedicated all my time into becoming an authority in the field. Do I think I would've become a respected authority if I divided my time, absolutely not.  


I could be wrong but I think Keith may be asking this question because there's been so much talk about Author Rank. Unfortunately some writers jumped on the Author Rank bandwagon and have led some to believe that Author Rank is live and that Google is determining rank through authorship. I pointed out certain individuals because I believe they are trusted authorities on this subject matter. I was hoping that the articles would show that Google hasn't gone down this road yet and for this type of author rank to be in place more users would have to adopt Google authorship. 


What we do know for sure (as barryhunter has mentioned) is that Google wants to feature real people because it's all about adding credibility for the searcher. Google authorship isn't merely attaching a name to a profile and making a connection from site to profile. They are encouraging authors to complete profiles (information is pulled from many areas within the profile, occupation, employment etc), and while completing these fields are not mandatory they do add a degree of credibility to the author, which in turn can help build your reputation as an authority in your area of expertise. As you've mentioned Google is also looking to see how people are interacting with the author and the content they present. Are users sharing their content, linking to it, are they referencing the author name? Managing one profile and becoming respected as an authority in one subject matter is difficult enough trying to manage five profiles effectively and becoming an authority in each in my opinion is impossible. 


I think one point that Mark made is the closest thing to an answer Keith is going to get at this point in time:


Concentrate on your areas of expertise. While you should not hesitate to create whatever content you like, you will want to make sure that you are regularly creating content that demonstrates your expertise and value in your main topic areas. In conjunction with that you need to be building up influential social networks and relationships that will help get that content exposed, recommended, reshared, linked to, and engaged with. All of those will become valuable signals that will build up your Author Rank subject authority. 


In my opinion for someone to be considered an authority in more than one subject matter it would take an incredible amount of work and dedication and even then I'm not sure it's possible. I feel it's no different than having five websites that concentrate on five different subject matters, you'll need to build each site with good, unique content that can't be found elsewhere. Following Google's quality guidelines starting with one profile is a must. It would also be necessary to build relationships with other authorities in each subject area and those other authorities would have to endorse the author by linking to the author's content, sharing your content, by referencing the author in articles etc. 


Grace



Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority Keith Loris 12/9/13 7:58 AM
Grace, thank you so much for your thoughtful replies (and sorry for my tardy one)!  The links you shared were very informative and helpful.

I appreciate your trying to boil it all down to "Concentrate on your areas of expertise" but unfortunately, in the real business world that I live in, this is just too general to be useful.  I'll repeat what I started with: freelancers by definition write on diff areas of expertise and if they have a long term gig writing for a business audience (ie, blogging), they would be considered experts by most of those readers and Google too I think. 

The issue I asked about is still unresolved (and might be forever unless Google chooses to answer): will multiple, different sets of expertise dilute or cancel each other out or will the authority in each area be treated separately?

As I said above, it seems unreasonable for Google to assume that authors only work for one client, or have only one kind of expertise, at a time ... Sheldon Cooper is both a physicist & gamer and he probably blogs about both ;)

Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority Grace Massa Langlois 12/9/13 1:24 PM
Hi Keith,

I'm so glad you updated this thread because shortly after you started the thread the conversation came up again in the Google Author Rank community and I couldn't locate this thread to let you know, now I'm going to have to hunt down the thread in the community. Please give me a little time, as soon as I find it, I'll update this thread.

Grace
Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority Grace Massa Langlois 12/9/13 4:22 PM
Hi Keith


We don't know for certain how Google will evaluate author-subject authority, but if we go by the agent rank patents, the system would be able to score you differently on different subjects. So your writing on plumbing would have a different score from your writing on SEO, and one wouldn't necessarily affect the other. The patents recognize that few human being write about only one topic, and that it is possible to be more of an authority in one topic than another.

and then

In any event, I would say be sure to post more in the topic areas about which you most want to be known as an authority.

I think it's best to have one profile and to link to the sites you write for in the Contributor to section and let Google determine your authority in each subject (that is if author rank ever comes into play).

Grace


Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority Keith Loris 12/15/13 10:42 AM
>
I think it's best to have one profile and to link to the sites you write for in the Contributor to section and let Google determine your authority in each subject (that is if author rank ever comes into play).

Thanks Grace, this is pretty much what we've decided to do.  And thanks for tracking down that reference too!
Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority JohnMu 12/15/13 3:25 PM
I wouldn't worry about the technicalities - how much you can write about how many topics - and instead just make sure that the content which you're creating is really of the highest quality possible. This isn't something you should do for search engines, it's really something you're probably already doing. You almost certainly know yourself where the content that you're creating is thin, and where it's really significant, unique, high-quality and compelling to users. The awesome stuff is what you should be aiming for -- and from my point of view, you should be doing that independent of any algorithms (real or not). 

Cheers
John
Re: Freelancer concerned writing for multiple clients will cancel or dilute Authorship authority Durant Imboden 12/16/13 7:42 AM
WikiAnswers and Wikihow must have missed the message. :-)