Google web spam head, Matt Cutts talks about Google authority & popularity in his latest video. Here’s the question he has taken up this time:
As Google continues to add social signals to algorithm, how do you separate simple popularity from true authority?
What Matt tells about popularity vs. authority on Google?
It is frustrating that PageRank is considered as a measure of popularity which is not true at all. Popularity, reputation & authority can be separated but when it comes to how Google algorithm matches queries with your site then it can be assumed this way:
If it’s the topical version of PageRank you can see how many of your links are talking about a search query. If there are many links then you are topical (of immediate relevance) & considered as an authority for that particular query.
Also Read: Google Update Predictions for 2014
What the video tells about new Algorithmic changes?
Matt says “We actually have some algorithmic changes that try to figure out, ‘Hey, this site is a better match for something like a medical query’, and I’m looking forward to those rolling out, because a lot of people have worked hard so that you don’t just say, ‘Hey, this is a well-known site, therefore it should match for this query’. It’s ‘this is a site that actually has some evidence that it should rank for something related to medical queries,’ and that’s something where we can improve the quality of the algorithms even more”.
Do you come under Google authority websites?
Yes, certainly if your site cover the topics being searched. It looks like Google is shifting focus to topics for deciding true authority of a site. Matt has been talking about the value of topics earlier too, especially when it is a guest blog and this time too he has stressed on topics relevance for site authority.
Crux of the Video
Popularity & authority have nothing to do with each other when it comes to Google search algorithm. Porn sites being most popular and Gov. Sites still being more authoritative than them truly explains this, as quoted by Matt too. So, being popular within a topic & being authoritative within a topic are two different things. Google has a way to separate both & is working on making its algorithm better for showing sites that match with search queries.