By Kaitie Frank
10 Jan 2024

Google Doesn’t Check Bylines, According to Google Liason


In an X thread on January 8, 2024, Google Liason Danny Sullivan announced that Google doesn’t check credentials, or bylines, on content. 


This thread was in response to an article published by a news publication that stated,

“We’re not sure if readers even bother to check out our credentials — but we know Google does.” Sullivan did not out the publication but posted a screenshot of the claim.

This assumes that author bylines can help boost a website’s rankings in Google Search — an assumption many other websites have taken to heart and content strategies.

Sullivan goes on to state:

“Author bylines aren't something you do for Google, and they don't help you rank better. They're something you do for your readers -- and publications doing them may exhibit the type of other characteristics our ranking systems find align with useful content.”

Here, we can see that bylines alone are not a ranking factor, but publications that use them tend to exhibit other characteristics of useful content that satisfy Google. It’s safe to say that bylines will not rank your website independently. However, bylines accompanying helpful content, a trustworthy site, and other factors are a recipe for success. 

So, how should SEOs treat bylines?

We should treat bylines as a reader benefit, helping searchers understand context and authorship to determine the content’s trustworthiness. However, it’s important to note that quality content can rank without a byline. 

Sullivan also offers advice on how to be successful on Google by sharing a screenshot from Shelby Blackly,  SEO editor at The Athletic:

“This is excellent advice from @shelbyblackley and aligns with anyone thinking about success with Google. Focus on having outstanding content. That's the foundation of success.”


Excerpt from Shelby Blackly of The Athletic, addressing how the publication treats journalistic content.

It’s also important to fact-check advice from Google itself, as information can be wildly interpreted and easily misconstrued. In response, Google is working on updating its documentation to help clarify ranking factors. 

Kaitie Frank

Kaitie is a copywriter and content writer for Page One Power who specializes in SEO-optimized content. She has written for various niches and prides herself in knowing random tidbits of information. In addition to putting words to paper, she indulges in physical fitness and telling her cat why he is, in fact, a good boy.