Revisting the HillTop Algo: AuthorRank Lives!
Yup, I know…what is Hilltop and what do I mean by ‘AuthorRank’ too? Simply put, what I’m going to be talking about in this Canadian SEO blog post is what might be the newly intended value of the patented Hilltop algorithm that Google bought about a decade ago.
First, what’s the Hilltop algo?
It was as Wiki states “…an algorithm used to find documents relevant to a particular keyword topic. Created by Krishna Bharat while he was at Compaq Systems Research Center and George A. Mihăilă at the University of Toronto, it was acquired by Google in February 2003…and Bharet is employed at Google now…are you getting my “drift” on this?
Anyways, when you enter a query or keyword into the Google search engine, the Hilltop algorithm helps to find relevant keywords whose results are more informative about the query or keyword.
The algorithm operates on a special index of expert documents. These are pages that are about a specific topic and have links to many non-affiliated pages on that topic. Pages are defined as non-affiliated if they are authored by people from non-affiliated organizations. Results are ranked based on the match between the query and relevant descriptive text for hyperlinks on expert pages pointing to a given result page. Websites which have backlinks from many of the best expert pages are authorities and are ranked well.
Basically, it looks at the relationship between the “expert” and “authority” pages: an “expert” is a page that links to lots of other relevant documents; an “authority” is a page that has links pointing to it from the “expert” pages. Here they mean pages about a specific topic with links to many non-affiliated pages on that topic. If a website has backlinks from many of the best expert pages it will be an “authority”.
In theory, Google finds “expert” pages and then the pages that they link to would rank well. Pages on sites like Yahoo!, DMOZ, college sites and library sites are usually considered experts….and thats’ what I’m now thinking is somewhat ‘more’ relevant than a decade ago.
It would appear that Google, in the past 10 years has established what is considered the “expert” pages for a host of topics…and while I’ve no idea on the manpower needed to do that, being in the search channel for almost 2 decades has me thinking that the Hilltop algo is both still alive and in fact, with the recent rollout of the AuthorRank ranking algo modifications, that it’s even more important today!
Let me explain….if you consider that the Google tactic of ranking these “expert pages” and “authority pages” that get the linkJuice from same, then what you have is a human-verified set of algo modifications that Google uses in it’s serp rankings. That’s a given…least in my world. Google uses it’s AuthorRank specifically within the in-depth articles system to determine which articles to show in the In-Depth articles section….Matt Cutts says so.
And here’s my thinking….that we should also be expecting Google to be releasing an update where their algorithm takes into account authority of an author and then gives higher rankings to the content written by a more respected and authoritative author….and here’s more on that recently from Barry Schwartz, the noted SEO expert.
What I’m getting at is that in my world, Hilltop has some major input into AuthorRank and I’m testing now to see just how that might become more important to us SEO practitioners and to the whole SMB site owners channel too…and it’s not just me…go here to see what Bruce Clay’s blog has to say about this topic too!Google