John Mueller: You Don’t Need To Be An Authority To Rank

domain authority

In order to rank in Google’s search results, websites do not necessarily have to establish themselves as authorities.

According to Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller, not all websites need to be recognized as authorities in order to rank well in search results.

During the Google Search Central SEO office hours hangout on December 10, one presenter stated as much.

During a live stream, Ben Barnwell asked Mueller a follow-up question about a statement he made on Reddit about website authority.

Mueller stated it’s hard to call a site authoritative after publishing 30 articles on a particular subject.

Harnish asks whether Google regards single-page websites differently from traditional ones.

As a result, Mueller gives more context to his comment on Reddit, stating that it is not necessary for every website to have to be seen as an authority to rank.

Watch John Mueller’s complete response in the video below:

John Mueller from Google on Website Authority

According to Mueller, it is feasible to produce excellent single-page websites.

He meant that critical, high-level topics need more than 30 pages to be perceived as an authority.

A website can’t be considered to have the same Authority as a doctor simply because it publishes 30 articles about a medical issue.

Mueller states:

“I think you can make good one-page sites. So from that point of view, I’m not too worried about that.

I think the Reddit post, as far as I remember, was something along the lines: ‘I created 30 blog posts, and they’re really good, and therefore my website should be authoritative.’

And from my point of view, you going off and creating 30 blog posts does not automatically make your website authoritative.

And especially for the higher or, the more critical topics, it’s something where you can’t just create 30 blog posts on a medical topic and then say: ‘I am a doctor. I’ve written 30 articles.’ So that was the direction I was headed there.”

John Mueller

It’s not necessary for any website to strive to be an authority. They may still provide articles and have them rank in search results.

A small company selling a product or service is used as an example by John Mueller. Customers do not need to be the most knowledgeable Authority in their field in order to discover a company’s products.

“And for a lot of websites, it’s not that you need to be seen as an authority. You essentially put your content out there. If you’re a small business, you’re selling something. You don’t need to be an authority.

And especially things were like one-page websites they’re often very focused on this one thing, and you don’t need to be an authority to do that one thing.

To sell, I don’t know, an ebook, or to give information about opening hours for a business. It’s like, it’s just information.

So from that point of view, having a one-page website, I think it’s perfectly fine.”

John Mueller

John Mueller says that a one-page website is a good start, but it can always be improved.

Consider how many more pages you may add to the site in the future so it doesn’t get trapped in a rut where new material is constantly added to a single page.

“With regards to starting out with a one-page website, I think that’s fine, but I would think about where do you want to go from there at some point.

Maybe you do want to create more pages and try to find a way that you don’t paint yourself into a corner by saying, well, I have to put everything on one page all the time. But rather expand when you see that it fits.”

John Mueller

So there you have it – you don’t need to be an authority to rank in Google, but Authority is still a valuable asset. You may find that, as your website grows and matures, Authority becomes more important. But there are other factors to consider when it comes to ranking in Google – things like on-page optimization, backlinks, and user experience.


  • Who is John Mueller?

Published on: 2021-12-18
Updated on: 2024-04-22

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Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands is the SEO Director at SEO North, a company that provides Search Engine Optimization services. As an SEO Professional, Isaac has considerable expertise in On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO, which gives him a leg up against the competition.