Blog Authors & SEO: How to Navigate Ghostwriting

Business owners are busy people. They typically know they need to consistently blog, but they don’t have the time, energy, or the specialized skills to do that. On top of writing alone, you also have to worry about optimizing the content for search engines to prioritize.

At this point, you’re ready to hire writers (or you already have). But how should you navigate choosing to taking advantage of ghostwriting, versus keeping the writer’s name as the author? This blog will help you decide when to use your name or the author’s name to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).

Firstly, what is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) helps search engines, like Google, deliver the highest-quality content to the users. Google is looking for certain aspects of your website and content that makes it more valuable to users. A simple example is: If your website isn’t speedy, your SEO score will suffer.

SEO is a competition. Plenty of other businesses are writing similar content to yours. For example, think of a blog article topic. Next, look it up into Google. See how many results there are? The blogs that are showing up at the top are strategically optimized for SEO.

The competition for those first spots are fierce, but when you land them, you’ll get the most traffic. For example, that first five organic results (not an ad) get 67.60% of all clicks. That number steadily drops as you keep going through the results. Shockingly, 91% of all pages never get any organic traffic from Google.

When you’re creating content, you want people to find it (without you continuously promoting it on your channels). When people are clicking on and reading your blog posts, you build trust with your audience, credibility, and brand awareness.

Why the author’s name matters in SEO

Google uses over 200 ranking factors in their algorithm to determine whether posts will be seen by searchers, or not. One of the most important ranking factors is author reputation. It’s what’s known as E-A-T:

  • E: Expertise
  • A: Authoritativeness
  • T: Trustworthiness

EAT ensures Google is providing accurate, truthful, and useful information. Author credibility is especially important for pages that fall under the YMYL category. YMYL stands for “your money or your life.” This includes topics that impact the finances, health, safety, and happiness of readers. When you have content that falls under YMYL, having an expert author is especially important.

Even if your topics don’t fall under YMYL, it’s still important to have credible authors.

Here’s the key: Include an author that is credible, knowledgeable, and has experience writing about the topic of the blog post. Google should have evidence that the author has previously written about the topic. Does it matter if they really wrote it? No.

What is ghostwriting?

Ghostwriting helps when you don’t have time to write, but still want your blog to be active with posts under your name. With ghostwriting, you’ll pay a writer to complete the process for you, and you’ll put your own name on the article.

Ghostwriting isn’t a new phenomenon. Many writers create high-quality blog posts for other people who can’t or won’t write blog post themselves. In summary, ghostwriting is a piece of writing created by someone else. Many companies pay writers to produce content for their blogs, yet they still put their CEO’s name in the byline.

Keep in mind: Your writers may have a preference

Some writers require that their name is on the byline of the posts they write. Can you blame them? It’s the key to establishing their brand and credibility as a writer. Plus, they can use those articles easily in their portfolio. Also, it just gives them credit for their work, which is important to a lot of writers.

In contrast, other writers don’t care at all. In my case, many of my clients have me produce ghostwritten content. And that’s fine by me. (Then again, I’m producing my own blogs on my own website to establish credibility in Google. So more bylines aren’t a priority for me.)

I’ve also seen other cases where writers didn’t want to put their name in the byline. They wanted to take on the project, but not get the credit.

The bottom line is: Every writer is different. Make sure you’re clear about whether the content will be ghostwritten, and include a clear clause in your contracts. By communicating, you can find writers that are perfectly fine with your decision—whatever it is.

When to choose ghostwriting

Choose ghostwriting if you’re not prepared to find writers that already have bylines in the topics of your blog posts. If you’re going to hire a team of writers that aren’t subject matter experts (SEMs), then it’s better to put ALL the posts under one or a few main names on your blog. For example, the CEO or the content marketing manager. That will build your credibility within Google, and you can continue hiring out ghostwriters.

Ultimately, your SEO will benefit. Growing your credibility will take time, but it’s worth it.

Also, if you or your content marketing leads already have credibility within Google, then choose to publish content under your names.

When to choose keeping the real writer’s name

It’s simple: Choose the writer’s name if they are an expert in that topic (and Google knows it).

How to establish Google credibility

1. Continue to build content in relevant topics

Build high-quality content in the topics you want to be deemed as credible in. Make sure your name is on all the pieces you’re writing.

2. Have an author bio and page

Every author needs an bio. You can even create a more detailed page that the bio links out to. Make sure that your author bio details all your education, credentials, job history, and relevant links.

SEO matters, and so does who wrote the article—especially if you’re writing about topics that impact the reader’s money or life.

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