Since Google introduced its authorship programme last year, there has been plenty of speculation on how it may affect search rankings in future, and the potential advantage it gives to verified authors. 

The most obvious immediate benefit is that the addition of an author image helps the result to stand out in the SERPs and should therefore lead to a higher click through rate.

In an excellent post on the SEOmoz blog last week, Mike Arneson states his belief that Google is about to implement AuthorRank. 

So, which signals will Google take into account for AuthorRank? 

How to get your authorship verified

In a previous post, I explained the steps you need to take to get your author profile and mugshot in the SERPs. 

There is more detail there, but the simplest way at the moment is to submit your email address to Google. This works if you have an email address on the same domain as your website.

Why you need an authorship profile

If nothing else, though it could be viewed as a sneaky way to force people to use Google+, it does make your posts stand out in the SERPs:

According to Tom Anthony, SEO Consultant at Distilled:

At the higher level, e.g. for Econsultancy, I think there is a lot to be gained from adopting it.

You have well-respected and well-trusted authors, Google already tracks this but adding authorship and verifying these authors will enhance its ability here.

Google can see that you have a range of authors who all have authoritative inbound links (with authorship it can see how many inbound links different authors on your site are getting) and who are all engaged and respected socially. 

At the lower level there is also the benefit that you should see an uptick in CTR for authored posts where the rich snippet is appearing, as well as appearing more in personalised search results.

Which signals will Google factor in? 

Mike Arneson has a few suggestions: 

  • The number of shares and +1s an author’s content attracts. 
  • Engagement levels on Google+. If you’re using G+ casually, like me, perhaps its time to spend more time on the site. 
  • On-site engagement for author’s content i.e. number of comments / interactions on posts. 
  • The number and authority of sites an author’s content has been published on. This is a great argument for more guest blogging. 
  • Reciprocal connections to other high AuthorRank authors.
  • The author’s average PageRank.
  • Number of Google+ circles an author is in. 

What does this mean? 

Mike has a number of very useful tips for building up your AuthorRank ahead of its possible introduction by Google, and these are well worth checking out. 

These include setting up your Google+ profile and verifying your authorship, but also spending more time engaging with people and sharing content on G+, and, of course, creating quality content in the first place? 

What do you think? Is AuthorRank coming soon? If so, what should we be doing to prepare for it?