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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? 

Graham Charlton

Published 24 September, 2012 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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Latz

If you want to implement an authorship profile easily in your WordPress installation you should take a look at Yoast's SEO Plugin (http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/).

almost 4 years ago

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Nick Stamoulis

I'm sure Google will use Google+ as a way to influence AuthorRank but I hope they take into account everything else Mike outlined. I still think Google+ is too new and underutilized by most people to be the best measurement of success. But Google will use whatever data they can get their hands on, so site owners should take advantage of what they can.

almost 4 years ago

James Perrin

James Perrin, Digital Communications Specialist at Feefo

I think you're right in saying that a lot more will be considered than just Google+ activity, otherwise AuthorRank will be easily gamed. I hope something like this will give users much more of a steer on what's authoritative, and who are the most rusted and well-respected authors, which I know is the whole intention. However, if it's only based on a few metrics I fear all sorts of 'authors' will start to rank well for fairly basic or sub-standard information. I really hope I'm wrong though.

almost 4 years ago

Andy Williams

Andy Williams, Digital Marketing Manager at Koozai

Is AuthorRank coming soon? - No, it's already here.

If people are preparing for it then they will already be playing catch up. Sure not a huge number of people are using it at the moment but to still be sat around waiting for it is a huge mistake.

Google doesn't set something live and not use the data it then provides them.

How much of a benefit Authorship will truly provide is yet to be seen but even if it is the smallest improvement it has to be worth doing?

almost 4 years ago

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Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum.co.uk

Andy

> even if it is the smallest improvement it has to be worth doing?

Well, in a business setting ROI should be thought about more carefully than that !
Else everyone would just be rushing trying to do too many things, half of which they should stop doing in favour of others with more bang for the buck.

Oh...that is what most of us are doing anyway ! :<)

almost 4 years ago

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Hannah

Do you have to put the author link on every page of your website, or just the homepage?

almost 4 years ago

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