Bloggers & SEO: Let’s Try to Understand Author Rank


Good news for bloggers: Google is rewarding original online content creators with a new tool: Authorship. Because this will effect how our content ranks in the search engine, we want to help you understand it now in order to benefit in the future.

After Erika Miller's awesome IFBcon workshop on SEO, it became clear that we at IFB aren't alone in our obsession with SEO and what it can do for us bloggers. There were more questions in the audience than she had time to answer.

I've written before about how Google can help you generate content ideas, as well as the specific, magical power of keywords when it comes to gaining traffic. Now I want to talk about (or at least try to talk aboutAuthorship and Author Rank. It's new, it's powerful and it's important to understand if you want to give your content it's best shot at being discovered online in the near future.

What is Authorship and Author Rank?


Let's start with this little tid-bit to consider: Google is now starting to use Google+ as a major factor in how search results are ranked. Say what you want about how ethical it is for the the world's most widely used search engine to be using it's own products to influence search results, but the point is – it's happening. This is called Authorship. It “gives us [the content producers] a set of methods to make a verified connection between our original content anywhere on the web and our Google+ profile.”

Google is now starting to use Google+ as a major factor in how search results are ranked.

Author Rank means that Google is using Google+ profiles to identify individual authors (that's you), and this information has an impact on how your content ranks in Google search. Crazy, right? Many of us are probably barely paying attention to our Google+ accounts these days, but now it's time to start!

What you need to do:

1. Sign up Google Authorship and learn more about it here.

2. You'll need to add the sites where you have authorship to the “Contributor to” portion of your G+ profile. Add the name and URL of your blog (and Tumblr too, if you have one), and make this information public. (That's important!) This is how Google will know you are associated with these sites.

What does Author Rank mean for bloggers?


Okay so, now what? There's been little solid, verified confirmation that Google Author Rank is currently being used, but in a snippet from his upcoming book, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said this:

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

So, whether we like it or not – we can likely expect Authorship and Author Rank to start affecting our search rankings in the (probably near) future. The goal is to help more high-quality, trustworthy content get discovered, and that's a good thing – since we are producing just that. Your Google+ profile is how the search engine will verify that you are a trusted creator of original online content.

The goal is to help more high-quality, trustworthy content get discovered, and that's a good thing – since we are producing just that. Your Google+ profile is how the search engine will verify that you are a trusted creator of original online content.

I've been doing a lot of reading, and I won't lie, this stuff can be a bit confusing. I'm going to explain to the best of my understanding what Author Rank could do: Potentially, if you are verified as a contributor to a site through Google+, and posting on Google+ or your blog about personal style, and someone else who also posts about personal style recommends or shares your content, both of these things can positively influence your rankings within Google.

Linking your Google+ profile to your blog may not immediately influence your rank within Google, but according to all the sources I looked into, it's going to matter – soon.

Lastly, keep in mind this is by no means an exhaustive explination of Authorship and Author Rank, but an introduction. Much of what we know about how search engines rank content is speculative, so we can only do our best to understand and work with what we have!

For more on IFB:

Elsewhere (my sources):

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7 Responses

  1. Swati @ The Creative Bent

    You are right Taylor, google+ is an easily neglected social media platform, and at least for me here. But since now you point it out, I think it is time delve deeper into the reference links. In fact, the other day on somebody’s g+ profile I did notice the “contributor to” but did not pay attention. Now I know it must be or become important. Thanks a tonne ! 🙂

  2. Lilly Rose

    Hi Taylor,

    thanks for this great article! I am convinced that this will ripple in shock waves through the fashion blogger scene. Why? I spent time thinking this through and I identified the backside (for some bloggers):

    As the (blog) content will be ranked by the posted articles, we will see a steep rise of SEO traffic and awareness towards the bloggers, who are talented for writing and discussing in their articles. Top!

    Who looses? It is all those bloggers that rely soley on photography and who are too “cool”(?) to write more than three words under their photos. Sorry, Google is rewarding text content, not photo content. #Will this be the fall for some of the most popular style blogs out there?#

    I am sure this will pave the way for new stars in the blogging-scene, and also for more quality content articles. Thanks for sharing! I highly enjoy to follow IFBs posts and I am (ok, still a bit shocked), but also excited to see how we will change and evolve with the internet and its main influencers (Google).

    Have a great Friday! What are you thinking about this statement?

    Lilly Rose

    Twitter: @LillysTweets
    Instagram: @oceanprincess

  3. hope

    Thanks for the great insight.
    I think it would be logical for google to include the google + since there are any other factors to include left to rank pages.

  4. Nadya Helena

    Google+ is my most neglected social media site, and the steps of verifying the authorship doesn’t help either. But I have to agree with you that if Google says it’s going to happen, then it’s going to happen, and we better get prepared. We bloggers are nothing without our posts and authoring skills anyway so heads up! Thanks a lot for the info.
    By the way, there’s also a rumor going on that when Google finally uses the Author Rank into play, guest posting for backlinks (or placing unnatural links in the post) will hurt our rank instead. So we’ll have to be more careful about it.


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