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Google Author Rank: How It’s Affecting Search Results

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au·thor·ship:ˈôTHərˌSHip/noun noun: authorship; plural noun: authorships

  1. the fact or position of someone’s having written a book or other written work. “an investigation into the authorship of the Gospels”
  2.  the occupation of writing. “he took to authorship”

While it’s emerging as a topic of real interest in SEO, authorship has been around for a while – and we can already see the impact it’s been having on search results. It’s pretty straightforward. Authorship – mainly through Google+ – is intended to reward subject matter experts who have verified profiles, while penalizing anonymous content.


It’s clear that Google is emphasizing the importance of quality content over merely filling landing pages with keywords. By giving content with authorship a higher search rank, they’re ensuring that verified credible information is easier to find.

It’s obvious that Google wants authorship to be seen as a central part of content marketing strategies. For example, blog posts and other online articles are showing up in Google search results with Google+ Authorship displayed front-and-center. Not only does Google display the author’s Google+ photo, but the number of Google+ circles they are part of appears as well, reinforcing that author’s credibility and relevance. These visual cues stand out, leading more users to click on articles with authorship attribution and trust the information read there.

Another benefit for authors using Google+ Authorship is that you can improve user access to the entirety of your web content – not just the particular blog post someone searched for. Clicking on the name of an author with Google+ Authorship displays a search page highlighting all of the content they’ve published in connection with their profile. This gives users a chance to determine the credibility of an author as well as provide an easy way to view more of their content.

But Wait, There’s More – Google Author Rank System

Google has also been developing their Author Rank system for the past several years. Author Rank is essentially a penalty and reward system. While authors using Google+ Authorship are given a higher rank in Google search results, anonymous or unverified writers are not given the same visibility. Since Author Rank debuted (in 2009, then called Agent Rank) the SEO world has wondered how exactly the system operates. From our current understanding, Author Rank appears to be calculated based on two factors:

  • Online presenceThis factor is two-fold, taking into account the quantity of your web content as well as whether you have Google+ Authorship enabled.
  • Quality of content – Your rank is improved if you produce content that’s interesting, relevant, and popular.

The development of Google+ Authorship and Google Author Rank system has been gradual, and the effect that these changes are having on search results is now becoming clear. It’s likely that the importance of Author Rank will increase with the growth of Google+ and as more authors recognize the benefits of authorship. For more information on authorship and how you might be affected, speak to one of our  subject matter experts. Plus, check out our step-by-step guide on how to enroll in Google+ Authorship and get started on being found.

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