How Will Google’s Author Rank Impact SEO?

Author Rank could impact SEO, like dinosaur-ending impact.

Author Rank, Google’s project to help create and maintain identities on the Internet, fascinates my young brain full of SEO. This post is my attempt to sort it out.

Author Rank is a method of discerning an author as an expert in their respective field who creates good contextual content that will influence the ranking of search results through Google Authorship. It wants to rank search results through bringing searchers and Web sites together to create trust and authority. Google applied for its patent five years ago and they’re in the works of rolling it out. It’s not a last-ditch effort to save Google+.

Google Authorship is a method to connect an author’s identity through their Google+ profile to their content on the Internet. It shows the Web page with its author’s face next in the results, which look like this on a search engine results page. Google+ is an identity platform, not so much a social network. Searchers will see your face attached to your content in a context they were looking for. Each time they see your face next to your material is a first impression, the first time extending your hand for warm handshake with a stranger.

I thought Authorship was a cool idea and a method SEOs would likely use in the future when I first became aware of it last summer. It’s right up Google’s alley as it centers on interests people search for, not just friend activity, which other platforms use. I knew it would help create a rapport between searchers and authors, which would directly affect SEO.

Author Writing

Why do I think Author Rank is important?

AJ Kohn writes of its importance best below:

AuthorRank means that your reputation as a content creator will influence the ranking of search results. Not only that but AuthorRank can be used to make the link graph more accurate.

I know this is the way of search but I have some questions about how it will influence SEO and what we’ll do to support our clients.

How will Author Rank affect authorities without Google Authorship?

Authorities like Warren Buffett, Tim Cook and Emeril Lagasse don’t use Google+; they may in the future but how will this affect their Web sites’ rankings? Could Google place authorities like them below authorities with lesser clout who use Authorship in their respective careers? I truly don’t think Google would do this but the possibility is out there now.

How will Author Rank affect the search results of Google and other search engines?

All search engines are at the mercy of finding great content from Web sites. Search engines are like any other form of media outlet: TV networks make good TV shows to attract and maintain viewers, magazines write good articles to attract and maintain readers, search engines create good search results to attract and maintain searchers. An important objective of SEO is to help create and maintain the great content of clients to satisfy them, their customers and search engines.

I think Authorship could be too much, too soon for all of us Internet users at this time. I think this could become an absolute, ironclad essential for clients to stay afloat in the future but we’re not familiar seeing people’s bright and shiny faces on our results pages at the moment, which may be a factor of Google+’s current state of floundering. I think we’ll become more accustomed to seeing authors in our results as more of them use Authorship. Baby steps, indeed.

How will SEOs adapt?


We live in a time of capitalistic transparency – I just came up with that term; maybe this description will help you out. Buyers want to know anything and everything about what and whom they’re buying from. CEOs may know how to run a great company and sell a great product or service but they may know nothing about writing a blog post, commenting and interacting on forums.

Search Marketing’s One Truism To Rule Them All:

Create great content.

I’ve heard this 1,017 times before because it’s been true every one of those times. This applied to mostly companys’ Web presence in the past but I see a potential shift in producing great content in their social media (really, their Google+) presence because of Author Rank. As Google’s on their way to start a commenting platform companies may have to produce great comments, blogs and forums on top of their great content on their Web sites, not to mention their goods and services. I’m wondering where companies will have time for both doing actual business and blogging, commenting and involving themselves in forums.

Overall, I admire Google for bringing about Authorship and Author Rank. It may seem more academic and professional than other forms of social networking because Larry Page and Sergey Brin came up with Google after bad experiences of trying to find resources for research papers at Stanford. I can see the correlation between then and now as they’re both helping out searchers and search engines prune scrapers and black-hat SEOs to provide better results for searchers. I’m just antsy to find out what will become of all of this search marketing goodness.

Here’s what you can get ahead of your competition:

Thanks for reading.

About John Wiehe

Start-up SEO. Mizzou J-school grad. Eagle Scout. Learn more about me at Google+, +John Wiehe.
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