What Is Author Rank And How To Improve It

Google Authorship
Google Authorship

Author Rank is a buzz word these days in blogging. Everybody is talking that if you want to increase your rankings in SERPs than you need to increase your author rank.

But what is author rank, does it really exists or its just a myth?

What is Author Rank

Author Rank is a term which come into blogging world because of a patent from Google. They got a patent for a method of recognizing author of a content and using the authority of the author in determining the quality of the content.

Here is what Google said in the patent:

The present invention provides methods and apparatus, including computer program products, implementing techniques for searching and ranking linked information sources.

The techniques include receiving multiple content items from a corpus of content items; receiving digital signatures each made by one of multiple agents, each digital signature associating one of the agents with one or more of the content items; and assigning a score to a first agent of the multiple agents, wherein the score is based upon the content items associated with the first agent by the digital signatures.

If you want more details on this patent, you can check at the Google Patent Information Page.

The patent is aimed to recognized agents (Authors) and linked their digital content to the agents. They have also mentioned a computerized method of assigning a reputation score and using that score to rank that digital content.

This patent has already been granted and we have not seen explicit mention of it from that time onwards. But there are enough indication that it is going to be a big contributor in your SERP’s success.

There are other patents which has been aimed for that reputation score and these mentioned the social signal from the author to determine the rank.

Google’s way of introducing Google Authorship program is first step towards this. It is aimed to link author to their content so that it can be used to define relavency.

Google Authorship Program

Google Authorship is a method for claiming the ownership of the digital content. It can be on your blog or any other blog, it will be linked to your id.

This is a first step in terms of establishing a linkage between content and the author. If you have not implemented it till now, its high time to do that…

Once your authorship is approved, you will receive an email from Google mentioning your authorship.

Google Authorship For Author Rank
Google Authorship For Author Rank

How To Implement Google Authorship

There are two methods by which you can claim your authorship. I prefer linking the Google+ profile to the webpage.

There are two steps in claiming the authorship:

  1. You Need to create a link from your Google+ profile to your website. You can include the contributor to tag and create a custom link to the site.
  2. Your webpage also needs to link your Google+ profile with the rel=author tag. You can include that tag in byline.

You can check this page for the detail instruction for Google Authorship.

This is where paid themes are great, I am using Genesis Framework on Makewebworld and it does all the work automatically. You can enter the Google+ profile url in the user profile and it will start displaying the by line with the author tag.

Penguin 2.0 and Author Rank

Penguin 2.0 is another step towards the Author Rank, Matt has already mentioned that they are trying to recognize authority in a niche and will give preference to their results.

Its not that if you have authority, your low quality article will start ranking but if you have a quality article and authority in the niche, it will rank easily.

Penguin 2.0 has bring some updates towards that, it is still not here but the work is going on to move the Author Rank.

Factors affecting your Author Rank

If we study the patent informations, there are signals which google has mentioned in calculating the Author reputation. Here are few of them:

  • Social Media signals
  • Digital Content Rankings
  • Mentions from other Authors.
  • Niche Analysis
  • Microformats

The reputational scores of two or more agents can be compared, and the agent having the higher reputational score can be considered to be more authoritative.

Social Media Signals

It will determine a score based on the social activities of your accounts. Currently Google+ is a major contributor to this factor but it is meant to be including other social networks also.

There are certain activities which will be captured and its not only a matter of receiving +1 on your posts. The patent include things like, number of mentioned received by authors, number of times author mentioned other users, number of unique users mentioned by the author.

So this is targeted to capture communications rather than just the self promotion. You need to be active and able to contribute to the success of others and others should be doing the same.

Promote the article which you like on social networks rather than just your own articles. Also it looks for active followers rather than just the number of followers, so it will track the engagement of the users.

Digital Content Rankings

This is another sign which will indicate that how much content you have on the same topic and what are the rank for those.

Your earlier ranking and engagement on the same topic will give an indication that your new content is how much useful.

The patents talks about doing the analysis of past content and finding how relevant were they to the topic or keyword. Also how engaging they were for the users.

This brings the high quality article concept, it is to check the users are getting what they are looking for. If they do not find your article relevant, you may not be considered authority for that term.

This is where Content Analysis software like Scribe can help, they can give you a site score for a specific keyword and let you know if you have enough content on the similar keyword. It is a complete package to manage your Author Rank and provide you all options within the dashboard.

The other things which is giving social signal is hashtags, it can help users find what the post is all about. You should be using them and Google mentioned in a patent on using them to determine relevancy.

Mentions From Other Authors

This is more or less the link building but it talks about others linking your content. This is also how other Authors are discussing about your content and sharing it with their following.

Not all mentions contain the same weight, Authors with higher ranking than yours will pass more juice. This is the same way as they treat the links today but it will include more activities.

Niche Analysis

One important term which is mentioned in the patent is self similarity score. A score which determine how similar your current post to your previous post.

Google is looking to get an indication that the user will find more relevant information on your blog and will have to search less once they arrive on your blog.


Microformats are a good way to provide information to the users. Your blog should be taking advantage of the available microformats and provide information which can make search results more focused.

Users should be able to select the correct link from the search results and microformats and data highlighter are few of those methods.

So these are some of the signals which Google might be looking for once they will implement Author Rank. There are still some time left before it will become reality, so its a good time to start taking action and improve your Author Rank (before it goes live).

Let me what are you doing to improve your Author Rank?


  1. Google for sometime now have moved to favor author ranking and this way contents can be graded and ranked on search engines, Authors will be ranked based on their content quality and probably number of contents of course, i hope to see how this can help improve search engine rankings.

  2. For some reasons, my authorship is not showing on google!
    I have been trying to do everything to make it appear just like every other one.
    And i must agree, authorship is one way to get noticed in google and it can even increase your traffic.

  3. Inspiring article — good actions steps. I’ve been using Google+, but haven’t been consistent with it. Another task for my daily To Do this. Thanks for this.

  4. I am using the Google Author stuff at my site, but I am a quite new author so just launched my first website. Hope however that in the future I will manage to get more authority to my author profile and user. Your article was interesting, because until now I have always just though of the social media signals when it comes to author rank, and never about being mentioned by others etc.. Thanks for the article!

    • Hi Christine, I know most people think that author rank is only about getting more share to their posts but its not true…Google is looking for conversations and engagement rather than the shares….

  5. I think that author rank is an awesome idea implemented in the blogging niche. However, does it actually increase your SERP ranking? Don`t know much about that. Thank you for the awesome post.

    • At this point of time Author Rank is not affecting SERP rankings. Google is doing some experiment with it and one of the ways is showing author image in SERP.
      Looks like they are starting with another experiment and will start providing extra results in SERP based on author authority in a niche. This is going to start in US first and based on the result it will start in other region…So we have some time to setup the Author profile and improve Author rank before it will start impacting SERP’s ranking..

  6. I personal use the AuthoirShip, And I think it is so useful for my website and also for my blog.Thanks for the share. Google will never stop innovation 😉

  7. A very informative share. Author rank is such a broad concept and this post has thrown light on each and every aspect of author rank. Till date I was just aware with the basic details about author rank, but with this post, I have gained a substantial knowledge of the same. Thanks for the share.

  8. Hey Sanjeev
    Thanks for sharing this well described post. I always love to read which give all the needed information. and this post is of that kind. This post is helped me to enhance my knowledge.

  9. You mentioned lots of authorship but among these I think Google Authorship is very important. Google Authorship tells that you are genuine owner of the site. But still I don’t see any effect in the search engine

    • Yes Ahsan, Google Authorship is an important step….You can check the results in Google Webmaster if it is creating any change in CTR but other than that there is nothing in the search engine results at this point of time…it will be there in future…

  10. Thanks for the very detailed analysis of AuthorRank. Although there is no clear signal that it has affected search engine rankings, it will surely have a big impact in the near future.

    • Yes, till now there is no clear signal that it has affected search engine ranking but with the authorship markups and other changes, it will surely become a big contributor in the near future…

  11. Hi Sanjeev, nice article and you are right author rank is going to be so important going forward. Anyone who is not on google+ and hasn’t yet set up authorship for your blog, should make it their number 1 priority!

    • We have already started seeing author information in the search result and Google has already gaining lot of data for it…We should be in a state to take benefit of that….Google+ and setting up Authorship is a must…

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