Understanding Author Rank and how it Impacts SEO

You may have heard the phrase “author rank” appearing in articles about SEO (search engine optimization). In this ever changing SEO landscape, the focus is on depth of expertise and valuable content. The importance of meta-tags and HTML code that lives behind your website is no longer the key focus of search engines – and it can actually hurt you if you haven’t changed your SEO strategy to reflect the new focus on subject matter expertise. In this article we’ll focus on the final component to a solid SEO strategy these days: author ranking.

What is author rank?

Author rank is a term originally started by Google+ to denote a person who has published content on multiple quality websites. The premise is that if you are truly a subject matter expert on a certain topic, you are asked to write about that topic for high-traffic, high-quality websites. In Google+, you can showcase your subject matter expertise by adding websites to your profile for which you contribute content. This can be found under: Profile, Links.


Remember, that Google will go crawl these website and validate that you have contributed content to them. Make sure you have to have been published within the last 6 months on any of the websites you list to be considered a current contributor.

How author rank works

Your Google+ ID is a long string of numbers associated with your profile. Think of it like your Google Social Security number. This number is associated with all of the content you post – and if you do contribute to several websites, you will want to make sure they are including your Google+ ID in their code (it looks something like: /110412540089011112345).

Most people don’t understand Google+ because it’s not as popular as other social sites like Facebook. You may have to educate the websites where you post content to make sure they include this snippet of code on all of your work:

<rel=”author” link=”your-googlplus-url” />

The author rank impact on SEO

In addition to being more “trustworthy” a source, Google will rank articles authored by experts higher in the search results pages than unknown authors for the same keywords / topics. A side bonus is that the author photo appears with the search results, which tends to produce higher clicks in many usability click tests.


It’s not just Google, either

Not to be outdone, Bing also has partnered with an authority ranking website called Klout. If experts answer questions on Klout, their Bing ranking improves by default. The same principle also applies to Yahoo! If an author contributes to any of the Yahoo! content sections, Yahoo! will automatically rank those authors higher in the search results.

The Takeaway

If you have subject matter expertise in a certain area, the first place you want to post it is obviously to your own website so that you can grow your database and interested lead lists. However, the next step is to look for other authorship or expertise-sharing opportunities to improve your own website’s SEO.

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