10 Content Experts Weigh in on Author Rank in 2013: Part II

10 Content Experts Weigh in on Author Rank in 2013: Part II


Two weeks ago, we shared the first part of this two part post, “10 Content Experts Weigh in on Author Rank in 2013,” and discussed how the content experts we interviewed are planning to implement rel=author this year. In part II, we examine if they think author rank will be a focus in 2013 and some experts even gave us some bonus tips to help you get started right away with implementation.

We reached out to ten content marketing experts from around the globe to answer the question, “Do you think author rank will be a focus in 2013?” Each have author rank in their sights and share their thoughts on whether or not it will be a focus this year.

Do you think author rank will be a focus in 2013?

“Hopefully! I personally love the idea of associating web content with people behind them. I am pretty sure this will be abused but I guess Google is well-prepared for that (Google’s Agent rank patent clearly states that the Author Rank will be hard to build and easy to lose if you get involved in suspicious schemes). The number of related patent Google has been publishing shows Google is very serious about Author Rank, so we have no choice but join the trend until it’s too late!”

Ann SmartyAnn Smarty, Community Manager

Ann Smarty is the Community Manager for Internet Marketing Ninjas and owner of My Blog Guest, the free guest blogging community. She tweets as @seosmarty, and don’t forget to Circle her on G+.

“I sure hope so. We’ve invested a lot of time and effort into implementing this for all of our clients and would love to reap the benefits of external content receiving more visibility due to higher author rank. If I were a betting man, I would say that this will be a primary focus of Google this year.”

Greg ShueyGreg Shuey, VP Client Services

Greg Shuey is the VP of Client Services at SEO.com. Greg is an experienced marketing professional with a heavy emphasis on Internet marketing, more specifically search engine optimization (SEO) and generating online revenue via affiliate marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Shuey03 and Circle him on G+.

“I am hoping that Google will be making authorship more stable (ie. making it work all the time on any site) in 2013. Considering their push for quality content on the web, authorship may be their way of confirming content is quality by the fact that it is claimed by a Google+ user’s profile. If so, that could mean that claimed content will rank above content without a link to a Google+ profile.”

Kristi HinesKristi Hines, Freelance Writer

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter @kikolani and Circle her on G+.  

“Recent updates I have seen in Google SERPs (particularly name driven SERPs) indicate to me that if you have a G+ profile (and have Google Authorship), the information contained in your G+ profile can greatly impact what URLs are shown on Google’s first page. So yeah, Author Rank should be a focus for SEO in 2013. For more standard SEO campaigns, Author Rank should be a focus – but not above covering the SEO best practices or implementing social search strategies. For anyone doing reputation management for a company or managing the online presentation of a public figure, Author Rank should be a MAJOR focus next year.”

Jonathan BentzJonathan Bentz, Director of Client Marketing

Jonathan Bentz is Director Of Client Marketing at ProspectMX – a Pennsylvania-based Internet marketing company. His work and expertise at ProspectMX has been featured online at the Central Penn Business Journal, Ecommerce Times, and also at BtoB Online. Follow him on Twitter @jonathanbentz and Circle him on G+

“I think AuthorRank will be a major focus for 2013. Verified authorship provides Google an incredibly confident signal about content quality and relevance. It allows the search engine to look beyond signals tied just to that web page and domain and consider the author’s online body of work as an indicator of credibility. As adoption becomes more widespread – and it will significantly as implementation becomes simpler in the future – I think Google will continue to put its weight behind AuthorRank, expanding the search and social upsides for verified authors.”

David Gould, Creative Services Director

David Gould is the Creative Services Director at Vertical Measures, a Search, Social & Content Marketing company based in Phoenix. Circle him on G+, and don’t forget to attend his upcoming webinar “Beyond Optimization – Elevating Your Content with Google Authorship” on February 7th at 11AM PST/2PM EST. 

“As with all algorithm updates, Google is playing it pretty close to the vest. We can really only hypothesize about what’s going to happen. AR has its devotees and skeptics, but I think it’s going to be a focus area in 2013 no matter what happens.

If the devotees are right in their predictions that AR will fundamentally change the SEO game, it’s bound to cause quite a stir in the online marketing community. Those who did their homework and prepared for AR will reap the benefits and talk about how to do it right. Those who didn’t prepare and got trampled will be scrambling to catch up and talking about the havoc that AR caused.

If the skeptics are right in their assumption that AR will only have minor impact, there’s bound to be a lot of focus on the question of why AR didn’t become the big thing it was predicted to be. Also there will be a lot of talk about when/how/if Google will make use of their AgentRank Patent.

Personally, I think that AR will come into full effect within the next 6 to 9 months, and that it will have a significant impact on SEO and Content Marketing, as we know it. I see it as a positive and natural progression that was bound to happen – Google just needed the right circumstances to set things into motion.

Traditional signals like links will of course still be essential, however the big difference is that Google will start connecting these signals to individual authors (content producers) – and not just the websites that host the content.”

What are 3 things readers can do TODAY to help them get started building their author rank? 

  1. Start using Google+ as an integral part of your content marketing strategy. Everything AR related is tied to your G+ profile – no G+ profile, no Author Rank.  If your target audience isn’t present on G+, start thinking of strategies for how to get them onto the platform. Everything points to the point that Google+ will play a bigger and bigger role in SEO.
  2. Tag all your content with your rel=author tag. Claiming authorship and showing Google that you are an authority that consistently produces quality content is essential to building your AR.
  3. Start guest posting quality content on as many high-authority blogs within your field of expertise as possible – and make sure to tag your guest posts properly with your rel=author markup. Find out which blogs are obvious choices, and then approach the respective editors humbly with specific suggestions for the content you want to write and how readers will benefit from it.

Bonus tip: make sure the content you put publish is top notch! If you want to build AR, you need to produce high-quality content that your audience finds valuable to such a degree that they’ll share it, comment on it, and come back for more. Instead of spending 1 hour writing a mediocre blog post – spend 3 hours writing an awesome article that addresses the issues your audience struggles with and answers their most pressing questions. Believe me – it’ll be worth the extra effort!”

Michael AagaardMichael Aagaard, ContentVerve.com

Michael Aagaard is self-employed and a self-confessed test junkie & copywriting fanatic. His new blog, ContentVerve.com, is all about content, copy & conversions. Circle him on G+, and follow him on Twitter

“I have a history of taking full advantage of Google’s tools because they build elements like authorship for a strategic reason. Google is in the business of providing the most relevant search results to users and author rank is the next stage in that evolution.  2012 ended with a lot of buzz around author rank and that’s not going to end soon.  Implementing and leveraging authorship for clients in 2013 will be vital for their long-term success.”

What are 3 things readers can do TODAY to help them get started building their author rank? 

  1. “Ensure that all the content you produce is properly set up with the rel=author attribute and is connected with your Google account. Go back and add the attribute to old content as well.
  2. Use video because it is the type of content that is most likely to show up in search results, making your content searchable so people can find it while building up your author rank.
  3. Create a lot of relevant content and search optimize each piece so it’s reaching its target audience. Being relevant is essential to building author rank because that’s how you get shares, increase time on page, and get added to people’s G+ circles.”

Todd HartleyTodd Hartley, CEO

Todd Hartley is the CEO of WireBuzz, a Phoenix based company providing video creation, social business and PR/Marketing services to clients. Todd has spearheaded digital marketing campaigns for seven of the largest national talk shows and created the first video medical encyclopedia on the Internet. Circle him on G+

“While it will be somewhat of a focus, I do think it will get a lot of use as a buzzword. As with “social signals,” we know that Google likes social signals and that they’re incorporated into the algorithm. However, no one really knows for sure to what degree they count.

I also believe there will be a marriage of sorts between “social buzz” and author rank. Meaning the amount of social traction on a particular author’s content will likely be a major factor that affects their author rank. That being said, I don’t agree with those who say it will replace PageRank. In my opinion, it will just be another metric that Google is able to utilize to separate quality from noise.”

gerald-weberGerald Weber, President & Co-Founder

Gerald Weber is president of Search Engine Marketing Group in Houston Texas and co-founder of Viral Content Buzz which is a platform that utilizes a crowd-sourcing model to facilitate the generation of “social buzz” on quality content. Circle him on G+

“Yes, I do think it’s going to be a huge focus for 2013 and beyond. With millions of pages of content being added the web every day, Google will be looking more at the authority of the author so that the highest quality content is showing in the results.”

What 3 things can readers do TODAY to help them get started building their author rank?

  1. “Create Great Content – I know this is obvious, but the better and more engaging your content is, the quicker you can build up your author rank. If you are creating meaningful content, the rest will follow suit.
  2. Sharing Content– Google is taking into account how active you are on Google+. This means it is increasingly important to share all of your content not only on your website but also every site your contribute to. Not only do you want to share your own content, but you will want to share the content of other leaders in your industry.
  3. Connecting – Google understands your connections it will help them improve the relevancy of your Google results. This makes it incredibly important that you’re not only adding people to your circles, but that others are doing the same to you.”

adam heitzmanAdam Heitzman, Managing Partner

Adam Heitzman is a Managing Partner at HigherVisibility, a leading online marketing agency serving clients Nationwide. Circle him on Google+

“At less than a month into the new year, I can definitely say that AuthorRank is a big focus in 2013, not just for SwellPath but for the inbound marketing industry as a whole. I monitor the blogosphere buzz around AuthorRank pretty closely and it seems like the number of posts on the topic are doubling every single month. Last year we saw that only a small percentage of tech blogs had authorship configured correctly, but that’s already growing considerably. This will trend will undoubtedly continue throughout 2013.

At the end of 2012, Google was also showing signs that they were paying more attention to authorship and, in some way, looking to measure the engagement readers had with authors. If you clicked on a post by a specific author in search, read it for more than 1 minute and 45 seconds, then bounced back to the search results, Google would amend your original results to display additional posts by that same author! It’s things like this that really seem to indicate that Google is getting closer and closer to rolling AuthorRank out.”

What 3 things can readers do TODAY to help them get started building their author rank?

“Beyond setting up authorship, here’s a few things you can do to build your AuthorRank:

  1. Guest blog on reputable sites that are relevant to what you specialize in. Think big – getting published on an authoritative site will be great for your AuthorRank, much like getting a link from a high PR site will be good for your own site’s PR. E.g., try for SEOmoz.org, not our-site-gives-free-backlinks-for-guest-blogs.com.
  2. You probably have a good idea of who the thought leaders are in your industry. Try to build a relationship with them on Google+, help them out, +1 their content, and engage them with questions. When you publish your next great post (and remember, not all your posts will be “great”), tactfully share that post with them. Getting people who logically would have a high AuthorRank to comment on, +1, and share your content will in turn help YOUR AuthorRank.
  3. Look into the Knowledge Graph. If you can earn a Google Knowledge Graph for yourself, that’s an amazing indicator of importance and authority. There’s no doubt that this will help your AuthorRank.”

Mike ArnesenMike Arnesen, Senior SEO

Mike Arnesen is a Senior SEO at SwellPath, he is a veteran web developer and search marketer. Mike lives in Portland, OR and is an advocate for all things related to Google Authorship, a prolific blogger, and frequent speaker at industry events. Circle him on Google+

Bonus Contributor!!

“Author rank will definitely be an integral part of a comprehensive SEO strategy in 2013. Page authority and domain authority will continue to be important forces in generating organic search results, but adding the trust value of authoritative authors will only further add authority to the content in both the eyes of search engines and human readers. It also provides great potential to increase social engagement of content.”

What are 3 things readers can do TODAY to help them get started building their author rank? 

  1. “Make sure you have a Google+ profile that is completely filled out with a clear headshot as the profile pic.
  2. Start writing great content within your area of expertise or interest that will be truly useful and engaging to those reading it. Observe social media conversations around the topic by searching for phrases related to the topic within the various social networks. Find out what interests people and try to answer their questions in your writings. Once content is created, add it to your own blog or website, or pitch it to relevant publications around the web. Just make sure it is properly tagged to credit you as the author.
  3. Engage with other influencers within the various social networks to build a following and ultimately increase social sharing of your content by others. Join in conversations around your topic and add value to those conversations. Share the content you have published with your social communities and share great content written by those within your network as well. They will likely return the favor.”

marc purtellMarc Purtell, Director of SEO

Marc Purtell is the Director of SEO at Media Whiz, an online performance marketing agency that helps clients acquire customers more profitably. His article, “SEO in 2013: The Rising Influence of AuthorRank” was featured on Search Engine Journal and provides great insight into Author Rank. Follow him on Twitter and circle him on Google+

Again, a huge thanks to all the experts who weighed in. Some very insightful information, and feel free to ask your author rank questions in the comments below.

If you’re new to the concept of Author Rank register for our next webinar on February 7th to learn more “Beyond Optimization – Elevating Your Content with Google Authorship.” 

Kaila Strong

As Senior Director of SEO Services, Kaila oversees both the SEO department and our Internet Marketing Strategists. She works with our expert team to uncover SEO strategies, develop link building campaigns, conduct competitive analysis, review Google penalties, execute backlink analysis and train peers on SEO fundamentals. +Kaila Strong