17 Jan 2013

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

10 Content Experts Weigh In On Author Rank in 2013: Part I

Since 2011, Google has supported the use of rel=author tags to enhance the way search engine results display the content you’ve authored. Authors are ranked based on the authority of their content and a variety of other factors, assisting Google in determining where to rank such individuals content in SERPs. This is a relatively new concept, and many are still figuring out exactly how to take full advantage.

We reached out to ten content marketing experts from around the globe to weigh in on the future of rel=author and author rank. Each have author rank on their radar and are planning to make great strides in 2013 to focus on this concept. Learn more about author rank by reading their answers below.

How are you planning to integrate author rank & rel=author in 2013 with the work you do for clients or services you offer?

“I can answer this question as the one who used to provide full service guest blogging services for years. It is a must that a client is involved in each step (turnkey solutions won’t work) even if you provide full-service guest posting services. Here’s how it worked for me:

  • Ask the client to assign any member of his/her team to review and edit all the articles that are placed as “guest posts” on the client’s behalf
  • Work with that editor to create a powerful author person he/she would represent (set up Google Plus profile for him, educate him/her on how to connect to G+ community and use rel=”author” to connect all client’s guest posts to that G+ profile.)
  • Make sure your client knows that your guest posting services are not only good for links: the powerful author brand is what the client gets forever (even after you stop providing your services)”

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+.

“We’ve already been implementing this for all of our clients since early 2012, so I don’t think much will change for us. We offer this to all enterprise clients and have worked it into our first months deliverables. In our process, we set up a company author or multiple authors to tie their content to and we also set up rel=publisher for them. We then use rel=author on all content produced on the client site and offsite through guest blogging, etc.”

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 encourage my freelance clients to include author bio’s on each post with the author’s Google+ link as well as have them email all of the writers on the blog to add a link to it on their Google+ profiles. It’s usually an easy sell once I show clients how people can click on the author’s More posts by link in search results and possibly discover their content.”

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+.  

“Google Authorship is definitely something that is important to our team, and we have leveraged it internally over the course of the year. Our in-house copywriters and guest bloggers have Authorship status, are now more effectively tracking their placements, and getting into the habit of adding websites to their G+ profiles as they contribute. Admittedly, client adoption has been a bit slower, with the biggest reason being clients aren’t 100% sure WHO they want to be the “author” of their company’s content (business owner, VP, themselves, etc.). With our small business clients, this is pretty clear… with our medium to large clients, not so much. For content marketing and viral marketing related campaigns, Authorship is definitely in our plan for 2013 – especially for clients that have a clear point of contact or public figure in their organization.”

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+

“As we work with clients on content marketing, there will be a continued emphasis on establishing authorship with rel=author for their content producers, both partners and in-house. This can be considerable for clients with a solid history of content who could see significant advantages when their content library is threaded together as a network of established authors. And with clients newer to the game whose content is less authoritative, verifying authors is even more critical, potentially elevating content in search engines results with rich snippets instead of hoping it will percolate up over time.”

David GouldDavid 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. 

“First of all, I’m going to spend a lot more energy on Google+. This means sharing my content, interacting with users, starting conversations, getting shares, 1+s, and generally connecting everything I do online to my G+ profile.

Secondly, I’m going to be much more aware of tagging all my content with my rel=author markup so I can claim authorship and show Google that I’m the author/authority behind the individual pieces of content.

Thirdly, I’m going to do even more guest writing for various high authority blogs within my areas of expertise. I used to do guest posts for the obvious reasons: building relationships, getting links, and attracting new followers. But it looks like AR will make guest writing even more directly beneficial as all the shares, Likes, Tweets, +1s, etc. your guest posts get should rub off on your Author Rank.

This means that you’ll be able to build your AR effectively and rapidly by guest writing, because readers are much more likely to share your content if they come across it on a high-authority source that they trust. Also, getting content posted on high-authority blogs is likely to increase your chances of getting shares from major influencers in your field.”

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

“At WireBuzz we produce custom video libraries for our clients and author rank is something we build into their projects.  We ensure that all of the libraries and video content we create for clients are set up with the rel=author attribute to help build author rank, which when combined with our video content strategy really pays off in the long run.”

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+

“For certain clients, we’re targeting specific authoritative web properties and regularly publishing engaging content to help establish each client’s authorship. But this process is just one component of our overall Internet marketing strategy for each client. While we think it is one slice of the pie, we don’t expect it to be a “silver bullet” (since there’s no such thing in SEO).”

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+

“Author rank is clearly one of the newest and most influential metrics in determining the quality of the content and the author that wrote it. In today’s world of SEO, content more than ever is increasingly important. For our clients specifically, we saw the trend coming and have already begun to implement rel=author into our guest blogging and content creation activities.”

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 SwellPath, we began advocating for the implementation of Google authorship (AKA rel author markup) early on.  We set up, or were working on setting up, 10+ clients at the end of 2012 and we’re aiming to get a lot more onboard in 2013. Of course, there are some clients who are a better fit for authorship than others, so that’s a limiting consideration. In general, if a client has a blog or has high-profile employees/founders, they’re a great fit and we will set things in motion.

By implementing rel author (authorship) early, we can help our clients build the credibility and authority that will invariably influence AuthorRank when Google rolls it out in full force. There are plenty of great reasons to work on AuthorRank preemptively as well (we refer to this as Authority Building): clients get great visibility in search results, brands are more successful on Google+, organic CTR goes up, and we seem to get a better reaction to content (links, comments, shares, etc).”

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+

A huge thanks to all the experts who weighed in. Some very insightful information! As you can see from the answers above, rel=author and Author Rank are a huge focus in 2013. How do you plan to integrate rel=author and Author Rank this year? Share with us in the comments below. Look for Part II of expert answers on January 29th. Subscribe to our blog to be notified when the post goes live.

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


  • Kent nielsen Jan 17, 2013

    Very inspirational post! Most of the views are still focussing on guest posts on authority pages and blogs. That is; building up an author authority by using traditional link building tecniques. I’m curious to know if it wouldnt be just as effective to do all the building in the social networks alone?

  • Kaila Strong Jan 17, 2013

    Kent, I think you bring up a good point. Building up your author rank can certainly be done through social networks, but I don’t think you can do so ‘alone’. In my opinion, your social credibility directly ties into your author rank. Writing great content, commenting on great content, getting circled on Google + by great authors or influencers in your industry, being retweeted by industry influencers, being followed by an influencer, getting influencers to comment on your content, etc… are all great ways to build your author rank. But in the end, it all starts with content and the rel=author tag. Thanks for your comment!

  • Kent Nielsen Jan 17, 2013

    Kaila, I completely agree. I’ve done some small scale checks of G+ influencers (both companies and people), and it seems to me that you can get a decent PageRank from social links alone, but in order to get a 5+ PageRank you need links from outside the social networks as well. I’m sure there’s a lot more to be said in this area, but it seems to show that you need the “full link package” :-)

  • Paul Jan 18, 2013

    With Author rank being used as one of the factors of your search results, how does the publisher rank affect your search results?

    So if you have a one author blog is it better to promote and share your content on the blog Google+ page or on your Author profile account? I understand that you really should be sharing your content on both your author profile and publisher page, but which one do you encourage people to circle?

  • Pamela Waterman Jan 18, 2013

    There’s always something new to try in the world of blogs, comments, articles, tweets, etc.! Thanks for sharing these insights. I hadn’t realized how important this concept can be, but now I’ll pay attention to incorporating it into everything I do online.

  • Kaila Strong Jan 18, 2013

    @Paul Good question! Right now the benefit of author rank and rel=author for search results is not only the possible ranking factors but also the ability to occupy a larger space in the SERPs and *cross fingers* get higher click-through-rates because of it.

    Google has yet to add similar benefits to content writing by specific publishers (the additional real estate in the SERPs). There aren’t too many conclusive studies around this topic as it relates to which is better: building author rank or building publisher rank.

    If it were me, and take this advice with a grain of salt, I’d certainly want to occupy more real estate in a SERP so I’d focused my energy on building author rank as my overall priority. Ultimately, my goal would be to build up my author rank AND pub rank. I want people to circle both on Google +. I’d encourage cross promotion of both my pub page and my personal profile, and look to get as many high authority peeps to circle me on both profiles.

  • Nick Eubanks Jan 19, 2013

    Jonathan Bentz hits on a big point here, especially for corporations:

    “Admittedly, client adoption has been a bit slower, with the biggest reason being clients aren’t 100% sure WHO they want to be the “author” of their company’s content ”

    This is something I hear companies of all sizes having trouble with – who’s voice is most representative of the company, or who should be the ‘face of their content’

    Would love to hear more stories about how some firms are approaching this topic with their clients.

  • Dallas McMillan Jan 28, 2013

    Nice to see how top agencies are implementing this feature. I’ve been amazed at how slowly people have embraced Google authorship, even top content creators and authors.
    I see it as central to developing your online identity.

  • Kaila Strong Jan 28, 2013

    @Dallas You’re so right Dallas. It indeed is a huge part of developing an online identity for your brand. I think hesitation to implement is there for brands who don’t know where to get started, because they don’t have a persona or identity yet to represent their content. It will be interesting to see how more brands incorporate this concept in the coming years. Thanks for your comment!