You may or may not be aware, but on August 28, 2014 Google shut down its authorship functionality completely. The three-year experiment to allow authors to publicly identify themselves in content they have created is over. Many people – especially those in SEO – jumped onto this particular bandwagon because Google suggested content with authorship would be seen and visited by more people searching for things and topics they were interested in. Originally, this had been achieved by creating “markups” within web pages but Google later asked users to link their content to Google+. But now that is over, what is there left? There is Author Rank!
What Is Author Rank
A term created by the SEO community, Author Rank is the idea that if a noteworthy and trusted individual created content, their content is considered more valuable to search engines than an equivalent piece authored my someone who is not as well-known in the community of content creators. It makes sense, no? If people keep clicking on the same person’s content over and over again, any other articles written by them should also be worthwhile, thus making them worthy enough to be placed higher in search engine results.
While there are no hard numbers to tell us Author Rank plays a significant role in visibility in Google and other search engines, it is a factor that should not be ignored. After all, would you not trust a thought leader who has written dozens or even hundreds of articles on a subject over a random person who may have written one or two pieces before? The easy answer is no.
Google and Author Rank
Even though authorship is dead Google still found a way to utilize Author Rank, even to a small degree, in “in-depth articles.” These articles cover a wide variety of topics and are considered “in-depth” because of their considerable length and high degree of credibility. Google’s use of Author Rank in this way was confirmed by Amit Singhal, head of Google Search.
How to Use Author Rank to Your Advantage
Now that Google Authorship is out of the picture, what is there to do? Think bylines. The byline is the space within an article – traditionally under the title – that states the author, the date, and their position. Since the death of Google’s system of identifying content creators, bylines have become the de facto way in which authors are rewarded: increased visibility. In many cases, bylines will include links to the author’s company, portfolio, and then some. And what writer does not enjoy having bylines they can refer to later on for other projects? Here is a hint: none of them!
But like with other SEO measures, content is still king, so combining bylines, Author Rank, and similar methods of increasing online visibility are only as important as the quality of the works they are attached to. Keep that in mind when creating content online.