Author rank is an upcoming Google ranking factor that looks at who wrote an article. Google looks at many ranking factors, but has never really understood people as a unique entity with trust and reputation.

Based on that person’s reputation in the field of that article, it may be given a ranking boost because the author is credible in the field. Domains don’t write articles. People write articles. A good author will, typically, write good articles. It makes sense to rank an article because it was written by someone trusted, even if it’s on a less important domain.

Best we can tell, Google has not implemented author rank yet. A wide variety of sources given an unusually rich amount of information about this feature.


Google’s implementation of author rank is via the HTML rel=author tag, which shows authors in search results. This is live today.

According to one study, as of April 2012 17% of searches show at least one author.

Author rank is not just showing the authors, but in the future, changing the ranking because of the author. The technical implementation is the same though.

How Does an Author Earn Author Rank?

Rank is given on a per subject level. Just as you’d expect an article on about Windows 8 to rank very well, but would expect an article about dog grooming techniques on to rank poorly, the same applies to an author.

Gaining trust as an author is much the same as gaining trust as a domain. If you write a quality article, you should get:

  • Links from credible sources
  • Social mentions
  • Comments

Regularly publishing quality content on the same subject will build up your rank.

It’s likely trust is given slowly and lost quickly. It would be unwise for an author to cash in on their author rank by publishing a spammy article for short term gain.

Next Steps…

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