fountain pen on black lined paper

Authorship: Why You Should Start Now

Google+ and authorship has been a hot topic around the office within the last few weeks. We’ve jumped on the authorship wagon a while back, knowing that it provides an added touch to a search result, grabbing a searcher’s attention. Not only that, but people place more trust in an article that has a face to it– that’s just natural, and they’ll probably return to the same author (you) if they have related questions. And here at drumBEAT we’ve been keeping track of our authorship knowing that more value will eventually show itself in the SERP in the form of the ambiguous and infamous AuthorRank.

Keeping any piece we’ve written connected to our Google+ account will help Google bots keep track of what we’ve been doing online with a digital signature, meaning that they can see where we’ve been trying to create authority in a subject. According to, authorship is the method where Google has given us the opportunity to link any piece of original content for the web with our Google+ profile.

How to Claim Google+ Authorship

To do this first be sure that your content is actually pointing to your Google+ profile. By placing the following code in any piece you write.

  <a href="[profile_url]?rel=author">Your Name</a>

Where [profile_url] is your actual Google+ profile url. This coding can be added to guest blogging content as well, to make sure that Google is keeping track of the places you’ve written.

Then to make sure that the authorship signal is going both ways, and also to have you confirm that you are the contributor, state in your Google+ profile that you’re a contributor to that same website by entering that link to your profile.

So after you do all of this, you can get a nifty little snippet added to your page in a SERP that includes author, profile picture and how many Google+ circles the author is in. As most of you already know it will look like this in the SERP:

serp authorship snippet

(Thanks Lauren for letting me use your profile here!)

Authorship- Eventual AuthorRank

So what’s the hoopla with authorship anyway? Well the reason I just became ridiculously interested is the high probability that the authorship practices that we are putting into place now, will lead to eventual higher rankings. Even as far back as 2011, Othar Hannson, an engineer on the Authorship Project at Google, said in a video announcing the promotion of authorship that they hope to use rel=”author” as a ranking signal to determine author credibility.

So the supposed new AuthorRank would identify authors on the web and associate them with scores based on the author’s interactions on a specific topic, frequency of shared or +1’d content, whether experts have endorsed content and comments by experts in the topic. Some other factors that could possibly AuthorRank include:

  • Number of circles in Google+ the author is in
  • Connections with other authors/Google+ profiles
  • Average PageRank of the author’s content on its original page, including the number of authoritative websites that an author’s work has been published on
  • Engagement with audience about content, with comments and author responses

So the score could differ based on other factors, as well as from topic to topic, but will be transferrable almost like link juice. For example if I was an expert on zombies, and in Google’s eyes maintained a level of authority on the subject, if I interacted with someone else about that topic by sharing it, some of my AuthorRank would supposedly be shared with that author. However, all of these things HAVE NOT been confirmed by Google in any way. Google says that as of right now, AuthorRank is not an actual contributing factor to rank. All that has been said about AuthorRank is just subtle comments here and there about what MAY be coming, along with several patents that may hint at its eventual use.

Why Start Now If AuthorRank May Never Happen

Authorship is merely about creating a world where great content encourages interaction and engagement, therefore showing Google that you know what you’re talking about. Google wants readers to connect with actual people through produced content rather than just a website.

author rank meme, game of thrones meme
Is AuthorRank really on its way?

The reason you should start now is very simple– even if AuthorRank is never developed into an actual ranking factor, Google will still see authors claiming authorship as a step in the right direction towards creating an online writing portfolio that will help users find other works.

All the things that authorship is doing will still be applicable even if AuthorRank never gains any traction, and by building up your authorship in preparation for a possible AuthorRank you aren’t hurting your online efforts in any way, shape or form. If AuthorRank ever does happen, and you’ve waited until then to build up your authorship it will probably be too late because most writers will already be well into creating a following with authorship.

So just because AuthorRank is not real (yet?), you should still be writing and linking your articles to your profile. Don’t think about the ratings, just think about the content you are creating for followers. In the meantime, while you’re waiting for AuthorRank to eventually arrive, make sure you’re doing the following:

  • Authorship, authorship, authorship. And authorship. Did we mention authorship?
  • Continue writing to create that following or fan base, become an authority on a focused subject so you can create a strong following in a particular topic
  • Be active on Google+ AND share the wealth of knowledge, even if that knowledge is from someone else in your related industry
  • Get in touch with industry experts and those with industry affluence

And Don’t Forget…

A.J. Kohn says, “Build authority not your AuthorRank.”

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