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What is AuthorRank and how to implement rel=”author”

By Alexandra Gavril - November 1, 2012

You’ve probably seen those rich snippets in Google’s search results that show you not only the name of the author of a blog post but also his picture. This is a really cool feature because when you write a blog post your readers can also put a face to your name.

Since recently, Google has transformed simple snippets that only included a name into rich snippets that also allow you to add a picture to your name. We had our SEO specialist, Roxana, do this for our blog so if you’re also interested in doing this for your site or blog, read on…

First, let’s start with the basics…

What is AuthorRank?

AuthorRank measures how much your reputation as an author influences the ranking of your articles in search results.

In a post-Panda and Penguin world, it’s quite refreshing to see that our content’s ranking factors are not as dependent on backlinks as before. Today, good content leads to a good AuthorRank which results in good ranks.

How can you improve your AuthorRank?

Google is basing their ranking algorithm on hundreds of signals for organic search and we can only assume they will also use a similar algorithm to determine AuthorRanks.

A few of the more likely ranking signals are:


  • Page Rank – You might remember this one. It allows you to see what your average PR is for all your published content.
  • Engagement – How engaging is your content? Encourage your readers to comment on your posts and don’t forget to reply back. If you’re able to start a conversation, this will signal Google that your content is worth talking about.

Off-site – G+

  • +1s – You can say that these are popularity votes so try to have as many as you can.
  • Google+ shares – Having people sharing your content on G+ means they found it so interesting that they want people in their own circles to read it as well. This is a great way to reach larger audiences.
  • Circles – The more circles you’re in, the more people you can reach.
  • G+ engagement – Make sure that the correct URL to your site or blog appears on your G+ profile so people know where they can read you.

 Other websites

  • High AuthorRank authors – Get recommended by other authors who already have a high AuthorRank. Their success will surely rub off on you as well.
  • Get your content shared on websites with a high authority. If such websites consider your content worthy of being shared, Google will consider you worthy of a higher AuthorRank.

Social networks

  • Wikipedia – If you have something interesting to share, then share it on the largest informational platform on the Internet.
  • YouTube – If you prefer videos over content, you can still get a good AuthorRank. Although this is on the works, get a jump start by creating engaging videos and getting users to subscribe to your channel.
  • Trustworthy social networks – Find out which social networks Google trusts and make sure your content is visible on them as well. For instance, you may want to try Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora and SlideShare.
  • Publishing – Are you a published author? Then ensure that your work can be found on Google Books or Google Scholar.

How do you get Google to know you’re an Author?

To start with, you will need to set up Google Authorship. This will show Google the link between your online presence and your content.

How to set up Google Authorship

There are several ways to set up Google Authorship depending on the site or blog you’re writing and publishing content on. We’ve chosen to share only two of them – the easiest and the most difficult (for those of you who want to feel you’ve earned it).

The easy method

You will need:

  • A public Google+ profile
  • Access to the website/blog you’re writing for.

Edit your G+ profile by going to the “Contributor to” section and then add the URLs to the websites or blogs you write on.

In your blog posts, just add your G+ profile URL  (remove anything after the profile’s ID like /posts or /about) and use the exact name as on your G+ profile as the URL’s anchor text. Add “?rel=author” at the end of your G+ profile URL.

Your code should look like this:

<a href=”Google+ Profile URL”>Exact G+ Profile Name</a>

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/111024654176066667781/?rel=author”>Alexandra Gavril</a>

The difficult method

We’ve learned on our own that sometimes taking the hardest road can return the greatest rewards. We’ve tried the simple way but haven’t seen any results so we gave the difficult method a go.

You will need:

  • A public G+ profile
  • An email address using the same domain as the website you write on
  • Access so you can customise your blog posts.

Go to your G+ profile and edit it. Update the email address with one using the same domain as the website you write on.

Save your changes and then click on the “Verify” option next to your email address.

If you’ve done this correctly, you should see a tick mark next to your email address in the “About” section.

When you publish your posts, make sure you say “by First-name Last-name”. Write your name the same way it appears on your G+ profile. With a verified email address on the same domain as your post, Google will connect the dots and recognise you as the Author.

How we did it

We made sure our authors had G+ profiles with up to date head shots in order to get relevant pictures in SERPs.

We asked our authors to verify their work emails on G+. Then we installed the Google authorship for multiple authors plug-in so that every author on our blog would get recognition for their own content.

You can see my plug-in at work at the end of this post:

When you think you’ve successfully implemented the rel=”author” markup, you can check to see if Google can see the relationship between your content and your author profile by using Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool, now called The Structured Data Testing Tool.

If Google can see it then all you have to do now is wait for it to appear in search results. There’s no guarantee Google will show your author picture in search results but if it does, it’s quite rewarding!

Have you tried other methods? Share them in a comment below.