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04/23/2017

Author Rank is Next

Matt Cutts at Pubcon 2013

Authorship

Matt Cutts told us at Pubcon in Las Vegas last October that Google that they were tightening up Google Authorship.  He said that Google wanted to make sure that the people they show as authors are high quality authors and that if they reduced the amount of authorship by 10 or 15% they would radically improve the quality of the search results.

THAT HAPPENED.

Barry Schwartz reported in Search Engine Round Table that there has been indeed a sharp decline in the number of authorship snippets in the search results. He even has a graph to prove it.

Author Rank

Since Google quickly made good on its promise to scale back authorship snippets in the search results it might be wise to re examine what Matt Cutts had to say about Author Rank.

Cutts said that Google was looking at detecting and boosting authorities in the search results. He said that if you are an authority in a particular topic to keep writing about that topic and deepening the amount of content that you have.  He said that you really want to be a resource and an authority.  And if you do turn out to be an authority you are more likely to be boosted in the search results by these Google changes.

Later in his address Cutts talks about the effects of social on author rank.  He says that plus ones, retweets, etc will not have an effect on ranking in the short term but left it open for the future.  He said that although it’s not the case that +1′s give you a boost in the rankings right now, however in the long term having good social signals is a reflection of being an authority and the type of person that people listen to. And if social signals reflect that you are the type of person that someone wants to listen to, then search engines want to listen to you as well.  His advice was not to get it backwards and strive for +1′s, but rather to become an expert that people want to listen to and attract the social signals that will also signal the search engine that you are an authority and boost you in the search results.

Action Steps

We’ve been reading for a couple of years what it takes to build author authority and improve your author rank.  Obviously it starts with good content.  Just as Matt Cutts said you need to become an authority in your field and create content that garners social signals in the form of +1′s, resharing, etc.  However, although it starts with good content, if you want it to appear in the search results don’t forget good old fashioned SEO.  Google still depends on keywords to determine if your content is relevant to the search query.

Also, don’t ignore creating a large body of work around your field of expertise.  Cutts said to keep writing about your particular topic and deepening the amount of content that you have.  This means creating original content and creating it on the web, not on Gplus, although you most definitely have to share it there.  I think many people initially flocked to Gplus because they had a hunch that it would ultimately boost author rank, but it is probably not going to happen if you are just resharing other people’s content.  That doesn’t make you an expert or an authority.  You need your own content and I suggest creating it on a blog.  It’s been my experience that unless you are a very heavy hitter with lot’s of Google juice your Google Plus posts will not rank as fast organically as a blog post in the search results.  Usually the Gplus posts that you see in the search results are personal search results that only you and the people who have you in a circle can see.

See this post to get links to validate content mentioned above.

View Matt Cutts keynot address at Pubcon