There is some buzz floating around out there about Google Author Rank. However, people seem to be getting ahead of themselves in an effort to be first.
There is no Google Author Rank. Or at least, there might not be, or there might be, but like most things related to Google’s search rankings algorithm, there is no official or documented word from Google that there is any impact on search rankings based on Google’s Author Rank.
(Don’t confuse this with HubPages Author Rank, which is completely different, and which might count as prior art, if anyone is interested.)
So, what is there?
There is a patent application in which Google applies for a patent to use something like Author Rank in its search ranking results. However, just because there is a patent, does not necessarily mean that Google is using the features detailed within right now. It may never use those features, or it may use them someday.
What is fanning the flames is a conclusion jump based upon some real, confirmed changes with Google.
Google Author Tag
Google IS using a couple of new markup tags that allow you to tag your various writings and publication around the web as having been written by you. There are some good guides out there on it, but the basic idea is this.
You use a “me” tag to tell Google who, on this website, wrote this particular page.
You use an “author” tag to link the “me” to a specific author on the internet, not just on that one domain. This author tag must point to a Google profile. This is an area of some complaint, because Google is forcing writers into creating Google profile accounts, which then, of course link to Google’s new social networking platform Google+. You can complain, or you can play ball, your choice. There is really no downside to having another way for people to find you, so you may as well set one up if you haven’t already.
When all of these steps are setup, all of your content with an author tag or me, author tag chain will show up as yours.
What is making people jump up and down is that after you have done all this, Google MAY insert your profile picture from your Google profile next to your articles in Google search results. This may or may not be a good thing. The jury is still out for me, but more on that later.
However, there is NO EVIDENCE that what position you hold in those search results has anything to do with your profile picture being there, or any sort of author rank pushing those articles around. In fact, if you dig in behind the scenes you will see that the same things that always determine Google’s search rankings determine these rankings:
- How close the title tag is to an exact match of the query
- How many links point to the article
If there is any influence by Author Rank, it is very small and virtually undetectable in the search results.
Do a few searches for yourself. You’ll see well respected authors ranked 8th or 9th below articles without any sort of author tag whatsoever. The reason? Check the article title in the search results, it’s probably a closer fit to your search, even if it was written by a brain damaged teenage chimp with no experience.