What Role Does Author Attribution Play In Search Rankings?

When evaluating major trends impacting SEO in 2013, it is clear that author rank will play a significant role in a new strategy.

Previously, PageRank has been the standard method used to identify the relative quality of any given website. Over the last few years, there has been very little value in using PageRank alone as a quality metric; however, when it is used with other quality metrics, it can be meaningful.

In 2013, a new metric will be used to measure search engine and page quality rankings. This new metric is known as AuthorRank (or AgentRank). Google sometimes refers to it as agent rank.

How AuthorRank & AgentRank Will Change SEO
Content quality will no longer be based solely on the authority of a website. Quality is increasingly becoming dependent on the authority of the author. Search engines will be scoring authors and using this score to judge the quality of a website.

Establishing Author Rank or Agent Rank
The method authors use to establish a higher AuthorRank is to tie pages they have authored to their Google+ profiles. This is accomplished by using samples of their work in their profile. Authors are ranked based on the engagement factors of their content. Some of these engagement factors are the number of Google+ entries, social media likes, shares and the influence of those commenting on an author’s posts. The relevancy of inbound links pointing to the page content is also an important factor used to measure quality. In essence, AuthorRank will be dependent on the quantity and engagement the author has with relevant topics.

Improving AuthorRank for Search Engines
There are specific ways that marketers can improve AuthorRank on their websites. Brands that do not have authors with a strong online reputation should use author outreach for short-term assignments. Author outreach involves finding and reaching out to authors who have authority in the area that is relevant to a brand’s industry. Additionally, marketers should build the author rank of writers within the company for the long-term.

Using Google to search for a string of keywords that are relevant to a particular brand is an excellent way to find authors who have authority on any given topic. Sample enhanced results will show the number of Google+ circles an author has acquired. The number of Google+ circles is a good metric to use when trying to assess a writer’s value for a specific brand. Combining the number of circles with the number of relevant searches will provide a list of qualified authors to contact.

Paul Coulter is a Toronto digital marketing guru and an expert on the subject of search engine optimization.