Author Rank Factors for Bloggers
Credit: Jurevicious Studios

Everyone knows the importance of Google’s page rank in a list of search results. While we don’t know exactly how the ranking is calculated, we do know that a complex algorithm is used to deliver users with the best results. Often, the site users are searching for is the very first link suggested, and it is almost always on the first page of results at least. This ranking makes Google easy to use for people looking for content on the Internet, but it also serves as a challenge for content creators looking to get to the top of the list.

Google keeps its ranking system a secret. If people around the web knew exactly how sites were ranked, it would be too easy to trick the system. However, we do know that backlinks, popularity, and keyword frequency are some of the most important factors in the ranking. These are only a few of the estimated 200 factors Google uses to rank pages in a search. Though, there’s a good chance Google will up the ante soon and combine page ranking with the newly developed AuthorRank.

The developers at Google started tossing the idea of AuthorRank around in 2005, but even after they figured out how to calculate it, they couldn’t figure out how to make sure it was properly sorting the authors it was trying to track. Essentially, AuthorRank is a way for Google to determine the credibility and quality of individual authors around the web. It is supposed to weed out spamming content creators and only highlight writers that are producing content of high quality and value. Their intention is not to replace PageRank, but instead use AuthorRank to move deserving pages closer to the top when they are written by highly ranked authors.

Obviously, Google can’t just rely on people’s names to determine who wrote an article. When authors start getting popular, people might start posing as them to get closer to the top of the list. Google needed a way to link the identity of the writer with the content accurately and easily. This step is what took Google so long to implement AuthorRank, and some recent changes with the search engine are a good sign it will be coming very soon. Google Authorship and Google Plus are both new platforms that allow content producers to create a Google identity and connect their content with that identity.

As with Google PageRank, we can’t be 100% sure about what Google will use to rank authors around the web. Experts are making some educated guesses though, and these guesses can help you prepare to make sure your AuthorRank is high right from the get-go. SEO guru Mark Arnesen at  SEOMoz stated the following factors in a list he thinks might contribute to AuthorRank.

Your Average Page Rank

When you start building your Authorship with Google, the search engine will be able to determine what your average page rank is. As previously stated, no one knows exactly how to increase page rank for your site, but you should try using keywords strategically and take advantage of backlinks to bump up your PageRank as much as possible. Authors who have higher combined PageRank for all of their sites will have a higher AuthorRank.

The Number and Quality of Sites Published To

No matter how many articles they’ve published, authors who are only featured on their personal website won’t have a very high AuthorRank. To get noticed on the web, you need to be diligent in making sure your writing is on credible sites. If you are the author for an article on Gizmodo, it will mean a lot more to Google than if you were writing articles for your local florist’s homepage.

The Level of Engagement for Your Content

A surefire way to find out if people are reading your content is to look in the comments section. While people might have read your article and not left a comment, you know for sure that it was read if multiple comments are left. To determine your AuthorRank, Google might take into account the number of comments you get on your articles. It might also factor in the number of times you responded to those comments, as it will show that you are consistently engaged with your own work.

Your Google Plus Activity

First, AuthorRank will probably be calculated in part by the number of Google+1’s you receive from other users. A Google+1 is essentially a personal endorsement for your work by someone else, so receiving any means that your work is probably of high quality. Next, the number of Google Plus circles you belong to might be a good indicator of your popularity online, so it could be another factor in your AuthorRank. If you want to increase your AuthorRank, make sure you are active on Google Plus in every way.

Real World Authority Indicators

Of course, Google can only judge your real world authority to an extent, but they will probably use what they do know to calculate your AuthorRank. If you’ve been published in any scholarly articles, you should make sure those appear on Google Scholar so that the search engine knows about you. You should also make sure any books you’ve published are listed on Google Books.

These are only a few of the possible factors Google will use to calculate AuthorRank. If you’re interested in making sure your AuthorRank enhances your page rank (instead of the other way around), work on beefing up your online portfolio and putting it through all of these checks to make sure you look good on the Internet.

On a daily basis, you can try enhancing your AuthorRank by publishing content as often as possible, and making sure your “weekly” blog is really updated on a weekly basis. You should also check Google Plus constantly and interact with your acquaintances there. Find interesting people on Google Plus and befriend them. You should also leave quality comments on blogs and sites you’re interested in guest blogging for so that they will consider featuring your work. Bumping up your AuthorRank is as mysterious and difficult as increasing your PageRank, but when you boost traffic to your site this way, it will be well worth the effort.