Author authority or “AuthorRank” is here and Google is already using it. What is Author Authority? Well, you don’t have to write a book to get it. Author authority is for anyone who creates content online. It’s a way for Google to link you, the author, with your content. It really just gives you credit for what you create. There are tons of article online about how to get verified as a Google Author including this interview Eric Enge did with Google’s Sagar Kamdar, the man responsible for Google’s authorship project. I’m still trying to get this setup for myself on this new WordPress blog. It seems my WP theme takes care of most of this for me. But in a nutshell any link or page can have a rel=”author” attribute/tag that identifies the author and your Google+ profile indicates that you are contributor to the site by pointing back to it with a rel=”me” tag or rel=”contributor” tag. Both connections, the one on the content and the one on your Google+ profile, are required before Google will approve you as an author.
If you want to make sure you have it setup properly, Google Webmaster Tool’s Structured Data Testing Tool will let you check. You simply enter a URL and see if Google recognizes you as the author.
Why would you want to go through all this?
Some say this is just another ploy by Google to force people to use Google+. It might be. But it is also a great opportunity to brand yourself and improve your professional presence online. For businesses, it might be the next PageRank or way of measuring authority of an individual or a site and could be used as a ranking signal. In this video Google’s Othar Hansson says they do hope to use it as a ranking signal one day but right now they are just experimenting with it. But Google is certainly using it to gather data and understand trust of an author or content creator right now. Plus, you get your smiling face in the SERPs!
This infographic from BlueGlass summarizes rel=author and includes some additional resources to help with implementation: