Has Google’s Author Rank Arrived? In this article I am going to provide a short review of the recent events related to Authorship and Google’s In-Depth Articles feature, and then provide my analysis as to what this means for Author Rank and the birth of “In-Depth Article SEO.” Back in January of 2013, I predicted that Author Rank would become a real ranking signal during 2013. I wrote in more detail about Author Rank in March of 2013. In case you haven’t seen Copyblogger’s recent articles about Author Rank, it all started to be something people speculated on when Google announced its rel=author intiative back in June of 2011. It caused quite a stir in the online publishing world. The rel=author tag was a way that authors could tag content that they created, and the short term payoff would be placement of the author’s picture in the search results similar to this one: The benefits of having the author’s picture next to their article were obvious, but it also marked the moment when the world became aware that Google collects behavior on individual authors.
People were fast to speculate — surely Google wants Phone Number List this information for more than just giving the ability to provide rich markup in the search results? Not much was heard after that until Google announced In-Depth Articles. Here is how that looks in the wild: What you are seeing is the bottom of the search results page for the search “US Constitution.” At the bottom you see a brand new search feature, a highlighted set of articles the address the topic in a comprehensive manner. Finally, there was an additional payoff to rel=author tagging! A forewarning from Google’s Chairman Just 19 days after my predictions for 2013, the Wall Street Journal published its comments on The New Digital Age, a book written by Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt. These comments included this quote (bold is mine): Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.
The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance. This is a powerful statement by one of the most powerful people in Google. Schmidt makes it clear that Authorship will be a very material factor in search ranking. Analysis In-Depth Articles was the first time Google clearly showed one way that they could potentially leverage Author Rank to impact search results. Frankly, I cheered at Google’s statement in the announcement of the rationale for this initiative: “up to 10% of users’ daily information needs involve learning about a broad topic.” Yes, people actually do sometimes want to do real research, not just get a sound bite. Readers of Copyblogger and/or my writings know that we both have always believed that. One of the more interesting statements about the initiative is on the Google Webmaster Tools Help page on in-depth articles:
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