Paul Morris Note: If you do not understand the rel=author tag do not bother reading this post.
A recent Search Metrics study shows that circa 17% of searches now feature the rel=author tag within the top 10 SERPS (100 search results). The same study showed on the first page the rel=author tag showed up for 3.07% of the one million keywords searched.
I recently wrote an article on microdata (related to rel=author) and how Google is LOVING markup. As I stated with the ratings markup Google will continue to develop its love affair and you need to get on board now if you want to aid your SEO efforts.
Essentially Google knows SEO’ers game the SERPS.
Google employs $millions upon $millions to combat unfair manipulation and has released many updates to overcome black hat SEO’ers.
What many in the SEO community are starting to see is Google valuing links less (they still love links of course but in a ‘I know your sleazy, I’m going to get what I want from you but I’m not going to marry you’ kind of way) and continuing to build out its algorithm with newer additions such as the author tag.
The author social signal is putting a little more trust back into links as it validates the author of an article/ web page. Furthermore it allows Google to place more value on that link than would be normally the case.
Now what is truly funky, as SEOMOZ summarised, is that we might soon see:
AuthorRank X PageRank = AuthoredPageRank
Outcome? Links from Authors, all other things being the same, should help you gain higher natural search positions.
And so what do I do about this I here you ask?
1/ Start using authorship markup and build up your own author(s)
2a/ Start getting more links from authors. And I’m not talking any old Roald Dahl style author; rather building relationships with authors that are relevant to your niche and employ influence upon it (in a Klout/ Twitter styley).
2b/ Start this process by getting more links from authors by utilising tools such as AuthorCrawler.
First you want to do this for your own site, find out who are key authors and then strengthen relationships with them.
Secondly use this tool alongside something like Link Intersect or Majestic competitor’s analysis to pick off your competitors authors and, in a Highlander style, take their author link power. I.e. develop relationships with some of the competitor’s influential link authors and get them to link to you instead of them.
I wrote an article on this very topic 6 months ago how Google and specifically Google+ will continue to develop this author love and it’s not going away any time soon.
In summary; Do something about the above before you miss yet another Google SEO love boat.