Author Rank used for in-depth articles
Google has confirmed that it does use Author Rank, particularly when determining which in-depth articles to include in its search results.
A section dedicated to in-depth articles has been included for specific queries since last summer, giving users an opportunity to view longer, more detailed pieces related to their search.
Google's head of webspam Matt Cutts verified that authorship is a factor within its in-depth articles ranking formula when responding to Mark Traphagen's tweet: "Google's Amit Singhal at #smx West: NO Author Rank yet. Possibility for the future." He replied saying: "to be fair, it does come into play in some ways. For example, in-depth articles use that data, I'm pretty sure."
Could "Author Rank" have more impact in the future?
In Amit Signhal's keynote conversation with Search Engine Land founder Danny Sullivan at the Search Marketing Expo, Singhal stated that Author Rank could potentially become a ranking factor for organic search results in the future.
Singhal's suggestion that Author Rank could come more into play echoes comments previously made by other Google staffers about authorship.
For example, Matt Cutts has previously said that Google is exploring ways to modify the ranking algorithm so that it can detect who the authoritative writers are for specific subjects, so that their content can appear in search results for the topic areas they specialise in.
Rachel Hand, head of content at theEword, has said: "While Author Rank may not be a direct ranking factor in organic search results at present, authors should still want to be known for producing quality content. By focusing on the creation of engaging and relevant pieces, you can work towards building your own reputation online, which the Author Rank would then help to strengthen if it is ever used within the ranking algorithm."