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Rel-Author Study: Approximately 17% of SERPs Showing Rel-Author Tag

Everyone in the SEO space has been talking about the way Google handles authors and links. In the future, content could be evaluated by using the author as a ranking factor.  SEOmoz published an interesting article recently focused on how the relationship between the social graph and real links from known, trusted authors could give specific documents a higher value.  SEOmoz called that “AuthoredPageRank” from Author Rank and PageRank.


With the rel=author tag it is now possible to connect ordinary web content to an author. This gets interesting if you also factor in data like Shares, Tweets, Plusones, Pins, time on site, bounce rate related to content, all of which is connected to an author.  Considering how much data is available, an author that produces content with many social mentions could be rewarded with higher value and more attention from Google.

For me as an SEO, it will be more relevant in the future to get links, so recommendations, from established and topically relevant authors. I also have to analyze the authors which link to my competitors.

That’s why I analyzed the author integrations in the SERPs for a million keywords in  For nearly 170,554 keywords, I found a minimum of 1 author integration in the SERPs and a total of 15,274 unique authors. It was surprising to me that 17% of results tested are showing author integrations because this is still a new feature – this was much higher than I expected.

In the table you’ll find the Top 20 authors, ordered by count of page 1 integrations. You will also find the overall count of author integrations and the ratio of overall author integrations to page 1. You’ll see how many integrations an authors has and how well his content ranks. You also have the Google+ profile URL in the Excel spreadsheet to get more details about the author. The Excel spreadsheet with the Top 200 authors is available for download at the end of this article.

Download spreadsheet: Top200-Google-author-integrations

Marcus Tober

Marcus Tober

My name is Marcus Tober and I’m the founder of Searchmetrics. Because we really love to analyze all kinds of online data, we can give you more insights than any other company in SEO, SEM and Social Media. It’s not a job, it’s passion.

12 thoughts on “Rel-Author Study: Approximately 17% of SERPs Showing Rel-Author Tag

  • Wow, great research. I just did a long peice on my site showing how very uncommon it is for communications companies to implement rel=author. What are the they thinking?. Now you have the facts, just the facts, mam.

  • Ryan Mendenhall @Wordpress SEO 2012/04/27 at 9:10 pm

    Awesome!! Thanks for the study Marcus! I’m curious to know what benefits you see to implementing rel=author? And also what your thoughts are about setting it up on this blog.

  • Alistair Dent @ Periscopix 2012/04/30 at 3:43 pm

    Hi Marcus,

    This is really interesting, and I’m curious how you got the data in the first place. Specifically I’d be interested to know what method you used to perform all the searches (and check for author markup results) and also how you chose the search queries to use in the first place.


  • Jenny McDermott 2012/05/04 at 3:43 pm

    Are only individuals counted as “authors”, or could a company name be the author of a corporate site’s page?

  • Awesome, Really interesting

  • This is great info. I thought I was late to the party on this but looks like I’m not. I have to wonder how this affects authors that write for multiple sites or those that pay for articles to be written. I still have a ton of questions about this.

  • Dragusin Dragos 2012/06/19 at 7:36 am

    Google is getting more social in serps.

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