Co-Author Rank: Centering Rankings on the Best of the Web


AuthorRank has been the talk of the town. It’s gotten the attention of all SEOs from content creators, all the way to linkbuilders. Google Authorship is here to stay and has populated the search engines with faces of old and new writers who have been evangelized to AuthorRank believers. Here’s the thing, can there be such a thing as Co-AuthorRank?

A Little Background

Google is trying make search results more relevant. Afterall, that’s the reason why they’re the number 1 search engine today. The short story is: In light of all the crap that’s going around in the internet today, they figured that real authors would make real content. And so AuthorRank was born.

Behold AuthorRank

AuthorRank is basically a metric that Google uses based on your recorded authorship in its database to help verify your rankings. To break it down, it is assumed that Google AuthorRank helps verify your PageRank score. Here’s my post on how to set up your Google Authorship and how it affects your SEO.

Note: I was supposed to write on this a while back. I was just waiting for that smack-down case study that would help prove a point in the possibility of Co-AuthorRank. It already came in the form of Jeffalytics’ post about Why You Need to Establish Yourself as an Authority on Google+. The data-driven case studies he made on Google+ were so powerful that if you didn’t have a Google+ account, you’d immediately sign up for one.

Somehow Overlooked

Co-AuthorRank is not something new. AJ Kohn already talked about Google citing multi-author pages in their rich snippets tool. However, Google’s way of detecting the Authorship snippet is not yet as polished. They try to gather a post’s Authorship by using the post’s crawled by-line.

If you noticed, there’s 2 extracted author names in the picture: Matt McGee and Step Guide. Who the heck is Step Guide?


It turns out that “Step Guide” came from this:


So you see, Google ain’t perfect. But hey, at least they DO TRY to index who the authors are.

In the Real World

It happens. Sometimes an article is written by just one person, sometimes it’s two. In any case, it’s not really uncommon to read an article by 2 or more authors. You could say that sometimes the more authors you have, the better.

  •  More data
  •  Flexible writing voice
  •  Conversational tone
  •  Better editing
  •  Etc.

Given that it doesn’t always mean the more authors, the better the article, but two all-star authors who can work together? Say Dr. Pete and Brian Clark?

You see Jason Mraz and James Morrison singing a duet.

Jason Mraz James Morrison

Why can’t we?

(If you wanted to know the title of the song, it’s “Details in the Fabric”)

Leveraging on Authority

Hypothetically speaking, getting a post with an author who has a supposedly higher AuthorRank , can mean a quick dab in that person’s authority – increasing yours. (Disclaimer: there’s no real, automated, concrete way to measure AuthorRank yet aside from the quality and quantity of his/her posts – which takes a really long time to go through)

2 Quick Wins:

  1. You get to publish a great post from an authoritative co-author
  2. You get that post socially shared by that co-author

Please share my stuff


The Experiment – Who wants to be my Co-Author?

Co Authors

I’ve been wanting to do this but I haven’t had the chance to do so yet. Here’s what I have in mind:

  • Duo post case study with shared/compared data
  • Interview going back and forth with questions to and from both authors
  • Etc.


  1. Put SEO Hacker in your ‘Contributor To’ in your Google Plus Profile
  2. Answer Comments on our Co-Authored post

I’ll be screening all interested Co-Authors. If you’re interested in Co-Authoring with me, please contact me here.

Again, this is just a Possibility

Google is trying to feed us more relevance in their SERPs and they implemented AuthorRank which had its run of success in increasing overall quality of Search results. Will implementing Co-AuthorRank make the results any better? Tell me your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  • This looks like a great idea Sean. I bet all those who join the cooperation will benefit a lot. Too bad that my authority blog doesn’t go with your blog topic but I will tweet this so people in my list know about this!

    • Hi Anh,
      Thanks! I appreciate the tweets Anh! I sure hope to get the big bad authors to try it with me so that the case study would be more interesting. I’ll be targeting a competitive keyword to boot too. I’ll let you guys know the results of the study once it’s done.

  • That’s an interesting find about co-authorship, Sean. Thanks for sharing that. Partnering up with other good authors can be a nice way to help your own author rank. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to co-author an article with someone who has more authority in the particular topic than you do. Google will no doubt see that as a plus for you and your author rank.

    • Thanks David. That’s what I’ll be trying to do – author an article with more authority than I have. Not that I have a high AuthorRank (I’ve authored only around 600 articles and that’s nothing compared to the big-shot authors on the web). I’ll let you know the results of the study once it’s done.

  • This is a good article Sean. Co-Author is a social signal I’ve not studied much but since you and AJ are tunning in, I think I will too.

    • Hi Neil,
      Awesome! It’s an up-and-coming Google Ranking factor in my own personal supposition. I think it’s very valid to make it a ranking factor too – and it’s quite hard to manipulate especially if Google has an automated metric to measure quality and quantity of authored posts.

  • daniel

    This is new stuff. thanks for sharing it!

  • Hey Sean,

    This actually is something really interesting, I heard of Author Rank, a few time ago, and now Co-Author Rank system (if it exist) is really an amazing creation to boost up the ranking of Authors.

    Thanks for the Share..!!

    • Hi Sai,
      I’m glad you actually find it interesting! I’ve yet to get any data to prove this so we’re still pretty much in limbo. I’m excited to start this experiment out!

      • I’m eager to check out it’s working, Keep it updated. Thanks once again Sean :)

  • Very nice post about co-authors. I too think with co-authors help our authorship could be made high reputed

  • I never heard of Author ranking until now but I have just re-read your older post and set up the about page linking to Google Plus.

    Hopefully it will help. Thanks for writing a very good post.

  • Abdullah

    This is a very interesting post. Thanks

  • Jason Harris

    Great points, must try these techiques, thanks for the share

  • Thanks for this post Sean. Don’t have yet enough information about this Co-Author Rank, I’ll look forward for more updates here on your blog. Nice topic!