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Authorship isn't supposed to impact rankings directly, right?

But this case study from +Craig Addyman suggests that, at least in one instance, there seems to be an uncanny connection:
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So, Rand, got time for some interview? :P
As +Craig Addyman says at the end of the post, there are variables that may have had a more significant impact than just adding your authorship, +Rand Fishkin 
For instance, the same showing 10 posts in home page and not 100 anymore is a huge change, because those 100 links (plus all the others usually present in the HP) were drying the link equity the home page passed:
1) to the same internal links present in the home;
2) to the internal pages/section of the site.
Reducing that number, even if the post with your authorship wasn't anymore in the home, probably gave a better link equity to the post URLs itself.

Then, there the date change... and blog posts - especially when a blog is getting traction from an indexation point of view because of its increased new postings - are strongly biased by Freshness... and I can imagine that queries like "Interview with..." "Interview about..." etc etc are those kind of queries that are affected by Freshness.

Beside all this, it is still a good experiment, that maybe should be backuped by others in a more "neutered" conditions.
+Rand Fishkin I posted the following comment on that post:

To add to some of the other comments indicating that this test lacked a few controls I’d like to see before I would accept “Aha! Author Rank!” your interview has been online for almost a year now. We’ve seen other cases where making any change to an older post, but especially adding Authorship, can cause Google to recrawl the post, and in so doing perhaps pick up other signals or relevancies that it hadn’t before.

In some cases, Google will treat such material as “new and fresh,” and temporarily pop it up in the rankings. The Authorship may have triggered Google to think “Oh, here’s some fresh content highly relevant to the query, so lets shoot it up and see what searchers do with it.” If it starts getting links and such, it may stay there (or at least stay higher than it was previously). If not, it will begin to drop down over the next few weeks.

Keep an eye on it. but also benchmark its backlink profile now and watch to see if you’re getting new links because of its new position.
Great article!

I've got it at #7.

It is interesting that you got a boost to the top spot. But in your article, you mention that there were a few changes to the site including site layout and more content creation. In my humble opinion, these are also metrics that may have boosted the ranking. 

But I DO think that authorship is a metric for increased rankings. 
Signed in for personal search or is this true organic for everyone?
I show the article in position #9.
 That's browsing using a private window, customizations turned off, location set to "United States". Also appended my query with "&pws=0" (although Im not sure that does anything anymore).
+Gianluca Fiorelli I totaly agree wirh your consideration. In order to understand the perfect correlation between cause and effect the test ambient should be as neutral as possible. Links on page should be kept stable to isolate the pure author influence. Freshness is also a strong factor for this kind of query
As with anything its difficult to pinpoint what's driving a ranking increase...this does suggest that authorship may have played a part in this case.

+Mark Traphagen I'm pretty sure Google knows the difference between fresh content and old content that's just had authorship added?
Just to add a little further, while I don't disagree, it's important to note that there have only been 6 posts since October, hardly earth shattering, also structure should worsen the pages likelihood to rank, not getting equity straight from the homepage. Like the article I'm not suggesting it is the be all end all just simply reporting on what I have found. Speaking with Rand further, we agree further testing is needed. 

I hope this will spawn more tests that will be a little more conclusive.
As someone pointed out in the comments on the post, it is also possible that Google would see an article about  Rand Fishkin that is by Rand Fishkin as highly relevant to this query. That's not really "author rank," its just relevancy to query. Perhaps a little Hummingbird effect?
+Jon Dunn I have seen testing where updating older content in any way, including adding structured data markup, can cause it to pop back up, at least temporarily, in the rankings. Trying to remember who posted that, but I think it was either +Mike Arnesen or +Jonathon Colman 
+Mark Traphagen Yea this is what I think is going on. +Gianluca Fiorelli just for clarity, the number of posts showing was 34, I had it set to 100 within wordpress. sorry if that was misleading, I should have been clearer on that. 
I'm with +Mark Traphagen on this. An article about Rand by Rand in first position can only be an indication of the new Author Rand Algorithm

We just all need to change our name to +Rand Fishkin, grow an awesome beard & post WhiteBeard Friday videos once a week to dominate Google ;)

+Mark Traphagen +Duncan Rice Ha! "Author Rand" sounds like a great algo factor. :-)

BTW - Mark - excellent comments and totally agree that there might be a lot of conflating factors here. That said, it's definitely worth some follow-up testing, IMO!
+Mark Traphagen It wasn't me who posted that test, but it's intriguing for sure. 

So, as I understand it, this new AuthorRand factor is basically just,

if ($Author == +Rand Fishkin) {
      if ($beard == TRUE) {
            $postion == 1;

Good deal!
+Mike Arnesen thats' it, except we're checking the effect of the white streak in the beard, which we think may be some kind of Google verified face mark.
I agree with +Mark Traphagen. The fact that Rand is perceived as the author and that he is the author of an article about himself, would likely lend a rank increase for his own name. Though, I am showing #4, and the sites above it are beating it with traditional SEO factors, even when Rands G plus is far more authoritative. So, even in this instance, it doesn't appear to be a huge factor, especially if there were other modifications as others were indicating.
Just a thought but it seems to me, this improvement may not have been directly related to the authorship being put in place, but more indirectly, the pairing of quality website authorship and related quality Google Plus posts. 
BTW, overnight the post dropped from #1 to #7 in my incognito search. Already losing ground, which confirms to me what I stated above. This was a temporary boost due to the high relevancy of Rand as author with "interview with rand fishkin,' not "author rank." If it were author rank, I would expect the ranking to last much longer.
+Mark Traphagen I don't know about "confirms" (either with the initial experiment or the drop you're seeing), but it certainly suggests that your explanation is a very plausible one. Let's see if we can reproduce it!
Very true +Rand Fishkin "confirms" was too hasty a word. It's holding steady for me right now at #6 (excluding a Google News result)
+Craig Addyman Here we are a couple of weeks later and I still see your post ranking high for "interview with rand fishkin" (#2 for me incognito) and with +Rand Fishkin's incorrect authorship still applied.

Would you mind helping the experiment by at least temporarily removing Authorship from that page? It would be interesting to see if there is any subsequent ranking change. Of course, it will be harder now because I'm seeing that your page has gained some links in recent times. cc: +Eric Enge 
+Mark Traphagen by now I think it will be a tough test due to the links.  In addition, +Rand Fishkin would have to also remove the site from his Contributor To section of his site too (yes, he lists it there).

I am not sure we can turn back the clock of time on this one though.  The links the post has gained are harder to get removed.

As you noted Mark, this is also not correct authorship either (the correct author is +Craig Addyman), so this is an example of one of the problems with AuthorRank for Google.
You're probably right +Eric Enge - 

Though part of the reason why this was incorrectly attributed lies with +Craig Addyman. He does not have his name anywhere on that page. He should try adding a byline "By Craig Addyman" at the top of the interview and see if Google changes the Authorship once the page is recrawled.

Of course, Craig may be enjoying the clicks he's probably getting from having Rand's photo showing for his page so high in Google ;-)
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