Google authorship rich snippets are everywhere these days and they supposedly do help increase traffic to your web site by improving the visibility of your listing in the search results. But can they help you rank higher? Maybe...
In a recent video by Matt Cutts, as I reported at Search Engine Land, Matt implies pretty directly that using the rel=author data can help Google understand the authority and credibility of the individual who posted a piece of content.
Here is a summary of what Matt said, I pulled out the snippets:
I'm pretty excited about the ideas behind authorship. Basically if you can move from an anonymous web to a web where you have some notion of identity. And maybe even reputation of individual author. Then web spam, you kind of get the benefits for free. It's harder for the spammers to hide over here and in some anonymous corner... If Danny Sullivan writes something on a on a forum or something like that I'd like to know about that even if the forum itself doesn't have that much PageRank or something along those lines so... so I do expect us to continue exploring that. We might be able to help improve search quality... and I think will continue to look at it to see how to use rel=author in ways that can improve search experience.
Here is the video:
Do you think Google should use rel=author to improve search quality? Do you see issues with that?
Either way, if you are not on Google+ or using rel=author on your content site, get to it!
Forum discussion at Google+.