Friday, 28 December 2012

Understanding Google AuthorRank And How You Can Use It

Google AuthorRank
If you are beginning to focus your online marketing efforts on content marketing, then you will have probably been thinking about AuthorRank.


History of AuthorRank

In 2005, Google decided that the next stage in creating the highest quality search results was the ability to rate and rank the people actually producing the results. A patent was filed for "Agent Rank", in which Google described their intention to use a number of decision factors to determine an "agent's" position within their subject area. These factors included how popular the agent is, and how trusted the agent is in delivering content in his subject area. For years, Google has used constant factors like domain authority and link popularity for ranking sites in searches, this would mark a significant move to use these factors to rate individuals.

However, it is only through the advent of Google's own social network, Google+ that they have had enough qualitative social interaction data to put this idea into practice. Finally, they have a way to supplement the computer led statistics with human factors to allow the activation of "AgentRank" now known as AuthorRank.


What Google Say

"We know that great content comes from great authors, and we're looking closely at ways this markup could help us highlight authors and rank search results." Othar Hansson, Google Software Engineer.

Judging the merit of a page from links alone doesn't make sense in today's world of social sharing and networks. The problem comes when an author moves to another website. The idea is that the authority the author has created with quality content should go with them. At the moment, if a highly rated author leaves a website, the quality ranking will remain with the website even if the people that take over produce work of a substantially lower quality. The previously highly rated author has to start from scratch building credibility and trust.

With AuthorRank, Google will "remember" the authority and credibility an author has built up. As a respected author, people will be able to start contributing and lift the level and traffic of an entire website. Obviously they will still have to produce great content and attract positive signals, but the starting point is much easier.


What you can do?

Google hasn't released any official statement yet about how AuthorRank is being used at the moment and its future direction. Although it is a possibility that it is not being used at all currently, considering that Google usually test algorithm updates in a "light version" before they implement the full update, we are most likely experiencing a small part of the impact. Plus there are a whole host of hints that suggest AuthorRank will play a big role in the future of search results: Authorship (the pictures that can be seen at the side of search results), Knowledge Graph. All these implemented additions exhibit Googles commitment to understanding the people and relationships that make up the web, and the importance of these for search rankings.

Uptake for Google and Authorship is increasing and it is likely that full influence of AuthorRank will be felt soon. Although it won't replace page rank when it does it will impact upon SEO significantly. The question is, are you ready?

You need to start building your AuthorRank and become an authority in your niche now.

  1. Claim authorship of your content. The first step to accumulating AuthorRank, you need to tie all your content to a verified Google+ profile. Your profile must link to all the pages that host your content, including guest posts. This authorship mark up not only ties your content to you but also allows for a picture to come up next to your content in the results. A feature that significantly increases click through rate.

  2. Create great content. Content that get social media shares and likes are signals to Google that your content is of high quality. Also remember that Google ranks authors per subject, so aim to become a true authority in your niche.

  3. Embrace social. Create relationships, engage with customers and everyone in your network. Build a consistent voice that people trust. Share content your network will find funny and interesting. Have Google hangouts.

  4. Create insightful content as guests posts for other websites. Now there are new benefits to guest blogging than a new audience and links. Getting your authorised content on good quality websites will send a clear signal to Google that you are respected in your field. Also beneficial is that shares and likes on these sites will then rub off on your authorship. If you consider that the website is likely to promote your post via their own platforms, there is great potential for influencers that may not have been in contact with your work before to give a signal that they like it.

If you link these considerations with your content marketing strategy, you will be well placed for when AuthorRank really starts to take affect in 2013.


About The Author: Helen is an online marketing assistant at Quayside Clothing. They sell wholesale clothing through two e-commerce websites: www.qtag.com and www.polo-shirts.co.uk

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