What is Google Author Rank & What Does This Mean for SEO

Once upon a time, a well known search engine changed the SEO landscape for good.

Author rank is not totally new.  The green shoots of author rank was germinated  in 2005 when the idea of  ‘agent rank’ was blue printed by Google  as a way of appraising content  in terms of how well it has been received by its audience. Over recent years, these factors have  become more easily measurable,  since the influx of social media interaction &  social metrics, and will now get the oxygen it deserves, thus  a revamp of the algorithm is imminent – that there’s no doubt!   My guess is we ‘ll be seeing the influence of author rank over the next year as part of an incremental roll out, similar to the Panda updates.

 

So What will Author Rank mean in the future?

The cream rises to the top!

 

It will be used as a primary signal to gauge and rank quality, trusted content (articles, videos etc) more effectively.  This is already evident at the moment in social search, but  AuthorRank will become more prominent as a core influential factor within the search algorithm (alongside page rank).  Content written by credible and knowledgeable people will be rewarded  commensurately in search results and affect the ranking of pages and websites.

Along with the increased trend of the devaluation of back link signals, this is a natural progression towards Utopian search for Google inc. Just look at the amount of substandard content out there, most of it can’t be trusted and is repeated, copied, spun, re-written, moulded and published again and again.

Content is king but this heralds a new mantra, ‘Voted content is King’ – it’s all about reputation and trust. Works on the basis, it’s better to be weighed by many, than judged by one. Google is getting us, the readers, to carry out it’s filtering process.

 

Extrapolation and Possible Author Ranking Factors

1. Combined authority of social media profiles from Google plus, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other trusted Google social platforms

2. Aggregated page rank of authors content on own blog and 3rd party sites.

3. Number of shares/likes of historical shares of previous content.

4. Frequency of publishing content

5. Google + circles, number of contacts and follower intensity.

 

What Next?

How to Implement Author Rank On Your Website or Blog

As well as writing great content which is the first step to building up author credibility, you need to prove you are the owner of the content you have written.

All that is required is a link from your Google plus account (see contributor options in your google plus account profile) to your website domain and author page/profile ( say on your blog), and a reciprocal link  back from your blog to your Google plus account profile URL from each post.

If you have multiple authors for the same blog, then you will need to create author profile pages for each writer on your website. Every time you write a post, simply link to your google plus page (this is done automatically if you setup an author bio –  see plugin below for wordpress)

  •  Install the +1 button on your site and encourage  Google Plus users to share and validate content on your site.
  • Use author markup (rel=”me” and rel=”author”) wherever you write to link your content and author page to your Google+ profile

There are  relatively straightforward instructions from Google here >>, which shows you how to do this for your website.

  • If you have a wordpress blog, then there is a short cut easy way by installing this handy author plugin written by Russell and Elizabeth Jamieson of AuthorSure.

If you write for a 3rd party blog, then you can also get credit for this as well. Just link to your google profile using the ‘rel author’ attribute.  You also need to ensure your Google Profile links to back to the website’s home page, you are publishing on.

Once you have done this, you will be eligible to have your photo shown in Google news posts, showing your face pic.

To verify that you have setup everything correctly, there is a Structured Data Testing Tool by Google. Simply paste a blog post URL into the tool and if all is well, you will get something like this…..with a  green verified signal.

 

How to Leverage Author Rank for Search?

It’s clear to see that social communication like sharing and liking content is a fundamental human behaviour. If you like something, you tell your friends and family about it. Search engines are tapping into this and there is a strong affinity now with search rankings and social media.  People are more likely to share information than link to a post or blog about it.

Research, Engage & Build Relationships

1.   People Research: Source the most influential writers in your industry and engage socially with them on Facebook, Twitter and definitely Google +.  Verify the strength of their following and author status using social media tools/metrics.

2.   Friends of Friends: Tap into your influencer’s following.  The best writers also attract other talented writers and so on.

3.  Recruit the Best: Forget copywriters. Instead hire authors  with a strong natural social following and high content sharing ratio.

4. Show your face: Go to networking events, meetings for bloggers, seminars, exhibitions.  Prepare a target list in advance, chat to them and follow up afterwards. (try not to stalk them though)

5.  Be creative.  A picture tells a thousand words. There’s no doubt that in terms of link building it just got a 1000 times harder, but definitely more interesting. If you’re used to just writing plain boring articles for submission, then you need to think differently.  Infographics, videos, creative artwork are a must to enable you to stand out.

6.  The Final Credit: Remember to mark up your posts/content with a link back to your Google + profile.

If your an SEO Agency?

1. Round up your best internal writers by niche and ensure they implement author rank and author markup on all their content.

2. Create a dedicated author page for each member of staff linking from your company or blog about us page.

3. Task them with building online relationships within their industry.

4. Get them to write for other 3rd party trusted  and influential sites.

The power is now shifting to authors and their content – that there’s no doubt!   My advice is do not wait, act now and embrace Google authorship tagging.

 

rob@startadesign.com

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