What is AuthorRank?
The idea behind AuthorRank is building a personal brand, allowing users to identify your knowledge, opinions and expertise in a specific field. It is not limited to just one field though; an author can have a different rank per each topic they engage with. Up until now, Google hasn’t been able to rank authors, as there has been a lack of qualitative data. The introduction of Google+ has changed this, and social interactions have provided the information needed to build a ranking algorithm.
How can you build your own AuthorRank?
In order to start building this new type of rank, Google needs to be certain that the relationship between author and content is valid. As such, Google has launched an identity platform (Google+) and digital signature (rel=author). Without using the digital signature, you risk losing the ranking benefits from that piece of content.
Factors that influence AuthorRank
Here are but a few things that may be considered by the new Google algorithm and used to calculate your AuthorRank.
- How often is your content shared?
- Who shared your content?
- Do the same people always share your content?
- How many comments did your content generate?
- Did those who interacted with your content have expertise in that topic?
- Were the comments on your content of a positive sentiment?
- How often is your content endorsed? (i.e. +1, Like, Tweeted)
Impact of AuthorRank
A lot of suggestions have been made about what kind of impact AuthorRank will have. From the reading I have done, it would seem that no one is quite sure.
Personally, I would expect to see fewer authors, but more authoritative content. A high AuthorRank is difficult to gain but easy to lose so no-one will be willing to risk their rank reputation by producing weak content or by inappropriately endorsing the work of others. Google works hard to weed out ‘spammy’ content and this is another tool that will help them do it.
B2B content marketers in particular may find AuthorRank a very powerful tool. Making the effort to establish yourself as an authority in the B2B sector is likely to pay dividends, as many businesses who engage with B2B enterprises and products will be greatly influenced by the expertise of a specific person. Greater credibility and visibility can have other advantages too; if a search result is accompanied by author markup, its click-through rate is likely to be higher than those without it. As CTR increases, so does your search rank.
Here is an example. My colleague, Jack McLaren, used Google Authorship tags on the below article, and it has appeared in the number 1 ranking position. His Google+ circles are shown, giving him increased authority and visibility in search results. I’d say AuthorRank is well on its way to influencing search.
All signs have been pointing to Google issuing AuthorRank in the near future, considering their current emphasis on the importance of Social Media and the introduction of their own social platform Google+. There’s only one real way to prepare for this, and that’s to start producing good quality, interesting content that your audience will want to share and discuss.
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