Google’s ranking algorithm – the formula it uses to determine where a website or page should appear in search engine results –has now begun to include a factor called AuthorRank.
AuthorRank is Google’s way of identifying individual creators of content and tying that content to each author. The more quality content an author produces and the more relationships that author has online, the higher the individual AuthorRank.
In turn, the content produced by highly rated authors is going to be ranked higher in Google's search results than similar content by authors with lower AuthorRank – because they have higher authority, in the same way that pages with more inbound links are given more weight.
Although AuthorRank clearly has benefits to individual writers, it has implications for publishers, too. If your business’s marketing strategy includes content marketing, such as a blog, it benefits the company blog if the individual contributors have a strong AuthorRank.
Let’s say you have been outranking your competitor’s blog by a combination of link-building, commenting and other promotional tactics. But your competitor takes steps to increase the AuthorRank of the contributors to its blog. By doing nothing else, your competitor may now begin to outrank you.
How Can Businesses Maintain or Increase Their SEO in an AuthorRank World
First, don’t take your foot off the gas with your regular SEO efforts. Those factors still apply.
But now is the time to start building up the AuthorRank factor for the authors of your business’s content, whether it’s on a company blog or the company website.
Ways Authors Can Increase AuthorRank:
- Claim authorship of content. The first step is to have a Google Profile—which is now the same thing as a Google+ Profile.
- Same domain. Ensure that either your work or personal email address is from the domain where you're claiming content.
- Link up. Add a link from this profile to the company blog under the "Contributor to" section.
- Follow the rules. On the blog (or other content), there are a few specific criteria: each post must have a byline, and you should have an identifiable photo. The easiest way to accomplish this is with a contributor page where you can create the necessary author tag. Insert the tag <rel=”author” link=”your-googlplus-url” /> (replacing the link URL with the URL to that person’s Google+ Profile).
- Create shareable content. Volume of content isn’t sufficient to raise an author’s AuthorRank. Quality is much more important, and Google seems to define quality by shareability: likes, shares, +1’s. Although shares across the web will help, it’s a safe assumption that shares within Google+ will be weighted more.
- Grow Google+ followers. Quality content is one part of the puzzle in AuthorRank. Quality following is the other. The greater an author’s network, the greater the author’s influence, especially if the author interacts with high AuthorRank profiles. Think of it like Google’s version of Klout.
- Check your stats. See your progress in WebMaster Tools under Labs-Author Stats where you can see information about pages for which you are the verified author.
Have you noticed that Google’s own social network, Google+, plays a big part in AuthorRank? It’s no surprise. The impact of Google+ on overall search rankings on Google continues to grow, as we first noted last January.
It’s rapidly moving from optional to mandatory as a part of a social media marketing strategy—as Google no doubt intended all along.
- Content Verve: Understanding Google's Author Rank in Content Marketing
- SEOMoz: How to Prepare for AuthorRank and Get the Jump on Google
- Raven Tools: Ultimate List of Rel=Author Resources
- Search Engine Journal: The Rising Influence of AuthorRank
Most businesses are too busy growing to be experts at social media marketing and SEO, too. That’s why we’re here. Instantly expand your marketing expertise with a consultation from CDG Interactive. We’ll cut through the buzzwords and tell you what to do next—and why. Contact us today.