The constantly evolving Google search results algorithm has a new element – AuthorRank. And the impact is going to be huge.
This is your essential guide to AuthorRank – how it will affect you & your online marketing efforts and the action you need to take now to make sure you don’t get left behind.
What is AuthorRank?
Have you ever bought a book based on the author alone? Because you liked their previous work you reasoned you would like new work by the same author.
AuthorRank is the online version of that. If previous posts and articles by the same author are popular, Google will give new material by the same person a boost in its search results.
The patent that covers Google AuthorRank specifically says author identity will be “used to influence search ratings” and adds a writer with a “high reputational score” will receive more promotion in Google search results than “unsigned content or content from less reputable agents”.
The new ranking indicator will work alongside the long-established PageRank, which aims to determine how relevant the content of a particular page is to a user’s search query. This new element focuses on the reputation of the person that created the content.
Once AuthorRank is fully integrated into its search engine – which will be soon – the highest ranking websites on Google will be those with content relevant to the users search (good PageRank) written by people with an expert online reputation (good AuthorRank).
How to Boost Your Google AuthorRank
Just as now, links to your site and web pages will be an important quality indicator of both the content and the creator. The difference is that a link from someone who already enjoys a good online reputation will be worth more than general links in a directory or a message forum not associated with a well-ranked author.
Forum and directory links will continue to be useful in attracting real visitors – they’re just not going to be considered as important in the Google search algorithm.
Even relatively throwaway activities like a share or a like by the right kind of person will count towards your AuthorRank.
If you’re active in more than one field, you’ll have different AuthorRanks for each distinct subject. If you have a well-established website on web marketing, for example, when you come to launch your new startup company which focuses on a different market you’ll be starting a new, additional AuthorRank.
When Will AuthorRank Start Influencing Search Results?
Google has yet to fully incorporate AuthorRank in its search results but the mechanism for identifying content authors is already in place. That’s why you sometimes see profile images of authors in Google results alongside standard listings without profile pics.
By the way, that type of listing tends to get more clicks. Another reason to claim ownership of your content.
What You Need To Do Now
Make sure you’re creating original, useful content that experts in your market will want to link to and share through their social networks.
Be active on Google+ because you can be sure the new social network is going to be Google’s main tool for determining what and who is popular.
Add a Google+ button to your site. Every click is a thumbs up for your content and your online reputation.
It’s vital you claim ownership of your content with a Google+ account which you can use to list the websites and blogs you write for and confirm your identity.
Below is the manual, DIY method to do this. If just reading it gives you a headache or you need to claim ownership on a multi-author site and you have WordPress, take a look at the free Author Sure plugin.
Claiming Your Content The Manual Way
If you haven’t already, join Google+ and create a profile. Make sure you add a profile photo so that it can be displayed in search results.
Next, click the blue Edit Profile button and then the Contributor To link that appears when you’re in editing mode.
Then, under Custom Link add your site title and the URL and click Save.
Now click on the Work section in the central column and add an email address. Click Save and then Done Editing on the next screen.
Next to your email address you’ll now see a Verify link. Click that and then click the link in the email you’ll get.
Still with me? There’s one last thing to do and that’s put what’s called a rel=”author” link on your site. This tells search engines where they can find the verified webpage of the author, which in this case is your Google+ Page. There are many ways to add the link but the easiest is to add a Google+ button to your site because that contains the rel=”author” link and also allows users to add you to their Google Plus Circles.
You can get the code for your Google Circles button here. If you’re using a content management system like WordPress, you should be able to pop it in a sidebar widget. Alternatively, take a look at this WordPress Google+ plugin.
Once you’re done you can check everything is set up correctly with Google’s Rich Snippets Tool, where you should see a preview of how your site listing will look when your profile image is added. You should find in about a week that your best-ranked posts start showing your profile image in Google search results.
What NOT To Do Now
Jump on every blog you can find adding a vacuous comment like, “Hey, great post”. The new algorithm has been developed to find and reward people who write quality content in all its forms. Make it a quality comment or don’t bother.
Do nothing. You’ll get left behind. Even if you do nothing else, make sure you claim your content.