AUTHOR RANK IN A NUTSHELL
A while back Google struck upon the idea that in order to ensure search results were of the highest quality content, they’d need to figure out a way to accurately rate and rank the people actually producing the results. It’s only through the advent of recent Google ideas (specifically Google+ and Google Authorship) that they’ve found a viable way to put this idea into motion.
So what exactly does Author Rank refer to? In essence it means your reputation as a content creator will directly influence your page rank within Google search results. Each content provider will have their work graded, and it’s these grades that Google will use as information about how useful one’s content is within the big Google engine.
As mentioned, Google has been sitting on the idea of what they call “Agent Rank” for years, but have lacked the required platforms necessary to make it a reality. Thanks to the combination of a portable identity platform like Google+ and the recently rolled out Google Authorship (a way of linking your content with a Google+ profile), Google is likely to start implementing the Author Rank idea into their algorithm in the near future (as soon as they fix bugs and have enough testing data). And it could be the biggest shake up of Google’s basic search system that we’ve ever seen since Google Panda and Penguin.
HOW DOES AUTHOR RANK WORK?
One of the primary issues with the inherent way that search engines currently operate is that they are heavily reliant on links. In theory this would show that the site is offering valued content that other people highly rate. The problem is that links can be manipulated via various linking schemes, so low-quality content can get high-ranked positions in results. Author Rank however gives Google another powerful variable in making sure that only the most respected and authoritarian content on any given subject rises to the top of Google. Author Rank will also work on individual topics, meaning an author may rank very low in certain topics, but very high in others.
PREPARING FOR AUTHOR RANK
It’s easy to see that from the perspective of someone already hooked into the Google machine, the implementation of Author Rank could seriously alter how their pages are ranked. So how can one preempt the inevitable change up and not sink to the bottom of results? The following are a few ideas that would be smart to put into action (there are many more than these few however):
- It may sound obvious, but create the kind of valuable content that your audience is actually looking for. Don’t simply create content with the hope of link building, you’ll want to be making content people are actually going to want to share.
- Hone in on topics you’re passionate about, don’t just shotgun a whole host of subjects. Your content will be weaker.
- Start using Google+. Seriously, Google will be using your “In circles” to gauge your author rank, so you want to have a reason for people to follow you.
Once Author Rank comes into effect it’s going to shift up the way content providers are getting ranked. These changes may be a worry for those relaying on old linking schemes and poor, unwanted content, but people providing valuable content will instantly enjoy the benefits. The same goes for Google users, finding exactly what they want will become ever increasingly easier. Author Rank will allow for a more trustworthy and efficient way of ranking search results.
UPDATE 1: “AuthorRank is a huge development for journalists in that it can allow their content to receive a competitive edge in search. Authors who contribute to high authority websites and get people talking on the web are going to be ranked ahead of anonymous and low-profile writers. Since it’s no longer a matter of if AuthorRank rolls out, but when, every journalist should at least apply for Google Authorship and get an author rich snippet. The rest will take care of itself if they write great content.”
– Mike Arnesen, Senior SEO Analyst at SwellPath. See his post on Google Author Rank: How to Prepare for AuthorRank and Get the Jump on Google.
UPDATE 2: “As part of the Google Authorship pilot program, we’re experimenting with different ways to identify and highlight authors in search, such as having people implement authorship markup or signing up on our authorship page. We’ve heard feedback from many authors that the set-up process was complicated, so we’re constantly experimenting with ways to simplify it, and algorithmically identifying high-quality authors with Google+ profiles is one of the ways we’re testing.”
– Google Authorship Team
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