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Google Author Rank – What it is and why you should care

Contributor: David Brim February 27, 2013

The web has given everyone an easy way to publish their ideas and content with the world.  Similarly, the web has made it very easy for us as consumers to find information about a variety of topics.  The issue is that sometimes the content that we find after a search query may not be credible, or add value.  A company utilizing black hat, or unethical SEO strategies may have tricked the search engines to rank pages containing low-value content very high on the search engines, while high-value content created by someone extremely credible on the topic may sink to the bottom of the Google results only to go unfound.

Google Author Rank
AuthorRank is Google’s solution to this problem.  Google is essentially seeking to bring accountability to the web, which will intern improve their search engine results for their users.

Anyone can create content related to a given topic, but not everyone is an authority on the content that they create.  In the past Google looked heavily on the quality and quantity of back links a webpage, or website received to assess their authority.  More recently Google and other search engines incorporated social statistics related to a brand, or specific web page into their assessment of a website’s authority and rankings.  If a certain webpage received more tweets, shares, likes, and comments these metrics were considered along with the other rankings factors.  AuthorRank goes a step further and assesses not only the statistics related to the domain and webpage itself, but also that of the individual author of that content.

Imagine if people were forced to associate their social security number with every piece of content they published online. Ok, well maybe not your social security number, but a unique identifier for every individual.  This unique identifier would essentially act as a digital signature to reveal to the world, and Google, that you are the one who created a certain piece of content regardless of what website you published the content on.

Now imagine that we also associated our social media accounts and interactions with one another through this unique identifier. With this knowledge Google would be able to incorporate many different factors about each of us into their algorithm that will improve their search engine rankings.

Some factors could include:

  • Amount & quality of your social connections
  • Quality & quantity of inbound links to previously published content
  • Number & quality of social shares or +1s for previously published content
  • Credibility of websites you contribute to
  • Your Interactions and Engagement on social networks
  • And more!

Equipped with this information Google could determine not only if you are likely real person, but also what influence you have, and have historically had related to a given topic.  They could also assess if your online behaviors appear natural, the quality of your network and how your previous content has been received by others.  All of this could then go into how they index and rank the content you publish online.

Well stop imagining…this is in the process of happening right now! Google is encouraging people to associate their Google+ profile with the articles and blog posts they publish.  This can be done by adding a snippet of code into the html of the page your content appears on, or linking to your Google+ account in the author box of the post.   If you choose to utilize the snippet of code to claim your authorship, simply add the code below into the head section of your webpage’s html. Be sure to replace the number with your unique Google+ profile number or vanity url.

<a rel="author" href="https://plus.google.com/109331020051967029928" />

Soon after you have claimed your authorship for a given piece of content or blog post, you will notice that your Google+ picture will begin showing underneath the posts. This image helps to differentiate your listing in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) and can help your content obtain a higher amount of click through rate, which means more traffic to that particular article.

David Brim Authorship Listing

Searchers can also view other posts that you’ve created around the web by clicking “More from Author Name“.

More on Google+

Recently I’ve had a lot of people ask me about Google+. What is it? Why should I be using it? I don’t get it, can you explain? etc.

Google+ is a social network that Google launched in mid-2011.  If you have a Google account you can easily sign up for Google+ by visiting http://plus.google.com/.

This video gives a great (and funny!) overview of Google+. I thought I’d share…

Once you have set up a Google+ profile you want to add a link to all of the websites you contribute to in your Google+ account and verify your authorship.  More can be learned about Google Authorship here: https://plus.google.com/authorship

I hope you found this post to be informative!