Is Author Rank The Future of Google?
If you are an avid internet user, where do you go when you need a phone number? What about when you need information for research, or when you want to explain something to your children or write a paper for school? Chances are you hop online and look for quality content to absorb. If you are an experienced internet user, you know that you have to be careful about the content that you use because it may not be accurate. Google realized this same thing many years ago and ever since it has been searching for better and better ways to deliver high quality content to its users. It is estimated that over 70% of web surfers use a search engine to find what they are looking for. Google works hard to deliver the very best results and it is on the verge of doing that better than anyone else. Enter Google Authorship and the Author Ranking measurement.
The Pursuit of Perfection: Will the Google Authorship Program Deliver?
Before we jump into the Google Authorship program and AuthorRank, a little background is required. Most SEO's and web marketing professionals are aware of Google's PageRank measurement that determines the popularity of a web page. Several years ago, Google also applied for a patent for a measurement known as AgentRank. The aim of AgentRank was to tie content creators to the original works they created. Unfortunately at the time, there was no viable way to match authors with content. Now with Google Plus and the Google Authorship program, there is a viable solution emerging to help accomplish this task. AuthorRank is a natural extension of these initiatives and is a measurement of the caliber of content that an author produces. It takes into account things like average PageRank, Google Plus engagement level, authority of publishing sites, posting frequency, engagement on posts and social signals among other factors. Google Plus, the Authorship program and AuthorRank are part of a relentless pursuit on the part of Google to deliver quality content to their users while at the same time making it that much harder to game the system.
Rationale: Why Author Ranking is Better
Google's current ranking system is heavily dependent on links. In the beginning, inbound links to a website were one of the main factors in determining its value. In theory, when people find content they think is useful, they link their own websites or other web properties to it. In turn, this gives a signal to search engines that the content is important and when a query is used to find similar content, the search engine serves up that important content. The only problem with this scenario is that webmasters can create quality backlinks to their websites and give the appearance that their site is important when in fact it may not be. So there needs to be another method to determine if a site is worthy of being displayed first to searchers. The Authorship program and Author Ranking could potentially be that method.
Getting Involved: Is Author Rank Important To You?
Anyone can sign up for the Google Authorship program and start linking their content to their Google Plus account. All you need to do to get started is create a Google Plus profile (if you don't already have one) and then enter your email at plus.google.com/authorship. Click the validation link in the confirmation email you get from Google. You must then link your content with your Google Plus profile by either creating a link to your Google Plus profile from your web page or submitting an email that is hosted on the same domain as your content. If you submit an email provided by someone else, the link option will be for you.
Google and other search engines are constantly balancing the needs of three competing interests: those of searchers, those of advertisers and their own interests. Catering too much to any of them will mean failure overall. Finding content that is relevant for their users can be a tricky business, especially when there are so many people out there trying to get in front of the millions upon millions of people using search every day. The more our society becomes dependent on search and the internet as a central conduit through which all information is accessed, the more important it will become to make sure that content is accurate. Few fail-safes exist at this point to weed out that bad content yet market driven initiatives like the Authorship program and AuthorRank are working to bridge the gap between those looking for good content and those looking to provide it.
Have you heard of the Google Authorship Program or Author Rank? How do you see this impacting SEO in the future?
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.