How to leverage Google’s AuthorRank for your site

AuthorRank has become one of the buzzwords of SEO during the last year and half, but is it the game-changer people expect and how will it impact strategy?

Content quality remains the focus

As we are all very aware, Google is constantly looking to enhance the SERPs by driving out low quality sites and their content. One way they are looking to do this is by using not just the quality of a site when sorting results, but the standard of the writer (or authors) that contribute to them.

Authors who constantly publish high quality content on reputable sites will now start to get more and more credit for this and as such, the content they write will start to dominate the results pages.

Exactly how Google are going to develop this concept is still up for debate, as are the timescales involved with its complete implementation.

Is this the end for PageRank?

The general consensus is that AuthorRank will not be replacing PageRank as a high-level metric but as we have been told over the years, it is dangerous to solely use PageRank as a gauge of quality.

AuthorRank has basically added a new metric that can be used in conjunction with other trusted criteria such as domain authority and age. The reputational score of an author will be used more and more in the future when Google orders natural search engine results.

How is AuthorRank defined?

As with many issues faced by SEOs today – exact clarification has been murky leaving it up to the individual to use their intuition and skills to devise a strategy. What we do know is that regular authors can link their Google+ profile to any content they write for the web using rich snippets.

These authors are then ranked based on how much engagement their articles get from other users – such as tweets, likes, +1’s and other social signals as well as comments.

In turn, the influence or trust of the individuals interacting with these pieces of content is then taken into account – this is similar to how a Klout score is defined but a lot more complex.

Obviously, the more an author writes about a particular subject or industry – the higher their AuthorRank will become for that topic over time.

How can AuthorRank be effectively deployed in 2013?

Taking this into account, there are a number of ways that AuthorRank can be utilised to boost search engine rankings. The two fundamental ones are:

  • Building up the AuthorRank of existing writers through the completion of top quality and relevant articles.
  • The sourcing of trusted writers from a niche.

This can be done by conducting Google searches for desired keywords and seeing which rich snippet enhanced results appear. This will tell you who the authoritative authors in this market or space are and enable individuals to be contacted via platforms such as their Google+ profile.

A good factor to bear in mind is how many Google circles an author is present in – and how relevant these are to the sector content is required for.

As search engine optimisation continues to become dominated by content focused disciplines, it will become more and more important to integrate AuthorRank into your SEO strategy in 2013.

Charles Whitworth, senior SEO copywriter, Rippleffect

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