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There are a lot of posts already on the web about this subject. Most are very long, and some quite technical. This post is different. It is written with the business owner in mind. If that’s you, then read on good Sir/Madam!

Google Author Rank – Setting the scene

Since 2005 Google have been looking for a way to better qualify content. The search engine giant became as popular as they are because they have always provided the best results for their users. Since day 1 their algorithm has been miles ahead of the other players in the market.

They have found innovative ways to better qualify and rank websites and pages. Perhaps the most famous of which is their Page Rank (PR) algorithm. I’m sure you’ve heard before that you should be trying to get other websites to link to your site? Yes? That’s because of the Page Rank machinery at Google.

Briefly, because it’s important to help understand Author Rank (AR), the way that PR (named after Larry Page, not a web page) works is that the PR algorithm takes note of all of the links that it finds on the web that point back to your webpages. It then scores these links based on their quality and relevance. What you end up with is a PR value of between 0 and 10. This is the value of your web sites Authority in Google’s eyes, because Google counts each link as a vote of confidence in your website by somebody else on the web.

Well Author Rank is (or will be) the new kid on the block. Page Rank revolutionized the landscape of the Internet and made Google the Big Dog in search. I believe that Author Rank will be round 2 and it will cement their position.

Before I get to explaining exactly what Author Rank is, understanding Authorship is important. Setting it up is even more important!

What is Google Authorship?

You may have noticed more and more as you search Google, on the SERPs you will see a little photo of the person who wrote a blog post or article beside a link to the article?

That’s Google Authorship at work and it’s very easy to set up. In fact if you are publishing content on a WordPress website you won’t need any technical knowledge at all to get up and running.

I have created (just for you) a presentation that will take you through the steps and you will be all done in about 5 minutes if you haven’t set this up already.

What is Google Author Rank?

At the moment Author Rank is only a concept for us as business owners. It has not been implemented (yet) by Google but in my opinion it is only a matter of time before it is. If and when it happens I believe that Author Rank will essentially bring about Google 2.0.

The concept is a relatively straight forward one. Simply put, Google will look at each piece of verified content an “Author” has produced and will then grade all of that content to create an overall Author Rank. This Author Rank value will help influence the position of that Author’s posts on the SERPs.

With Authorship linking your articles and blog posts to your Google+ profile, Google will gain a whole new level of understanding as to what is going on, content-wise on the web. Your Author Rank will be tied to your Google+ profile and when you post new content it will benefit or suffer from that Author Rank.

When combined with Page Rank Google should be able to deliver a much higher quality of search result to those searching.

 But how will Google determine your Author Rank score?

Indeed this is an interesting question and as of yet we can only guess at the answer. However with the evolution of some of the social metrics in recent times, our guess is at least educated as to what the factors might be:

  • How often has your content been shared and the AR of the people sharing it
  • How quickly it is shared
  • The overall “reach” of your content (how many eyeballs viewed it)
  • How relevant to your area of expertise are the people sharing your content
  • Is it always the same people sharing your content?
  • How many endorsements has your content received (+1’s on Google or Likes for Facebook)
  • How much discussion was created and what the AR of the people participating in the discussion was

Google Author Rank Outlook

It is not a penalty measure like Penguin and Panda so it is unlikely to turn the SERP’s upside down overnight but when it is launched Author Rank has the potential to have massively wide reaching consequences for websites.

It will certainly give websites that create high quality, frequent content a huge advantage. The good news for your business is that if you are already employing an Inbound Marketing strategy you will likely only have to make a few small changes to really reap the benefits of Author Rank.

Get a head start on Author Rank today

I’ve been saying for a while now that I believe all off-page SEO is heading towards the Inbound Marketing model <<insert link>>. If your company is already blogging regularly then a lot of the things on the list below will already be things you are doing on a weekly & monthly basis, however take a look and make sure there aren’t easy win’s below:

  1. Claim Authorship (how to guide in the presentation above) for your content
  2. Create Epic Content that gets as many +1’s, shares and RTs as possible.
  3. Create a strong following on Google+. You want the right type of people segregated into circles. Quality here (again) is as important but so is quantity. More specifically: quantity of people that have YOU in their circles
  4. Create a community around your blog and encourage sharing and discussion

We have no real way of knowing yet when Google will launch Author Rank but in my view it’s only a matter of time. Other reputable bloggers are estimating it will come live sometime in 2013. So my advice to you is not to waste any more time getting ready for it, because even if the day before launch Google decide to scrap it, performing the tasks above will help your business perform better online today.

So, have you setup Authorship yet? Any questions about Author Rank?