As Google fine-tunes Author Rank and Authorship, more people are speculating that these tools will be heavy influencers on where websites are positioned in search results, and how much traffic sites will get. Through these tools, Google is connecting writers to their content and will be ranking their authority as a subject matter expert. It’s very likely this authority will affect where content is positioned in search engine results.
Are you wondering how this affects your business? If you’re haphazardly using content that doesn’t deliver value to your audience, it’s time to stop. That strategy will probably reduce an author’s credibility and your website’s search engine rankings. Instead, focus on delivering valuable content by reputable authors. This will increase your website’s search engine rankings and give you more traffic. It will also prepare you for the day Author Rank is fully implemented.
Read on to learn more about Author Rank and Authorship. I’ll explain how Google is using them to entice people to produce good content. You’ll also discover content marketing tips to help you capitalize on Google’s strategy and bring more people to your website.
What is All the Fuss about Google Author Rank and Authorship?
To help you better understand this, I’ll give you a quick history lesson. Google prides itself on delivering high-quality and relevant information to its users. The search giant uses PageRank to measure the quality of a website. Among other factors, PageRank uses inbound links to determine a site’s authority. Websites with many links from credible websites are rewarded with a higher PageRank, a better position in search results and usually more traffic. However people began manipulating PageRank by using methods to acquire links that weren’t based on credibility.
This made the search engine giant grumpy, so among other efforts to combat ranking manipulation, Google filed a series of patents starting in 2005 that described a ranking system that has come to be known as Author Rank Once fully implemented, it will keep tabs on how valuable and worthy an author’s content is by measuring people’s reactions to it. Content that’s shared, draws comments and gets kudos (pluses on Google) increases the author’s credibility.
Authorship works with Google+ to verify an author’s identity. Code snippets are used to connect authors on Google+ with their web content. Mark Traphagen clears up much confusion about these two tools in his post about Author Rank and Authorship
How Google Author Rank and Authorship May Impact SEO
Through Author Rank, it’s predicted that Google will reward content created by writers that have authority with higher search rankings. Google will restrict results to content about topics an author has become an expert on. For example, someone known for cooking probably won’t rank high on an article about bird watching. You may have guessed this by now, but authors that are serious about SEO must start spending time on Google+ because their social standing in that network will influence their Author Rank.
Since Authorship connects writers with their Google+ profile page, their photos qualify to appear in search engine results along with a byline. This is a bonus because a photo draws a person’s eyes to the listing and writers are finding it’s bringing them higher click-through rates. Some have reported a 30 – 40% increase!
These tools are going to prevent many of the old-time tricksters from getting higher search rankings quickly. Author Rank will prevent unreliable content from floating to the top of search engine results. While Authorship will make it more difficult to manipulate the creator behind the content.
Content Marketing Strategy Must be a High Priority
It’s time to move resources from promotions that aren’t performing well to content marketing. Here’s a two-fold content strategy that may help your efforts. It involves creating writers that are authority superheroes and delivering top-notch content that’s incredibly valuable to your audience.
- Choose a couple of people in your organization who are authorities on your products, services and market to be the authors of your content. If the authors of choice are short on time, provide resources that can help them with research, editing and minor content additions.
- Turn authors into superheroes by making sure they are active in social communities where peers, customers and prospects hang out, including Google+.
- Authors should share useful information, engage with people in networks and provide legitimate kudos to others. Social communities frown upon self-promotion so avoid this behavior.
- If you have doubts that you can build superheroes, then go out and find some. Hire them to write content that will consistently appear on your website. Create a relationship with the writers so they understand your business and are part of your brand. Make sure the content only appears on your website.
Make sure all of these authors are using Google Authorship! You need to provide a link from their content to their Google+ profiles, and each of them needs to link back to your site from the “Contributor To” section of their profiles.
Create Killer Content
- Do some research to find out what information interests your audience. Start by talking with them to find out what issues they are having or what type of education would be most useful for them. You can also use social media or Google Alerts to learn the types of problems people are having that your products and services can solve. Then write content that educates and helps people solve these problems.
- Google published guidelines for producing good content that include:
- Write original information, reporting, research, or analysis.
- Provide in-depth coverage of a topic that’s useful to others.
- Content shouldn’t be mass-produced, outsourced to many others or displayed on many websites.
- The information should have more substantial value than other pages in search results.
- See the resources section for a link to these guidelines.
- Create content that’s fun and entertaining as you impart knowledge. Adding funny images to communicate points is sure to get some giggles from your readers.
- Use an editorial tool to help you plan and manage your strategy. I use this calendar from HubSpot for my blog. For maximum results, try to add fresh content at least every two or three weeks. More frequently is better if you’re able, but don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Quality is always more important!
- Don’t just promote your services and tell people how good your business is. Those marketing days are over and self-promotion usually gets ignored now.
- Analyze your content to find out which topics produce the most traffic, engagement, shares and comments. Then provide more informational content on the most popular topics.
Make Your Website the Hub for Your Content Marketing
Your content should originate on your website. Use social networks to get the word out about it and share teasers with others, but bring them back to your site to read it. This will increase traffic to your site and build its authority on the topic. Both of which contribute to higher rankings in search engines. It will also build your brand’s authority. A blog is a good way to do this because you can easily add articles to it. I use WordPress for my blog because it’s easy to use, SEO friendly and by default uses Pingomatic to distribute posts to many search engines. Blogger is another popular blog platform.
Don’t make the mistake of using social networks as the hub of your content marketing. You have little control over a social platform and the experience it will deliver to your audience. Whereas, you have complete control over a website or blog and can dictate the layout and user interface design. Plus, it’s much easier for people to find content on a website or blog, and register for your email list. Most importantly, your brand will look more professional, have more creditability and build more trust.
Let’s Get Started
These resources will help you begin your content marketing endeavor:
Setting Up Authorship
- If you own a website and have an email address that matches your domain name, then set up Authorship by linking your Google Plus profile to your blog or website
- If your email doesn’t match your domain, or you want to set up Authorship for an article you’ll publish on another website, refer to the resources in The Ultimate List of Google Authorship Resources by Raven Tools
- If you want to set up Authorship for your brand, read rel=author or rel=publisher: Which Should I Use? (Updated) by Mark Traphagen.
- Google Authorship, Author Rank and Social SEO with Mark Traphagen and Martin Shervington.
- Test to see if Authorship is set up properly with Google Webmaster’s – Rich Snippet Verification Tool
- This article will give you a thorough background about Author Rank and how it affects search engine results: Author Rank by AJ Kohn
- For current news, check out the Authorship & Author Rank Community on Google+
- Log into your Webmaster account to read Google’s good content guidelines. Once in, go to Webmaster Academy and click on “Read more” under “Create great content.” If you don’t have a Webmaster account, I highly recommend you create one There’s an abundance of information that will improve your website.
- Content Marketing 101 by Copyblogger
Since Google is still working things out, now’s the time to make the shift to building credible authors and a good content marketing strategy. If you’re not already engaging on Google+, get on there. By building your strategy now, your website will be in better position to gain more traffic when Author Rank starts to influence Google search. And, you’ll be more likely to leave your competitors behind!