26 March, 2013

What Is Author Rank And Why Does It Matter?

If you have been using Google+ and always updating and interacting through it, you probably have heard something about Author Rank. Considering that Google is in a constant motion to deal a deathly blow to spammy content, Author Rank is expected to be the next big thing in terms of ranking. 

Background on Author Rank

As early as 2005, a patent was filed by Google on what was called Agent Rank. In the patent, Google described how a number of parameters were to be used in ascertaining the position of an agent in a specific niche. They included the popularity of an agent and his authority on a specific subject. Until recently, search results and popularity has been determined by algorithm, which considers different factors including links to other high quality web pages. Obviously, Google has been on a constant search for high quality web pages that meets the needs of searchers. 

Google did not have substantial qualitative data that justified social interactions as a factor in direct ranking. However, in 2011, a solution presented itself after Google plus was launched. They now had a platform that could be used to activate Agent Rank, which is today known as Author Rank. 

Metrics impacting Author Rank 

The simple fact about Author Rank is identifying individuals, the knowledge they have about certain subjects and how others react to the content they have published. Since Google has access to a lot of data, there are a number of metrics Google has deemed to impact Author Rank. These include engagements on Google plus, connections with other authors, comments, number of Google plus circles, authority on various social platforms, external engagement, shares and plus-likes. Others include various authority signals such as mentions through news resources, citations and articles among others, inbound links and the page rank of specific articles. 

While these metrics are not anything most have not heard about, the huge difference is the tying of all these metrics of Author Rank to a specific author providing the content, not just the website hosting the content. 

When Author Rank will officially roll out is not actually known but when it does, for many it will be too late. Obviously, it is not going to affect site traffic in the manner that Panda did but the impact will be definitely big. The rollout will certainly not be a penalty by Google's algorithm but websites preparing for it and building this rank for their website contributors will benefit a lot. The rollout will be a penalty in a way for brands and sites that are not preparing for it. The truth is it will take some time before Google is convinced Author Rank can be relied on. It could take years or a few days but since no one really knows, the idea is to begin working on Author Rank with immediate effect. 

How to start building Author Rank

You should begin by setting up Google Authorship apart from having a rich snippet for search results. Once this has been set up, Google will know exactly how to calculate or assign you the first ever Author Rank by tying the online identity you have and content you have created. 

Do not forget after setting up Google Authorship to track all the killer/quality content you have created across the web and make sure the rich-snippet markup has been corrected. There are tools that test rich snippets that can help in this. Otherwise, you will risk your killer content not being factored in your assigned Author Rank. 

Start or continue writing great content 

For those working on building a formidable Author Rank, it is not something hard. Any career SEO has a vested interest in having killer content out there, or they desire to do so. This can be done by creating content that shows your expertise, improves your reputation while demonstrating value on a specific field. Do not forget to help others in search engine optimizing by sharing knowledge. Always remember to create the kind of content compelling others to share it; the content audience want to know about and resources important to them. 

Focus on a particular topic 

With Author Rank, it will be possible to earn more than one rank in different topics as compared to Page Rank. Simply determine what you are passionate about, write all the content you can within that specific area. You might want to write on different topics but the Author Rank will definitely not be strong if you write on many topics as compared to just one. 

Constant use of Google+

Those who do not like Google plus will definitely have a big problem; Google is bound to make the most of your circles to come up with an Author Rank. Make sure people are compelled to begin following you. You can make the most of Google plus by updating it a couple of times a day by checking on +1, global and personal feed to find stories that interest you. 

Do not forget to befriend or follow as many great authors as much as possible on the Author Rank order and have them encircling you. Apart from following them, put as much content as possible that you have written before them.


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