The arrival of Google AuthorRank, and its cousin Google Authorship, reorders the digital universe in a way that can send digital importance and social influence soaring for business owners, journalists, writers, bloggers, entrepreneurs and executives active in social media.
Authorship and AuthorRank are part of a new and rapidly evolving Google initiative with immediate game-changing implications. Years in the making, and based on several Google patents, Authorship raises the ante for all business owners and executives by making social media participation even more important – and potentially effective – than ever.
Used properly, Authorship can greatly boost your digital profile and deliver higher returns on your social effort. Early studies show that having Authorship linked to content you create increases click-through rate 150%. From now on, adding Authorship to any blog or site that carries your bylined content should be standard practice.
Here’s the rub, however: This does not happen automatically. To benefit from Google Authorship you must set it up and use it. Getting it right to begin with is crucial. The Google Authorship signup site has basic implementation instructions, but there are several options, depending on your circumstances. It’s mostly a matter of giving Google the digital means (via a Google+ account and email associated with your bylined content) to verify the content is yours.
Authorship, as you might surmise, tracks individuals, not businesses. I applied for Authorship (here) in a matter of minutes for my articles on BizBest and was approved for the program via email a few days later. As one cool side benefit, I now have my very own Google search results site showcasing 10+ pages of just my content, with photo and bio.
In techie terms, Authorship is able to work its magic via a micro data format Google calls “Rich Snippets.” Pulling this off took Google years to figure out, but what’s important for you is this: “Old-school” factors such as keywords and link-building that once held sway in search will now play second-fiddle to authorship, authority and social influence for business owners, entrepreneurs, journalists, bloggers and other content-creators who take advantage of it.
Be aware: These changes are already in place and gaining momentum. And although Google Authorship has had a bumpy, confusing start and little publicity, it’s something every social biz owner must grasp. It signals a sea change in how your unique social media contributions (read that as “content”) get scored and shown by the search giant.
Authorship already influences search results, and that has big implications when your name is associated with a brand. Not only will your content appear higher, it will be displayed higher still for anyone connected to you via Google+, which Google quickly determines on the back end.
Testing Authorship Power
I recently ran a test to see if this works, with amazing results. First I wrote 16 Sweet Social Marketing Tools You Gotta Try, published the post to my blog BizBest, and shared it on Google+ among other places. A top blog in the startup space called MyVenturePad picked it up off my RSS feed and published it on that site, as did Business Insider in its War Room section.
A few days later I searched Google for “social marketing tools” and found that I owned three of the top ten organic results on the page, including two in the top 5. And this is for a highly competitive search term, evidenced by a dozen advertisers who paid to be on the same page that I was dominating for free, thanks to Authorship.
The Second Shoe
AuthorRank – an anticipated change to the Google search algorithm – is essentially the second shoe to Authorship, and second cousin to PageRank. Google has for years been on a quest to squelch crappy content and surface trustworthy, high-quality content created by influential and knowledge people – like you. Google seems to finally have all the pieces in place to take those efforts to the next level.
Web pundits speculate that AuthorRank will change the search game as we know it. It will definitely affect Google PageRank, and the impact will likely be huge. Social execs, professionals and business owners who understand these things now will be far better positioned to exploit the changes as they happen.
A 6-Point AuthorRank Assault List
- If you haven’t yet figured it out, this is also a giant reason to embrace Google+. Sure, it’s a drag to need yet another social media platform. But several factors in determining AuthorRank depend on what you do with G+, including the number of +1’s you get, your involvement in Circles, and so on. If you’ve avoided G+ (as most of us have) it’s time to step up.
- This further undermines traditional SEO. But that’s good, because now it’s less about a bunch of tags and keywords, and much more about content quality and digital authority.
- Set up Google Authorship for yourself and any other “thought leaders” you might have in your business. Remember: It must be individuals; can’t be a company.
- Focus on publishing high quality content and share it on social media (don’t forget Google+). Building connections with other high AuthorRank influencers will also work in your favor.
- Authorship has its own metrics (called Authorship Statistics) available on Google with lots of data on your content and search impact. You can even track stats on specific pieces of content.
- Creating high-quality, shareable (read “interesting”) content is key. You’ve heard this before, but AuthorRank makes it even more important. Don’t be afraid to specialize. In fact, since you can build separate AuthorRank in multiple topic areas, this is a good idea.
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About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.