Whether you are an SEO or Social Media Professional, or just a business owner seeking to compete — there is a new “next best”, “hottest”, “greatest” thing for you to learn about and incorporate in your website marketing. And for once, this one is big, really big, and will effect all of us!
Google has now formally launched “new” their Google Authorship platform, allowing content producers everywhere to rejoice, and SEO's to possibly groan!
What is Google Authorship?
In 2009, Google was granted a patent from the USPTO on something called “Agent Rank”. The basics of this were that they would now use “reputation scores” that they would computer for “agents” who created content across the internet. This would allow them to effectively weed out spam, and give higher credibility to endorsements (think backlinks!) from certain “agents”.
If you prefer a more accurate definition, than this abstract from the USPTO may interest you:
“The present invention provides methods and apparatus, including computer program products, implementing techniques for searching and ranking linked information sources. The techniques include receiving multiple content items from a corpus of content items; receiving digital signatures each made by one of multiple agents, each digital signature associating one of the agents with one or more of the content items; and assigning a score to a first agent of the multiple agents, wherein the score is based upon the content items associated with the first agent by the digital signatures.”
Agent Rank has emerged in the Google-verse as “Authorship”. In essence, Google Authorship is a simple “link” between content you produce and publish on your website and other websites with your Google + profile. While it will of course help address and enforce ownership of content issues, without requiring complex legal filings, the real value to most of us is that Google Authorship will allow for something called Author Rank.
This will allow you and I as content producers to accurately document when and where our online musings first appeared. Whether in a website post, a Twitter tweet, or across social media – it's all tracked! Google Authorship will also allow people who want to read everything you've ever composed to easily track it down.
Very cool, and yes, of course, like all things Google, a bit scary!
So… Google now fights plagiarists and web spam? Yes – apparently so! As cool as the concept is to combat online plagiarism, the real value is of course for SEO. Read on….
Google Author Rank
Google Authorship has given birth to the concept of Google Author Rank. If you are “plugged in” to the SEO universe, you know that Google Author Rank is the hottest topic in SEO – from Local search through competitive global SEO. While there was lip service to it throughout the 2nd half of 2012, beginning in March 2013 Google Author Rank has reached the boiling point.
Let's think this through a bit…why does Google Author Rank matter?
So…Google can now track WHO creates content, what the content is about, and where/what it may link to.
If you are an SEO-type, this may seem like either the holy grail of search engine optimization or a whole bunch of new work! By setting up Google Authorship for each of your clients, they will be able to definitely gain thought leadership
I could write up a great “how-t0” guide on Google Authorship, but luckily enough I've been on vacation! And what does that have to do with anything? I read this phenomenal article from ANDREAS PETER HØGFELDT ANDERSEN of Webmaster-Land – THE ULTIMATE FAQ FOR GOOGLE AUTHORSHIP AND AUTHOR RANK. (And no, I'm not related in any way to Andreas eter Hogfeldt Andersen!)
I highly recommend it, and honestly suggest you bookmark it as required reading.
Andrea covers very effectively the following:
What are the benefits of setting up Authorship for my website?
How do I setup Google Authorship on my website using e-mail? (step-by-step)
How do I setup Google Authorship on my website using authorship markup? (step-by-step)
How do I test if I have setup Authorship correctly?
What is Author rank?
Does Author rank exist?
How can I raise my Author Rank score?
Where can I see my Author Rank score?
The above and many more are covered there in detail, so I strongly suggest you spend some time reading through this concise summary!
Google Author Rank – Holy Grail of SEO?
Once you've properly set up your Authorship, how will it help you with your SEO efforts? How is Authorship and Google Author Rank the realization of the SEO pursuit for the holy grail?
First…Cheap, spammy backlinks generated from tools and other methods to artificially inflate a websites ranking will see a dramatic reduction in importance. Why?
Google will use the concept of Google Author Rank (still a bit nebulous) to evaluate content producers and effectively “rank” content and of course links from these content creators in terms of influence in a specific subject area.
So… the days of blackhat webspam techniques, for example, automatically generating thousands of links with a specific anchor text to a website for the purpose of stealing a top position are nearing an end. Between Google's Penguin, Panda, and now with the advent of Google Authorship and Google Author Rank – blackhat SEO strategies are going to be systematically eliminated.
Second, the goal of any search engine user is to find the best content on a specific topic. Now, businesses and marketers will be forced to create high quality content to compete in the new SEO world governed by Google Authorship and Author Rank. Searchers will see an increase in high value, relevant content pushed out by everyone from local businesses to the largest brands.
Whether you agree with my thoughts on the importance of the new Google Authorship and Author Rank changes doesn't really matter. What matters is that we are seeing the emergence of a whole new SEO paradigm governed by quality web code, on-page content, external content, and social media. In time, everyone will win – even the SEO's and marketers.