There's yet more change afoot in the SEO ranking game. Google has revealed its plans to include Google Author Rank as a prominent factor in the way the algorithm calculates page rank. Before you can get ahead of the game, you've got to understand what Author Rank is and when it might start impacting your business' bottom line.
Google Author Rank 101
Let's take a moment to get inside the heads of the good people over at Google. Author Rank actually evolved out of a seven-year-long concern about a way to sort out spam posts from high-quality content written by authoritative bloggers. In the last year, Google has developed the Google + platform extensively, including Google profiles. The types of changes they've implemented are security features designed to verify authors are real people. Some of the policies that have rolled out include email verification and a Google + identity service. After some initial kickback, people are now conforming to the policy that Google + profiles contain real names.
Implementation of Google Author Rank
With this latest announcement, Google is hoping to tie Google + profiles to how authoritative an author is online. The results would be used to inform Google's PageRank how to place that author's post in search engine results. The goal is to make Author Rank a factor in overall page rankings, but just how heavily rated that factor will be, remains unknown.
When Will Google Author Rank Take Effect?
Details are sketchy, but based on Google's other recent moves, they are serious about increasing the quality of content that comes up in online searches. Like the Panda and Penguin updates, the changes could come unannounced, so it's critical to get ahead of the curve. Also remember that changes could be phased in, with different timeframes for different types of changes. The next time Google asks for another update or identity confirmation for Google +, you'll know why it's being done. And while I can't give you an exact rollout date, the increased frequency of the Google + profile changes are a good indication that at least the first phase will be soon.
How Can You Prepare for Google Author Rank?
Good Quality Content – You know that creating high-quality content is important for so many other reasons — developing readership, engaging customers to buy, and building brand loyalty. So one of your major strategies should be to consistently develop good content. How do you know if you've got high-quality content? If your page rank doesn't yet show it, you'll know because you've got engaged readers making genuine comments on your blog posts and regularly visiting your webpage.
Keep Google + Profile Updated – Another way to prepare for Google Author Rank is to keep your Google + profile up to date. That means you should log in often and make sure all your latest experience is reflected. Think of it as your online resume the way you approach LinkedIn. Only soon, Google will be using that profile and its perceived relevance as a ranking factor for websites you author.
Reputable Guest Bloggers – Select your guest bloggers carefully. Trade backlinks with websites that have reputable authors, not just sites with random content that's been scraped from all over the internet. Backlinks are great, but in the long run, they're only going to be as good as the author who created the post.
Some parting words of wisdom, though. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Author Rank looks like it will have a significant impact, but don't let that completely change the way you do business. Do what your gut tells you is good for your customers, and when you've served them what they need, look at how you can address Author Rank. Next week, Google will have a new bee in its bonnet to buzz about.