If you are an Internet savvy professional with your heart and mind in search engines, you would have surely heard about the word “AuthorRank”. Unfortunately, it has not received the credit due and would have surely missed your sight if you were away from work for a while.
In August 2005, close to 7 years ago, a patent was filed by Google for “Agent Rank” which Bill Slawski decoded cleverly at a later stage. David Minogue, one of the Googlers as a part of the patent, talks about ranking agents and harnessing the potential of the content created by them and their subsequent interactions as a way to determine the rank. According to the patent, “agents” who write content that is well received can leverage their content to get a better rank as compared to the content created by lesser known or unknown agents.
However, no improvements have taken place since then on this front because of the lack of a protocol to identify popular “agents”. There were no systems in place that could do this work a few years ago. The syntax of the XML-signature or the digital signature, unfortunately, was not the best tools to achieve this. But, ranking agents continued to be a key goal for Google. Eric Schmidt, in the year 2011, did express Google’s desire to rank ‘agents’ and the need to determine the good agents to enhance the quality of the search results since it would be beneficial to have system in place to eliminate spammers.
In September 2011, a new patent was filed by Google in continuation, identifying a new “portable identity platform” that resembles Google+ to a great extent. Google+ profiles definitely simplify the digital signature system than anything else that has been proposed till date. With the arrival of Google Authorship which helps bring together pieces of profiles on Google+, the solution seems to be a little more reassuring.
This has allowed Google rank the ‘agents’, something that the company has wanted to do since the year 2005. “AuthorRank” could begin foraying into the industry as early as February 2013. In a guest post by AJ Kohn, he writes that the arrival of this concept can bring about a huge change in search engine optimization, a change that is bigger than the ones that have been brought about by the two latest Google Updates, Panda and Penguin.
The concept of PageRank will not be replaced by AuthorRank, but the latter will be used to strengthen the former, which in turn, will enable Google to determine the ranks based on the content more effectively. AJ Kohn seems to be right in this post, it is now only a matter of ‘when’ the AuthorRank will be rolled out by Google and not ‘if’ it will be rolled out by the company.
AuthorRank seems to be the next big step in Google’s commitment to rank the websites based purely on content which is credible as well as well written. With nearly a seven year delay, the search engine giant is all set of bring it into effect.
The need to be ready for this big change
The AuthorRank will soon become a part of Google’s algorithm. Based on all the signs currently being seen, namely the continual efforts of Google to retain the quality of the search results, the emphasis on Google Authorship and devaluation of poor links, the AuthorRank will be implemented in the nearly future.
What is the time we have?
Well, as search engine optimisation professionals, we all would like to know the time we have to be prepared for this move. But, it is time to stop thinking in this manner!
The arrival of this update does not matter as much as its impact. Though the impact of AuthorRank will not be as much as Google Panda, it will definitely be significant enough. This will not bring about any algorithmic penalty, but the websites that are well prepared for this update will have a significant benefit as compared to the others that have not anticipated it. We only have as much time as Google does for effectively measuring AuthorRank and implementing it. This might take them a couple of days, a week or even two years. The key is to stay prepared for it when it comes.
Factors that will be considered by AuthorRank
There are more than 200 factors considered by Google to determine the rank of the websites in the result list. Therefore, it is safe to assume that there will be many factors that will be factored in by AuthorRank. Some of the key factors that Google may consider are:
- The average PR of the content written by an author
- The number of shares on Google+
- The number of people the author has in Google+ circles
- Reciprocal connection to superior content written by other authors with a high ranking
- The number of sites in which the author’s content is published
- The number of author’s posts in Google+
- Comments made by the author and the responses to the comments and blogs
- Other authority indicators such as a page in Wikipedia
- Subscription to YouTube and similar engagements
- Authority and importance enjoyed by the author in social media sites such as Twitter, SlideShare, LinkedIn and others
- Content published on Google Scholar or Google Books
Steps to start working on AuthorRank
- Setting up Google Authorship is the first step in the process. This will not only reflect in the author snippet in the result list, but will also help Google get the information they need in order to give you an AuthorRank.
- Tracking the quality of the work created by you on the internet and marking it accurately using the Rich Snippet Marking Tool is the second step.
- The third step is to create content in the field that you excel in and share your knowledge and SEO best practices with other SEO professionals.