At the end of last year we predicted that search engines would continue favoring genuine human experts instead of specific websites. Fast forward to present day where everyone is focusing on Author Rank. Google wants to cut through websites that use SEO tricks to get a high ranking and focus on real people who live and breathe for certain topics.
For example, when someone Googles the best way to care for a stargazer lily, they’ll read articles by gardening experts who blog about plant care instead of promotional blogs for 1-800-Flowers.
Bing has apparently jumped on this bandwagon that personal advice holds more value than corporate websites and has partnered with Klout to bring influencers to the top of their search results. Now when you search for something on Bing, it will show the results of influencers with high Klout scores.
From the Klout blog:
Through our partnerships with Bing and others, people searching for help will be able to find your responses, then look at your Klout Moments to understand your perspective, and even connect with you on social media for follow-up conversations.
Here’s how it works. Users who are influential in certain topics answer questions on Klout about what they’re experts in. When I signed into Klout, it asked me what advice I would give to someone who was new to social media. When users see that question – answered in 300 characters or less – they can click to my Klout profile and see my Klout score, past tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, etc. With this back information, they can decide if I have enough credibility for them to believe my answer.
The questions that a user answers and their Klout score will contribute to the rank of the user in the Bing results. When someone searches for the best macaroon store in Nashville, they will see the answer given by someone with a high Klout score who is influential about Nashville. When users find something to be helpful, they give it a +K, just like the +1s given over at Google.
While it may look like Bing’s response to Author Rank, it’s really just Yahoo Answers. The results aren’t in-depth articles or blog posts written by industry experts, they’re 300 character answers to questions asked on Klout. The links directed to the answers bring the user to Klout’s website, where they get the cliff notes explanation and have to track down the author via social media to learn more.
Bing is on the right path (Google’s path) with bringing real human beings to the forefront of search results, they’re just going about it wrong by forcing the opinions into 300 character quips. Furthermore, it makes “experts” go to a third party website to build up their reputation, rather than letting the articles they write and blogs they’re regular contributors for speak for themselves. As usual with Bing: close, but no cigar.