Don’t become a Ghost – The Value of Building Google Authorship

Guest posting is a great, natural way to build connections within the blogging community, share perspectives and industry news, and create relationships. However, for the people who are jumping on the guest post bandwagon just to build links for a client, they will soon be outwitted by Google’s next trick – authorship.

What is Google Authorship?

Just over 7 years ago, a patent for “Agent Rank” was filed by Google with the intent of ranking agents based upon the value and authority of the content they created. Although the initial Agent Rank concept faded, Google filed a continuation patent on the idea and voiced their efforts to “weed (spammers) out” of search results.

Earlier this year the term “AuthorRank” was used to describe Google’s plan for improving search quality by giving higher rank to credible, influential sources that offer higher value to search users. AJ Kohn wrote a well-detailed article back in March 2012 explaining the concept of AuthorRank, how it works, and how to claim authorship of your content –I highly recommend reading his article if you’re interested in understanding the calculations behind the patent.

It’s been predicted by industry leaders that AuthorRank will very soon become incorporated into the Google ranking algorithm. What does this mean to you? It means that any content that offers little value to readers, or perhaps content that is written by “unknown/unverified” authors will rank significantly lower than content created by verified, credible, and knowledgeable authors.

Already Google+ users are encouraged to link to content they’ve created, and it seems like lately the push for Google Authorship has become intensified; industry leaders are writing about it more and more everyday.

How Does Authorship Affect Content Creators?

As a new blogger just starting out, you need to build your voice –your brand. You’ll need to establish yourself as someone who has something to offer, and someone who can create content worthy of reading and sharing. As you build your credibility and drive traffic to your content, Google will recognize your value to search users and reward you for it. You will outrank the content without an identity –A genuine, Google+ identity.

As an established writer, authoritative figure in your industry, you’ll also appreciate the Google authorship perks. You will be able to connect all of your previously published works to your name. For industry leaders who have been writing about SEO for 10 years, this is a great way to give credit where credit is due.

Getting Started

Now that we’ve discussed why Google authorship is so important, and how it affects content creators, the next logical step would be how to get your Google+ account set-up and then connecting your name to your content. To join the authorship movement, I suggest checking out one of these excellent sources:

I personally found the walkthrough from KISSmetrics to be the easiest to follow; the same article also includes a troubleshooting section and suggests helpful WordPress plugins that can help the process, there is also a dedicated section on how to have your picture show up next to your content in search results.  But truly, any of these sources are well-written resources for getting started.

Always Room for Improvement

Once your Google+ account is set-up, your profile is complete, and you’ve linked your profile to your content, you should see your picture show up in search results in about 5-7 days (according to the many commenters on the KISSmetrics article). Now that you have established authorship, you’ll want to work on improving your AuthorRank.

Influencing Factors

There are a few different ways to increase your AuthorRank. One of the easier suggestions is to find any of your previous content that was published and give yourself the credit you deserve. Another way is to pay attention to the PR (and Authority) of the sites you’re content in published on; obviously the higher authority sites –with greater traffic – (and thus, more exposure) are going to reflect well on you as the creator of content. When Google sees that you’ve created content worthy of being published on a big name site, it will affect your authority as an author.

Image via SEOmoz.com

AuthorRank will take into account the number of comments per post, the frequency of posts, how much you engage with Google+ community, how much you interact with non-G+ social communities and the quantity of +1s or shares per post.

Conclusion

With all of the Google algorithm updates and fluctuating SERPs, it’s important to realize that the value of guest posts (and the “content marketing” industry as a whole) lays beyond creating an IG or writing an article, adding a link, then pushing to have your article published somewhere else. Google is working tirelessly to deliver the most relevant, highest quality search results to its users. The least we can do (as “authors”) is make it easier for Google to filter out the “white noise” content created from less authoritative sources.

Do you think that the majority of the influential/authorities of the Internet will attribute Google Authorship prior to the algorithm changes taking effect? Do you think AuthorRank will be influenced by even more factors within the next year? Any predictions?

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