The days of Google PageRank's link-based dominance are numbered. While it's no secret that Google has been working on undermining the SEO manipulators who use link building schemes and black hat methods to rise in the search rankings, we now know that 2013 will mark the rise of AuthorRank.

Google has been working on ways to value the authority of content creators beyond just the links going to their pages. however, Search Engine Journal now notes that AuthorRank is on the horizon with new measurements you need to take into account: "The more an author writes on a topic, and the more engagement with that content, the higher that author's rank will be for a specific topic."

Here's what the rise of AuthorRank means for website owners and marketers.

Links Are Less Important

While Google will still recognize the importance of links to a website, AuthorRank represents a move toward valuing social signals and other marks of community engagement with website content. Nate Mendenhal writes at Social Media Today, "Essentially the more that an author writes about a topic and the more engagement that the content gets, the higher the AuthorRank score will be." The most important links will be the ones that drive higher engagement on social media and in the comments.

Denis Pinsky writes for Forbes, "In essence it means your reputation as a content creator will directly influence your page rank within Google search results. Each content provider will have their work graded, and it's these grades that Google will use as information about how useful one's content is within the big Google engine."

Google Plus Is Important

While Google Plus isn't poised to replace Facebook as a social network, it does offer users the benefit of being tied directly into Google's search data. Therefore, Google will most certainly be looking to Google Plus for signals about the authority of content creators for AuthorRank.

Mark Purtell notes in Search Engine Journal, "Scoring authors based on the number of Google Plus circles they are included in, combined with the number of relevant search queries for which they appear, will provide a prioritized list of potential authors to engage for content marketing opportunities."

How To Adapt To AuthorRank

We've already seen that social signals such as Facebook and Twitter could impact your search rankings, and so we shouldn't be surprised that Google is trying to track authorship details in order to improve its results. The key is that Google is now tracking authors themselves in order to grade their content.
SEOMoz suggested some of the factors that could determine AuthorRank:

  • The average PageRank of an author's content.
  • The average number of +1s and Google+ shares the author's content receI'ves.
  • The number of Google+ circles an author is in.
  • Reciprocal connections to other high AuthorRank authors.
  • The number and authority of sites an author's content has been published to.
  • The engagement level of an author's natI've Google+ content (i.e., posts to Google+).
  • The level of on-site engagement for an author's content (i.e., comments and author's responses to comments)
  • Outside authority indicators (e.g., the presence of a Wikipedia page)

How To Prepare For Author Rank

Besides improving your content and encouraging more social sharing and discussion, you can prepare for AuthorRank by claiming authorship for your content with Google. This will enable searchers to see your authorship information in their results and provides Google with the information it needs to track your work as an author.

Although AuthorRank will change how the SEO game is played, it will certainly reward those who are recognized by their communities for providing the best, most engaging content. It will be harder to abuse, but it will certainly reward those who make the right investments with their content.

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