Written by Jason Dojc on December 19, 2012
in Content Strategy

In the past couple weeks we’ve seen a fair number of stories around Google’s new AuthorRank it will be implemented in the beginning of 2013 and will affect the search results of most digital content.

In the beginning, there was PageRank

PageRank was how Google’s generally ranked content as “relevant”. Essentially, the more pages that linked to a given page, the higher it was ranked on the keywords contained in that page (there were other factors but that was the main one). Spammers have been trying to game the system ever since (e.g. creating bots that would in turn create artificial links to their pages) and Google has been constantly tweaking its algorithm to thwart their efforts.

Enter AuthorRank

One way to separate legitimate content from spam is to be able to identify legitimate authors of content. AuthorRank attempts to do this by having content contributors name the domains they contribute content to via their Google+ profile. Posts by recognized authors may receive higher ranking than those without.

AuthorRank will be determined by a variety of factors illustrated below:

 

Image Souce: Forbes

 

What that means for content strategy

  • Influencers become even more influential: Those with a high AuthorRank can make or break your brand. Influencer outreach becomes more viable as an amplification tactic.
  • Shares become a bigger factor for SEO: Keyword-rich content will matter a little less and having your content shared will matter a little more. Compelling content, i.e. content that is compelling to real people, gets shared (valuable content). While it’s possible to create content for both search engines and people, it’s always been best to appeal to people first. AuthorRank cements that principle.

One big lingering question

Will AuthorRank apply to brands with Google+ Pages as well as people? If brands are excluded from AuthorRank, then it becomes more important for companies to cultivate human brand ambassadors to create content on the brand’s own media. Brands with a built-in army of content contributors like Zappos or IBM  or Coca-Cola might have a head start.

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