Google is constantly working to overcome the spams and the black hat techniques to get the highest quality content on top. Google has rolled out many big and small updates in last few months and is constantly doing it. You might be aware of the Google Page Rank(PR) which is a kind of measuring scale for position of your website (Better the rank, more priority your content gets). For a long time Google has been using it as the base for showing search results. It considers several factors before assigning a rank to a website like: content quality, no of backlinks, keywords density, etc.
Why Author Rank came into picture?
But the problem came when webmasters started following black hat techniques like purchasing links, posting links in comments of different websites which made their PR higher. So to overcome this Google is coming out with its new card that is Google Author Rank. It is a way of ranking authors based on their quality of content and Google+ is going to play a major role in this.
Let me clear one thing that Author Rank is not a substitute for Page Rank or anything else, it is an extension to the present algorithm for getting more detailed information. So lets get started:
History of Author Rank (AR)
- August 2005: Google files a patent for Agent Rank. Patent suggests that more popular and well received “Content-Agents” could have their content ranking higher on search result pages as compared to less popular ones.
- Sept 2011: “Portability Identity Platform” patent filed by google which aimed at establishing content authorship by linking published content to Google+ profiles.
- Early 2012: Google starts contributing content to “Agents” – What was planned in 2005
What is Author Rank (AR)?
It is measuring scale for authors. In simpler terms you can define it like this:
Author Rank is a way of giving identity to the authors, knowledge in their area of expertise, social value and create their own branding.
Every author will have an rank which will act as an important factor in search results (higher AR gets more weight-age).
Factors affecting Author Rank
Now you got the definition of AR but you might be thinking what are the things which will help in getting better rank. Overall there are several factors which Google would be considering and out of those I am going to list out the important ones:
As you might have got through the diagram that these are the elements which you need to target. For eg: Engagement on Google+ means you need to increase your activities like: post articles, comments, discussions etc.
Benefits of Author Rank
Now you would be thinking that why should you do this and how will you benefit from this? Well here are the advantages:
- Rich Snippets: First of all your search result will be shown with your image which are also called rich snippets as shown in picture below which will increase your CTR (Click through Rate)
- Personal Branding: It will create a branding of your own. Your content will be prioritized by your value which will be calculated by the factors discussed above. So in future if you even sell your blog and start a new one, you will not have to build your authority again because it is based on author and not website.
- Improve Page rank: Author Rank will provide a feedback information to the Page Rank and will play an important role in calculating PR. So if your Author Rank improves page Rank will also get affected.
- Bonus Links: Now you might be shocked after reading word ‘Bonus links’. Yes its true, Google offers a hidden benefit of bonus links when you visit a website, spent some time on it and press the browser back button. As you will come back Google will show some extra links by similar author assuming that you have liked the article and might be interesting in reading more.
What Google has to say?
Here is a video from Matt Cutts (head of webspam at Google) explaining the effects and the procedure of rel=’author’ which is the Author Rank.
For getting your authorship verified by Google, you require two things to start:
- Google+ profile
- Blog or website with ‘About author’ page
Now the basic functionality is to link your Google+ profile to the ‘About author’ page in your site. A link from website to Google+ profile and similarly a link from Google+ profile to your site.
For getting the complete process I have created a separate article “Display Your Profile Picture in Google Search“.