Google+, Authorship and SEO in 2013

In the past, content was a conduit for artificially inflating the rankings of a website. However, in 2012 Google released several Panda and Penguin algorithm updates that reduced any spam content related strategies whilst simultaneously promoting high quality, unique content.

With the launch of Google+ (the company’s own social network) and the implementation of authorship, Google has attempted to verify the quality of content by also verifying the author responsible for it.

Simply put, a piece of content shared or written by someone with a well developed Google+ profile will have a stronger positive impact on rankings. So to make it clearer: it won’t replace PageRank, it’ll just make it more accurate.

Known as Google authorship markup, it has generated many discussions around its impact on search engine rankings or what any other advantages. Going into 2013, we can safely conclude that the answer is yes. 2013 will mark a significant trend in SEO towards social signals and authorship. Google confirmed in September last year.

If a user visits an article by an author and it seems like they’d be interested in finding more articles by this author, when they click the “Back” button to return to the results page, we’ll show more results by that author.” 

Thanks to Matt McGee, from Search Engine Land, this is how it looks like: 

Will Authorship help my business?

Content, be it an article, an infographic, or the landing page, is the one that drives visitors to your website.
Once you, a business owner / content creator claimed authorship, by linking your Google profile with your content, Google can verify the usefulness of that content to other people. This can be seen by

  • traffic, the number of people who read the content
  • the number of views
  • the amount of time people spent on it.

If all the figures are great, you’ve gained Google’s trust. The AuthorRank is a grade you, as a content creator, earn. And he AuthorRank will, in time, have a direct impact on your rankings. (The Importance of Google Authorship)

“…over time, as we start to learn more about who the high quality authors are, you could imagine that starting to affect rankings.”  Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google

It all started back in 2005 when Google themselves filled a patent for “Agent Rank”. The patent details how to “rank” those who were referred to as “agents”. The content that these agents created together with their web activity would be used to determine their rank.

It was also anticipated that the “agents” whose content was more well-received would probably rank higher. Although it was left aside, the ideas was not forgotten, and once Google+ was launched, Google had the perfect platform to implement the changes.

If Google trusts you, this means you gain credibility. And credibility in business translates into ROI.

When people find and enjoy your content, they will want to read more or they might wish to engage with you through a social network. This could all lead to more traffic, potential leads or even just new friends!

What to expect

  • AuthorRank is believed to be “one of the biggest game-changing future additions to Google´s algorithm (SEO in 2013: Getting The Hang of AuthorRank)
  • “AuthorRank could be more disruptive than all of the Panda updates combined! Panda will feel like a speedbump!” (Aj Kohn)
  • “In the future, I see AuthorRank becoming useful in other objects as well, such as photos, images, and audio.” (The Cassandra Memorandum)

First step: Google+

Google needs to verify that a particular piece of content can be trusted, and the best way to make sure of it is through its author. To set up, you will need:

  1. A Google+ profile – this is your digital identity. Anyone can sign up for one very easily. You’ll have to fill in some information and then upload a clear profile picture. It is this profile that speaks about your credibility and trust.
  2. The content you published needs to reference you as the author and link back to your Google+ profile

Your Google+ is what Google uses to tie all your content together. So make sure your profile is shipshape.

Next step: implementing Authorship on your website. If you need our help, we’re here. If you’d rather do it on your own, these guidelines are very helpful.

Google will then start veryfying the content and the author. Then AuthorRank is next and SEO industry specialists agree that this will in the future have a significant impact on the rankings of websites.

One thing is sure: this is the year in which SEO strategy must include the audience as a direct factor contributing to search engine rankings.

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