Are you cultivating your personal authority with Google AuthorRank?

You’ve heard of PageRank as an indicator of a website’s authority. But have you heard of AuthorRank—an indicator of your personal authority?

For those who are uninitiated, PageRank is basically an algorithm to rank the importance of websites/web-pages. Websites that are more important will be more likely to rank higher in search results (other factors being equal). Basically, the rank is conferred by a ‘voting’ system where a link from one page to another indicated a ‘vote’ of support. In practice, the PageRank algorithm is vulnerable to manipulation, which provoked Google to invoke their dreaded search algorithm updates (e.g. Panda, Penguin). That resulted in the rise and falls of many websites’ search rankings and created a lot of angst and uncertainty in the SEO industry (see Another SEO company smashed by Google’s penalty). I can assure you that it will only be a matter of time before another round of manipulatory practices will proliferate, as unscrupulous vendors figure out how to game Google’s search algorithm.

Lately, Google is working on a new concept (see this patent filing). Instead of ranking websites/web-pages (PageRank), they are ranking authors of content, hence the concept of AuthorRank. The basic idea of this concept is that your reputation as an author will influence the search rankings of your content that are published on web-sites. In other words, the importance of a web-page will be heavily influenced by the reputation of the author who wrote its content.

So, what must you do to get started with building your AuthorRank?

  1. It’s clear that personal reputation can only exist in the context of a personal identity. You can’t have a reputation without an identity. Guess what Google will use to define identity? Of course it will be their Google+ platform! That’s the reason why it is important to join the Google+, despite the fact that it is like a ‘ghost town’.
  2. Next, you need to associate your content to your Google+ identity. This is something that requires technical knowledge (which is why I am here for!).

If you do these things you will start to notice that search results of your content will feature your photo and indication from Google that you are the author of the content. This in itself will make it more likely for people to click on your content.

Your readers’ reactions to your content (e.g. comments, endorsements [+1s], sharing) will be used by Google to ascertain its quality. It is quite likely that the reputation of those who reacted to your content will carry some weight in determining the quality of your content. In addition to your content on web-pages, Google will also look into your activity and personal connections in Google+ social network to further ascertain your reputation. For example, if you frequently make highly intelligent comments and posts in Google+ (as evidenced by the +1s and mentions you generate), it will signal to Google that you are someone of high calibre and hence, awarded a higher reputation score.

So, will there be attempts to manipulate AuthorRank? You bet! But it is going to be highly risky because according to Google’s patent filing, AuthorRank is difficult to build up but easy to tear down. This will be a great disincentive to get involved in some link scheme.

If you think Google’s Panda and Penguin is disruptive, wait till you see Google fully roll out algorithms incorporating AuthorRank in the near future. I can tell you this will be a game-changer for many website owners! With AuthorRank, Google is combining the network of web-pages (PageRank) with the network of people (AuthorRank) to produce better quality search results.

For me, this is a darn good reason to sign up to Google+ and actively engage and form relationships with people over there.

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