When Google Plus launched the world took notice. For many of us, we viewed it as the Facebook for Google. And though it has waned in popularity the past few months, it is keeping a very dirty secret. Unlike Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest, the #1 social platform you need to be on is Google Plus.
And here’s why:
Google + is the linchpin of AuthorRank and AuthorRank is about to be something very, very important.
First, let me explain what AuthorRank is; then I’ll delve into the little bits of info that make me think it is about to be the next big thing.
AuthorRank was described in a patent last May by Google. It is essentially an author centric version of PageRank. Which means individual pieces of content will be weighed in large part due to the person writing the piece.
The patent itself is pretty long and complicated, but I have included it here for your perusal. There are a lot of components mentioned in the patent, like:
~ It will not replace PageRank but rather make it more accurate.
~ It will be harder to get authority with AuthorRank and easier to lose that authority than with, say, PageRank.
~ AuthorRank will be topic specific. That way a high ranking author in one industry doesn’t have authority outside his industry. Otherwise someone who knows how to build cars will rank for things like lasagna recipes. Remember, the whole point is to make search results more relevant.
~ AuthorRank will require verification through items like rel=author and consequently Google Plus.
And that’s where the kicker is: AuthorRank will require verification and therefore Google will be relying on your G+ profile to verify you as an author.
Why does Google need verification? Can’t the algorithm tell it’s you?
At the end of the day, the Google algorithm is a complicated code, not a person. Which means where you and I can make connections via pictures or similar bylines, you shouldn’t rely on the Google algorithm to make those connections. Especially when that connection can make such a huge impact on your bottom line.
And frankly, it makes sense business-wise. Why would Google want to verify you through a third party like Facebook or Twitter? They can claim it is about security till they are blue in the face but in reality – they can make us do whatever they want. So why not “force” us to play by their rules. It’s not like we don’t already.
Now, all of that aside. Let’s talk about why I think AuthorRank is about to be something huge. For this I am going to provide a simple timeline and you can make the connection yourself:
- 2010-2011 - Google rolls out Panda so there is no doubt that quality is important to rankings at the domain level
- May 11, 2011 - Google files a patent for AuthorRank which details how it will impact rankings
- June 7, 2011 – Google announces rel=”author”
- This past week – Google removes the labs project that includes author stats
This last one is a little tricky, but Mark Traphagen points out that, “When Google removes a Labs project, it is for one of two reasons: the project has outlived its usefulness, or it is about to go mainstream.”
And lastly you see that Othar Hansson is the Engineering lead at “The Authorship Project @ Google.” Which after looking through the rest of his bio makes me think this is a VERY big deal.
So when you put all these things together it looks very likely that AuthorRank will soon be a huge factor in our rankings. In fact, many SEOs believe it will be bigger than the Panda Update.
Of course, you have nothing to fear! As long as you are focusing on quality content and extending your brand in a meaningful way, things like this can only help. My biggest piece of advice? Make sure to get your G+ profile up as soon as possible and start claiming your content. Especially for those companies that use a writing service to create your content. Remember, if you paid for it – you own it. Now make it work for you!
(Image Credit: © Elnur #36430153 - Fotolia.com)