Author Rank and Google Plus are relatively new to Google’s armory, and Google +1 is a tool designed to enable the public to vote on the authority of specific web publications. The entire package is another development in Google’s objective of providing the best possible search experience for its uses, and to become the world’s top search engine by far.
Let’s discuss these briefly in turn before bringing them together into a powerful SEO tool that you can use to achieve higher ranking for your web pages on Google. Google is so far ahead of all other search engines that it must be your first SEO priority to keep its algorithms happy. In fact, some search engines simply follow Google’s listing positions because Google gets at least 80% of search traffic.
Author Rank: The Basics
Google’s Author Rank began way back in 2005 with “Agent Rank” for which Google filed a patent. It was based on the premise that ‘agents’ contributing content on the web could have their work listed higher by signing it and being known as authoritative writers or content creators.
It took time, but that is fundamentally the basis of Author Rank. If you sign your content and it is regarded as authoritative, accurate and instructive, then any other work you publish online will likewise be regarded as the same. So if you get a high-ranking with one page of content, you are more likely to get a higher ranking with another than people with little or no ‘Author Rank’.
The original theory behind this means of ranking content was basically sound, although it did tend to disadvantage new writers and content creators. Another problem was what if a newbie to internet marketing, for example, employed a ghostwriter to create the content for his or her website: who gets the Author Rank – the writer or website owner?
This is still a problem, since Author Rank will be allocated to whoever claims to have written it! Likely the first to claim it, after which other publications of the same copy may be regarded as ‘duplicate content’ and not the original. This might solve the ‘who came first’ controversy for duplicate content. It’s up to you Google!
However, these are only minor issues when compared to that of how to measure this novel type of ranking. It took many years, but Google have now come up with what it believes to be the answer.
Google Plus and Google +1
Google Plus is an enhancement to membership of Google. Google members can take advantage of service such as Gmail, and Google+ has now been added to this. Using Google Plus you can create your own +Circles, where you can share posts to friends or the Google Plus community as a whole.
Google+ Hangout enables chat, including not only voice and video chat options, but multi-person chat via video. Google feels that Hangout will fill in some of the gaps that instant messaging leaves and become the IM of choice by most Google users. Sparks provides you with content that meets your stated interests, although it might be intrusive at times.
It is Google’s answer to Facebook, although whether it will ever become as successful is dubious since Facebook is not search engine specific. Nevertheless, that aside, Google+ is also Google’s platform for Google +1.
Author Rank: With Google+
Author Rank resurfaced in February 2012, and the term became well known in the internet marketing industry. It has now been introduced as another aspect of Google’s ranking algorithm – and a very significant one.
It is well known that Google’s prime consideration is its users as a search engine, and that advertisers are secondary. Google is a search engine, pure and simple, and makes money through those using it as an advertising platform. So sure, it wants to give advertisers a good service, but even more than that, it wants to give those searching for information at least as a good a service if not more so.
Let’s face it, were it not for Google attracting more search traffic than any other, it would not receive the advertising revenue it does from programs such as Adwords.
How Author Rank Works
You get credit for each article or piece of web content you write if you are associated with that content. People can give you Google +1 points if they like your content, or click ‘Like’ on Facebook – there are others and no doubt more methods of voting good content will be devised.
If you have a website or blog, you should register with Google+ using your preferred email address and have it verified. You can verify a different email address to that of your Google Gmail account. You should then make sure that the same email address is published publicly on your domain. If you have multiple domains, then publish it on each.
Then, whenever you create a new post or set up a new web page, the content will be associated with you as author. If you get a +1 vote then that will be registered as belonging to your Google Plus account.
If you have no email address on your domain, you can get a script from Google+ to add to your web pages. This associates your Google Plus account with these pages – you must add the script to each page, so it pays to go the email route where an address confirmed with your Google+ account will work for every page on your domain.
The Google +1 Button
The button provides votes for your content, but its effect is as yet unknown. However it cannot hurt to have a button on each page or post. Your +1 votes may or may not add to the author rank if it is being used. Right now, there is insufficient evidence coming from Google, but it is likely that author rank and Google +1 votes will be relevant factors in your ranking. If not now then shortly.
Matt Cutts said in June, 2012, that +1 “is not necessarily the best quality signal right now.” However, since we know that Google’s mission is to provide high-quality, trustworthy content for searchers, then there has been nothing much over the past few years – Author Rank could be that next big quality step – so use it!
You must be ready and be implementing Google Authorship, Author Rank, Google Plus, the Google+ 1 button – whatever. Unless you want to lose out to those that are!