This past week I watched a webinar from Mike Arneson on Advanced AuthorRank. This was an extremely educational hour of my life, and I hope to pass some of the knowledge I gained onto you. This will help you to understand more of the “why” behind the AuthorRank portion of Google’s algorithm, and how to better leverage Authorship to meet your clients’ needs.
AuthorRank vs. Authorship
So, a common misconception is that AuthorRank and Authorship can be used interchangeably. This is not true. AuthorRank and Authorship are not the same thing. Think of it this way: Authorship is the tool, and AuthorRAnk is the potential thing built with that tool (in the words of Mark Traphagen). Just as SEO is another tool, PageRank is the thing built with that tool.
So, Google has always ranked webpages. But now, Google will rank individual authors as well. When Google finds a piece of high-quality content, now they will reward the author of the content in addition to the website where that content resides. This is important because you as an individual can get credit for all the great content you write! This will lead to more search result visibility, higher click-through rates, and thus more traffic, more money… you get the picture.
Authorship on a Company Level
Now let’s talk about why Authorship is important on a company level. To give some background, many companies opt to have all their content posted by their own company name. For example, every blog post we publish would simply be published by Leadgenix, and there would be no real author associated with it. This is basically ghostwriting, and it is WRONG!
Mike explained in depth that employees NEED Authorship, and we as a company need to be advocates for that. If a company is not willing to highlight their people, they’re not going to enjoy the benefits of Authorship. This was a good pat on the back for us, because we clearly let all our employees establish their own Authorship on our blog. Through this method, everyone can build up their own credibility through the content they create.
How to Improve Your Author Authority
Now we’ll run through three steps you can take to set up your profile properly, establish Authorship, and improve your authority as an author:
Set Up Your Google+ Profile
First, you need to fill in all the information about you. This includes name, education, where you live, etc. In addition to all this, upload a high-quality photo as your profile picture. This picture shouldn’t be you with other people, a mere silhouette, an animal, etc. It should be a frontal head shot of your face. Google’s image-identifying technology is getting better and better, so pretty soon they’ll be able to tell if these photos are legit or not. (Side note: you might want to consider placing the same photo across all your platforms so that people recognize you by your photo, thus enhancing your credibility.)
Add the Code
My preferred method to establish Authorship comes in two parts. First, go into your Google+ profile and establish that you are a “Contributor To” a certain blog. All you need to do is add the URL to that blog. In my case, I am a contributor to the Big Leap blog at www.bigleap.com:
The cool thing about the “Contributor to” section is that you can designate whether you are a current or a past contributor. This way, you can build your authority across all the sites to which you contribute.
Next, you’ll need to log in to the backend of your blog (we prefer WordPress) and include a link to your Google+ profile in your author bio. Because your bio will appear on every post you write, each of these posts will then be attributed to you.
Produce Great Content and Measure the Results
If you would like a more in-depth look at producing great content, I recommend you reference these posts on creating your own blog or making your online content engaging. In the meantime, we’ll focus more on some neat ways to measure your personal reach as an author.
The purpose of Google+ Ripples is to show an interactive graphic of the public share of any public post or URL on Google+. It shows you how this content has, in essence, “rippled” through the network, and will in turn shed some light on the advocates for your content.
Below is an example of a Google+ Ripples graphic. You can see the URL of the post that we are analyzing, as well as all the individuals who shared it publicly on Google+. According to the size of the bubble, these individuals might be “strong advocates” or “light advocates” of your content. This graphic will help you to discover who is sharing your content (and the most frequently), in addition to providing you with new and interesting people to follow.
In addition to Google+ Ripples, Webmaster Tools is a great resource to see the statistics for all posts for which you are attributed Authorship. If I log into my Webmaster Tools account (below), it will show me the data for the past 3 months’ worth of impressions, clicks, CTR, and even my average position in the SERP’s.
The interesting thing about logging into my account is that my top source of clicks in the past 3 months is a blog post that I wrote in March of 2011. This just goes to show that really good blog posts will continue to bring traffic back to the site for a very long time.
Authorship as a Whole
All of that being said, I am a strong advocate that everyone needs to set up their Authorship. There are rumors that in the future, AuthorRank could have a higher impact on the overall presence of your website. Imagine it: a site with a high PR and a low AR could be flagged as engaging in suspicious activity. Who knows? If your Authorship score doesn’t seem congruent with the site to which you are contributing, this could be a serious ranking factor that could make or break people.
Overall, not only will this help you to better establish yourself as an authority in any niche you are trying to emphasize, but also the site to which you are contributing will receive a boost as well. Get your Authorship set up today and be prepared for this forthcoming update to the algorithm.