We all know that Google is about quality. They need the search results to stay relevant so that people will continue to buy AdWords and will continue to “Google it” when the need arises. This is why the Caffeine Update happened and why Panda took care of business. It’s all about finding the best content and having it rank over less quality pieces.
Google introduced the rel=author tag in order for content creators to claim their pieces. This was great for marketers and businesses because they had the added benefit of their faces being embedded into the search results.
Of course, the real reason that Google did this was to motivate content creators to claim their pieces so that Google could track them better. If you used a different name or had content across multiple industries the chances were low that Google could piece together that content without your help. Remember, at the end of the day the Google algorithm is still just code. What seems obvious to a person (viewing the same human face across different websites) is not obvious to the Google algorithm.
So from that we can establish something is brewing at Google in regards of authorship.
In fact, let’s look at an excerpt from the AuthorRank patent filed May 11, 2011:
“The identity of individual agents responsible for content can be used to influence search ratings… Assuming that a given agent has a high reputational score, representing an established reputation for authoring valuable content, then additional content authored and signed by that agent will be promoted relative to unsigned content or content from less reputable agents in search results.”
The laymen’s version of this is: each content creator will be given a value and that value will be based on their reputation for providing great content. That content creator’s content will be given weight based on that value.
At the end of the day, this means that content creators with higher value scores (aka AuthorRank) will outweigh those pieces of content with lower value scores (or no scores at all) within the SERPS.
If you read more from this patent you will find that AuthorRank is going to be effected by a lot of things. However, it will not replace PageRank. A popular SEO writer, AJ Kohn stated that, “AuthorRank won’t replace PageRank, it’ll just make it more accurate.”
Kohn goes on to point out that Google has a whole team dedicated to “The Authorship Project” which is just another breadcrumb we need to pay attention to.
And lastly, recently Google removed the author stats report from the webmaster tools dashboard. 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.”
So there you have it…
• Google does Caffeine and Panda so we know that quality is top priority at the domain level
• Google filing a patent for AuthorRank which details how it will impact rankings
• Google implementing G+ and rel=author to better entice people to track themselves
• Google removing the Labs project that included Author Stats
It’s clear that if you want to compete at all in the next couple years you have to get started today building your AuthorRank.
Do you think it’s fair for Google to rank content this way? Or, do you appreciate that Google is making it difficult for newbies to break into new markets?