Ask an Expert: What Small Businesses Need to Know About Google AuthorRank

There has been a lot of buzz over the last few weeks about Google AuthorRank, a new search algorithm being introduced by Google sometime in the next few months.

Much like EdgeRank on Facebook, AuthorRank will serve to filter what type of content shows up when an individual performs a search using Google. With AuthorRank, the reputation and authority of the author publishing a particular piece of content will matter more than ever before.

The biggest criteria being used to determine that reputation and authority include:

  • The average number of +1s and Google+ shares the author’s content receives
  • The number of Google+ circles an author is in
  • The number and authority of sites an author’s content has been published to
  • Social proof indicators on individual pieces of content (including comments per post)

Google AuthorRank is exciting news for content creators and could make a big impact on the ways small businesses get discovered online.

This week, I sat down with Constant Contact Search Marketing Manager, Peter Hughes to learn more about AuthorRank and what it could mean for your business.

Check out this week’s edition of Ask an Expert and please, leave any questions you still have about AuthorRank in the comments section below.

Here is the transcript if you would rather read.

What is Google AuthorRank?

Google AuthorRank represents a subtle but potentially huge difference in the way Google ultimately presents its rankings.

Historically, rank has always been based on the individual page, or the content, or the domain for that particular piece of content whereas now it’s going to start to bring into the fold the authors of content themselves. Suddenly the who becomes important—so who wrote it—as well as what is written.

This will mean that the domain experts will suddenly rise to the forefront based on the fact that they have contributed and written articles about specific topics over the course of time, rather than just one piece that generated a ton of inbound links two or three years ago.

Why should small businesses care about AuthorRank?

This really has the potential to be a game changer when it comes to search. For certain, right now, what it does represent is a leveling of the playing field to some degree.

Results will now be based on the who rather than the what. Small business owners are, by definition, domain experts.

So creating content, making sure you’re talking about specific topics, and really throwing out your education to your audience and to your customers will allow your content to rise to the fore in a way it probably wouldn’t have had a chance to in the past. Again, it’s less about the links a post is generating now and more about how many links you, as an author, generate over time.

This will level the playing field by allowing your library of content to rise to the top rather than a specific post.

What can a small business do to take advantage of the opportunities AuthorRank presents?

Verify your authorship status on Google+. The URL is plus.google.com/authorship.

On that you’ll be able to submit your details to Google to ensure that they know you are who you say you are.

At that point, continue to create content that informs and engages an audience.

Really what you’re looking for at this point is sustained readership, social sharing, and engagement. It’s less about writing for links and more about writing for engagement and for social sharing—all of which are becoming really crucial signals to search engines.

At some point these could become even more important than inbound links, but for now focus on creating content that informs and engages readership over a sustained period.

Get the help you need to create great content

As you can see, creating content is more important now than ever before.

The good news is we’ve created a bunch of great content of our own to help you get started!

Still have questions about what AuthorRank could mean for your business? Post them in the comments below.

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