By Marc Purtell | @MarcPurtell | Director, SEO
Editor’s note: This is the first post in a two-part series on predictions in search engine marketing and SEO in 2013. The series is based on MediaWhiz’s new white paper,“SEO in 2013: The Year of the Consumer.” Download your copy.
When considering major trends that will impact SEO in 2013 it’s clear that AuthorRank will play an increasingly important role in marketers’ search and SEO strategies.
PageRank has long been the standard high-level metric used to identify the relative quality of a Web page. There is arguably limited value in using PageRank as a quality metric over the last few years, but it can still be meaningful in conjunction with other quality metrics (i.e. domain authority, page authority, etc.)
In 2013 a new quality metric will take the spotlight when it comes to page quality and search engine ranking. This metric is affectionately known as AuthorRank (or Agent Rank, according to Google’s patent).
Here’s why AuthorRank will help reshape SEO in 2013:
AuthorRank: A Brief Overview
Content quality, as measured by search engines, is no longer based solely on the authority of a domain or Web page. It is increasingly based on the reputation and authority of the individual that authored the content. This reputational score grades authors on the Web and used that grade when ordering natural search engine results.
How is AuthorRank Established?
The standard method for an author on the Web to be credited by Google with the content they produce is to tie pages they have written to their Google Plus profiles. This is done using rich snippets. Authors are then ranked based on the engagement factors of the content they produce. These factors include: social endorsements (tweets, +1’s, shares, likes); the influence and relevancy of those providing the social endorsements; comments on social networks (such as Yelp); the influence and relevancy of those commenting; and the quality and relevancy of inbound links pointing to the content. The more an author writes on a topic, and the more engagement with that content, the higher that author’s rank will be for a specific topic.
Leveraging AuthorRank for Search Engine Rankings
There are several ways for marketers to improve AuthorRank on their brand’s website. These include finding authors who already have AuthorRank and building the AuthorRank of those within the organization.
Brands that do not currently have authors with a strong online reputation should conduct author outreach for short-term content. They should also build up the AuthorRank of those within their organization to leverage in the long term.
Author outreach consists of identifying and reaching out to authors that already have authority in the space most relevant to a brand’s industry.
Conducting Google searches for a set of keywords that the brand trying to rank for and looking for rich snippet-enhanced results is a great way to identify authoritative authors in the space. Within those rich-snippet-enhanced results will be a line item indicating how many Google Plus circles the author is included in. That number is a good metric to consider when assessing the writer’s relative AuthorRank value to a brand. Scoring authors based on the number of Google Plus circles they are included in, combined with the number of relevant search queries for which they appear, will provide a prioritized list of potential authors to engage for content marketing opportunities. Connect with those authors and reach out to them to provide fresh content for your brand’s site.
Targeting popular websites and blogs is important so that more eyes will be on the content. This will increase opportunities for online engagement and commenting, two critical factors in improving a site’s AuthorRank. As the presence and influence of the author’s work increases so will the brand’s AuthorRank, which will increase site traffic over the long run.
As search marketing and SEO become more content-focused disciplines, marketers in 2013 will need to pay attention to AuthorRank. The days of PageRank’s hold over SEO are numbered. The era of AuthorRank’s dominance of SEO is here.
What are your predictions for SEO in 2013?