Author rank a key element in content marketing

Author Rank is comingContent marketing” is a phrase to get accustomed to, if you’re not familiar with it already.

It elevates the humble-sounding crafts of copywriting, video-making, writing blog posts, email newsletters and other methods of content creation and marketing that we’re used to onto an entirely new level.

That level is where the new game of business is played, one that’s online, connected, Googled, measured, highly visible and eminently social.

Creating and publishing great content is an activity that is becoming central to the measurable business goals of many organizations. In the UK, for instance, an online survey last month said that 97 percent of those surveyed will increase or maintain the amount they spend on content marketing in 2013.

To understand why this is so important,  read guides on content marketing that are freely available on the social web, created by some smart minds who know their topic well.

A good place to start is Content Marketing: How to Build an Audience that Builds Your Business by Brian Clark at Copyblogger.

While you’re digesting that, add this topic to your immediate to-do list: hand in hand with content marketing is Google author rank. It’s a method by which Google’s search algorithms verify the author of a particular piece of content, link that author to their Google+ profile and show the author’s name and photo in search results.

There’s more to it than that, though, as Erin Griffith writing in PandoDaily explains:

[…] Google wants to prioritize content created by verified writers with authority in certain topics in its results. Credibility is what makes Google’s search results as efficient and useful as they are. Filtering out the spam was the goal of PageRank, and SEO spammer and linking schemes still found ways around that.

So now Google is verifying individual writers through its social network, Google+ with something called Author Rank. Now, if a website has connected its writer accounts with their Google+ accounts, search results show a writer’s headshot and byline next to the result for their article. Bylined stories rank higher, and they get more real estate. Most importantly, they return clickthrough rates that are 40 percent greater than normal […]

You can see why Google uses the word ‘rank.’ It’s something Google takes very seriously as evidenced by Ranking Authors in Social Media Systems, a patent application they filed in 2010. (It also illustrates one credible reason why critics who dismiss Google+ as inconsequential compared to Facebook are simply wrong.)

To be sure your content that you market is verifiably attributed to you as the author, it’s an easy matter to use Google’s author rank wizard to link yourself to your content.

Google+ author rank

Once you’ve followed all the steps in that wizard, you can use Google’s structured data testing tool to see a preview of how you will appear in Google search results when your content shows up there.

Structured data testing tool

There’s also some code that needs to be in the meta tags in the header section on your website.

If you write a blog, it’s easy to do – and easier still if you use a theme such as the Genesis Framework for WordPress that runs my blog. The latest update to Genesis incorporates an additional setting that does it for you.

Meta tag code for Google+ author rank

Now’s the time to take action to ensure that you are verifiably associated with the great content you create so that everything is connected when anyone searches on Google – and you get the clicks.

[Sean Bean image at top of page via SEOMoz. Read their post How to Prepare for AuthorRank and Get the Jump on Google.]

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Krishna De

    Neville – I would also recommend alongside rel=”author” to connect to your Google Plus Page that you also add rel=”publisher”.

    In terms of organisations I have found many large are not yet ready to attribute content to specific authors and of course many do not have Google+ Pages set up. Have you noticed that to also be the case?

    • Neville Hobson

      Thanks for that suggestion, Krishna. Google doesn’t say anything about “publisher,” though, only that “author” is essential otherwise you won’t get verified.

      I think it’s still early days for this for many organizations, for the reasons you mention among other reasons. But the topic is beginning to gain attention from early adopters and influencers, and I’d expect it to become one of increasing attention in the coming few months. It’s definitely one I’d talk to companies about.

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