A while ago, when Google first launched their Google+ social network, I wrote about how Google would eventually start to use information from your Google+ profile to influence your SEO ranking.
That’s coming true. And businesses that want to succeed at Internet marketing need to know how and why that works and know how to optimize for the new reality . Here’s the skinny.
First, a quick history lesson.
In the old days, Google used to decide how high your site’s pages should rank in search results with two factors: “Relevance” (to a specific search term) and “PageRank” (the general level of credibility your page has). There’s a lot going on below the surface of those terms, and the things that influence your Relevance and PageRank have changed over time, but that’s been the lay of the land since forever (in Internet years).
Your reputation is coming into play for SEO
Now, there is a new factor. Now Google is taking into account your credibility and your business‘ credibility in determining where your site ranks in search engine results.
How do they do that?
First, they need to connect your site’s pages back your Google+ profile and Google+ page for your business. Don’t have those? Now’s the time to get them and to start using them, because this stuff’s about to get real.
So how do you do that?
For the geekily inclined (like me), that generally means adding
tags to your site that link back to your personal and business profiles (respectively) on Google+.
But that’s only the beginning.
AuthorRank and your SEO today
Right now, your AuthorRank will push your pages up in search rankings if:
- The searcher is logged in to a Google service. Right now this represents 20% to 30% of all searches. That’s a lot.
- You have a Google+ profile and it’s linked to your site pages.
The biggest influence on how much your search ranking will go up, is whether or not your are in the searcher’s Circles on Google+ or in their contact list in Gmail.
But the more +1’s (Google+ version of “likes”), comments, and people who have you in “Circles” on Google+, the higher your search engine ranking will go, too.
The future of your SEO and AuthorRank
Nobody knows for sure what Google will do next, except Google themselves (and they’re not telling). But if you read between the lines of what they DO say – and if you look at some of the moves they’ve made in the past year – it’s pretty fair to assume that AuthorRank is going to be rolled out across all searches some time in 2013, and that:
- Google +1’s
- Comments on your Google+ posts
- Shares of your Google+ posts
- The number of people who have “circled you” (who follow you, in other words)
- Frequency of your posts to Google+
- The average traditional PageRank of stuff you’ve published in the past
- Various other factors, like whether or not you have a Wikipedia page linked to your G+ profile, whether you have books or article published on Google Books or Google Scholar, and so on
will be the main things pushing your AuthorRank up or dragging it down.
Using AuthorRank to lift your Internet marketing
As you might have guessed, AuthorRank can be the wind beneath your Internet marketing’s wings or it can be a lead ball around its ankle.
So how do you make sure that AuthorRank helps you instead of hurting you when it rolls out across the board? There are no guarantees, but some smart, educated guesses include:
- Get a Google+ profile and connect the content you’re creating now (and that you’ve created in the past) with it
- Keep blogging at least weekly. You are blogging regularly aren’t you?
- Guest blog on credible third-party sites
- Make sure the content you create is worth sharing
- Post the content you create to your Google+ profile
- Befriend other people on Google+, especially “movers and shakers”, in a personable, helpful and real way
- Build your following on Google+ (but please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t go out and buy followers on G+ or on any other social network – it won’t help)
It’s a matter of when, not if, AuthorRank makes a big splash in the SEO world. And it’s up to you whether you sink or swim.