Google Chairman’s Predictions Hint at AuthorRank

Posted by | Google, SEM, SEO, Uncategorized | No Comments

Excerpts from an upcoming book by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt were published by The Wall Street Journal last week. In the article, Schmidt laid out his seven predictions for the future of the digital age, but for marketers one sentence stood out from the rest:

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in more users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.”

To many, this seemed less like a prediction and more like a veiled confirmation of what marketers had long suspected: AuthorRank is coming.

Great AuthorRank graphic by Mode Digital.

Great AuthorRank graphic by Mode Digital

The AuthorRank saga began in 2005 when Google filed a patent for something called “Agent Rank.” The document described how the search engine could use a number of metrics to determine an “agent’s” position within a subject area. By outlining a way to consider an agent’s popularity and authority within a given subject area, marketers inferred that Google was looking to supplement the cold statistics of search with human factors.

Traditionally, Google had not had access to enough data to warrant using social interactions as a direct ranking factor. The company found a way to solve this problem in 2011 with the introduction of Google+. With its social network providing access to a trove of qualitative data, the logical next step was to incorporate it into search. Thus, AuthorRank became a reality.

Simply put, the goal of AuthorRank is to determine the credibility and popularity of an individual and the content they publish. Many factors that will likely have an impact on AuthorRank are old-hat for SEOs, such as: the number of followers on social networks and the frequency of shares, as well as the number of links, Likes, tweets, etc. The difference, however, is that Author Rank ties these metrics to the individual who publishes the content – not the website that hosts it.

This change has huge implications in the SEO world, but the first step for anyone marketing online is to claim authorship of their content. Any content a marketer has created should be tied to a verified Google+ profile. This means an author’s Google+ profile must have a link to the pages that host their content, and vice versa. Once this is done, the long climb to dominant Author Rank begins.

Everyone in the SEO industry is anxiously awaiting Google’s Panda Update 25. It is not yet known if this specific update will further the push from Page Rank to AuthorRank, but Google is clearly headed in that direction. The web strategists at The Search Engine Guys have been preparing for the move to AuthorRank for some time. If you have questions about SEO, AuthorRank, and how to prepare your website, please contact us today.

A Smarter Way To Manage Content

Posted by | Content Development, Web Design, WordPress | No Comments

hubYears ago, we made a conscious choice to transition our sites away from ASP/ .NET and embrace  WordPress as a standard across all of our client sites.  The ease of use and flexibility that are inherent with that CMS made the decision a no-brainer.  Now, our content team is able to update sites in a matter of minutes when a request comes in from a client.

Even with the convenience factors that have made this platform the world’s dominant content management system, big problems still arise when managing hundreds of WordPress sites across a plethora of hosts and IPs.  Simply from a content uploading perspective, having to open up and pick through a spreadsheet with hundreds of user names and passwords every time you want to get into a site becomes quite the chore.  Want to test a module over all of your sites?  Get ready for an all night marathon and carpal tunnel syndrome.

We needed a solution that would give us the ability to do a lot of things from one central hub and it seems we have found one that fills our requirements and much more.  After a lot of research, we came to the conclusion that InfiniteWP is the answer we’ve been looking for.  Not only can we upload to and edit any of our sites from one place, we are able to check analytics;  globally install, configure and test modules; check analytics;  schedule backups and a lot more, from one place.

If you’re managing more than one WordPress site and want to make the most of your time and efforts, it’s time to sit up and take notice of this revolutionizing product.

From Page Rank to Author Rank: the Changing Landscape of SEO

Posted by | Google, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Uncategorized | One Comment

author-rank2At the annual Search Engine Strategies conference in London last week, Searchmetrics founder Marcus Tober lead a session on “Meaningful SEO Metrics.” In the presentation, Tober tackled a variety of topics including the move from page rank to author rank in the future of SEO.

The presentation began with Tober explaining the importance of the “SEO visibility” metric. He said that the cumulative number of all relevant keyword rankings for a market reveal important trends. The ranking on single keywords is worth less, according to Tober, because of personalization, localization, and search history. Analyzing SEO strategies with this broader scope will allow businesses to see trends that are independent from seasonal effects or traffic spikes based on independent events.

One of the most notable moments in the presentation was when Tober directly disputed a statement made by Google Engineer Matt Cutts. When asked if Google +1′s affect a website’s ranking, Cutts answered “Not really.” Cutts claimed there was no “direct effect” on rankings from +1′s, but said Google does “have an authorship proposal.”

According to Tober, Cutts was not telling the whole truth. Tober excitedly told the audience that +1′s do indeed influence search. He explained that several experiments conducted over the last year in Searchmetrics Labs found that Google+ triggers instant indexation. He claimed that based on analysis with different unique postings, “URLs with a +1 are being indexed instantly and rank for the title as well as some longtail queries.”

These findings, Tober said, illustrate the move from Page Rank to Author Rank in SEO. He quoted Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt saying “Within search results, information tied to a verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.” Tober continued to say “the true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

Tober concluded the presentation by reminding SEOs to focus on the big picture and not get bogged down studying one metric. He recommended that marketers measure activity and outcomes saying, “understand how the business makes money, build a simple model, and remember that the best metrics guide behavior.”

Internally at the search engine guys we have been watching this closely… since May of 2012 Google+ profiles, circles and +1 (as well as other social media profiles which may factor into the author-rank equation) have become increasingly important to our SEO strategies. Please contact us to schedule a call with a web strategist if you have questions about SEO, author rank and how to prepare your website to “weather the storm” as Google continues to shift from page rank to author-rank.

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