How To Capitalize on AuthorRank
You've heard of AuthorRank, and you want to capitalize on it, but how? SEO changes so fast. It used to be that you could stuff your meta-keywords tag and rocket yourself to the top of the SERPs. A wellspring of anonymous authors got a lot of traffic, and a lot of spam sites presumably made a lot of money. Now, apparently, Google wants more quality and less anonymity. Meta-keywords have been out for a long time, but authorship hasn't been a big deal - until now.
Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are
Google is encouraging you to stop being anonymous. It's going to start following you all over the web. That's probably a good thing for a couple of reasons. First, the web is becoming more social with Facebook and Google+. It's not that the web wasn't social before though, it's just that people are wandering away from blogs and going to social networking sites. Yeah, they end up back on blogs in the comments section too, but bloggers and businesses are spreading out their writing efforts to stay in front of their audience.
If you want to be recognized for all of your epic Google+ updates and guest blog posts, it's time to fill out your Google+ profile a bit. Find a snazzy picture of yourself and start posting to your profile. Make sure you update your address, phone, everything.
Then, head over to your Wordpress Admin area and log into your site. Go to "users," then click on your name. Scroll to the bottom. See where it says "Google+"? Paste the URL to your Google+ profile. Fill out the author title page and meta description while you're at it. BAM! You're done. Wait for your picture to start showing up in search results.
If you want to verify that you've done everything right, use Google's structured data tool: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets
Don't Be Irrelevant
Google is giving you fair warning that authorship is important. According to Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt:
"Within search results, information tied to 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. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance."
Yeah. "Might be irrelevance." That's a nice way of saying anonymous authors will disappear (which is probably what will eventually happen over time). Google wants to be more relevant, but they may also be going for a sort of quality control. People who are published on the web, and who are published on sites that matter, usually only get published in those places because they have been vetted by a real-life editor. That's good new for users and you know Google loves that kind of thing.
How To Score More Authorship Points
The name of the game is relationship building. It's not as sexy as buying links, but it's the only real way that ever worked to build a real business - which is what you should be doing on the web anyway. Here are a few ways to score major authorship points:
- Find the best writers in your industry. Linkdex is an amazing tool for this. If you can connect with the best of the best, you'll be one leg up on the competition - you'll be associating with the right pool of people.
- Hire real writers, not "copywriters." If you can't write, don't fake it. The days of "SEO writing" are numbered. The whole Google authorship and AuthorRank thing is about trust - Google wants to rank trustworthy sites. Trust = authors who know what they're talking about, not copywriters earning $5 for a 500 word article - pumping out keyword-stuffed garbage.
- Content isn't just words on the screen. This one is tough. How much new information can you really come up with every week? Well, that's the trick - creating something new. But "new" doesn't always mean text-based content. What about video? Infographics? Podcasts? Take a broad topic that's well-covered and dig deeper into it to pull out aspects of that topic that no one's talking about yet. Put into some other medium besides print/text, and you might have yourself a winner, week after week.