from pagerank to author rank.

By January 23, 2013Digital Marketing

author rank typewriter

a brief history.

before we dive into author rank let’s rewind the tapes and look back at pagerank.

in broad strokes we know the conceptual underpinnings of the google algorithm. the original algorithm was developed by larry page and sergey brin in 1996. and at its core it is a method to evaluate a linked websites based on the structure of the linking and then rank them. to determine the pagerank of a page or site each element within the algorithm  is assigned a priority or rank that is based on the linking structure.

how is pagerank determined?

here is a video in which updates to pagerank are explained by matt cutts:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Jup5R1MGY&rel=0]

what is left of all this today? quite frankly relatively little, and yet at its core a whole lot. the fact that the pagerank of a page or site was a rating factor has already been established. however, because this secret recipe has been known for years and black hat seo is a household term, google has been closely investigating how to rate and rank the quality of websites in a better way. now, thanks to the panda and penguin updates, google looks at different factors that are harder to manipulate or “game”. so now google undertakes the difficult task of semantically evaluating the contents of sites based on additional non-traditional factors such as conversion rate, bounce rate and the click through rate from the search engine results page (serp). with all this new focus on engagement metrics for rankings the importance of he links naturally decreased over time.

google juice

today everyone knows the secret recipe of google’s algorithm .

agent rank as the foundation.

over 7 years ago, in 2005 google filed a patent named “agent rank” that was finally made public in october 2012. reading the patents abstract (repeatedly if necessary) you will recognize that this “agent” is actually the “author” and this patent covers “author rank”.

why authors are important.

for the longest time google had no direct access to so-called social signals. facebook and any potential data it could extract remains closed off to google. however on june 29 2011 google introduced the foundation for its own social signals: google+.

and just like that a human factor was added to the purely mechanical algorithm that black hat seo had found a way around. in contrast to facebook’s edge rank, google+ is not a closed system and can be used to extract data points from across the web.

google can now evaluate authors and the content they create. the key concepts of author rank are (1) to identify the author, (2) determine his or her area of expertise, and (3) determine the popularity of his or her articles.

what signals are important to author rank?

  • how many followers does the author have on google+?
  • how often are his or her articles shared?
  • how often are his or her articles commented on, receive inbound links, facebook liked, tweeted, +1 ‘d, added to circles, etc. and distributed?
  • how trustworthy are the site the author published to?

pagerank versus author rank.

the big difference between pagerank and author rank is that now not only the website will be evaluated, but also the author of individual page on the websites. now the author’s good reputation will reflect onto his or her article, and ultimately that reputation will help the website that publishes their articles.

authors are now indirectly armed with a “weapon” called author rank which is their reputation and thus can influence what they charge per article.

why you need to be ready.

in google’s never-ending mission to show high quality, trustworthy content for their searchers, author rank is the next logical step. after more than seven years, they are about ready to implement it.

also, lets’ assume that you want to start a new website or write for a new and different site. especially if the site is new, it is difficult to gain new users. however, in the future if google already knows you as an author and you have a high reputation it can be much easier to gain traction for seo.

my two cents.

obviously author rank is another step towards putting black hat seo out of business for good. the – now in seo circle famous – so called “animal updates” of panda and penguin to the google algorithm were steps to get rid of spam on the results page. but now author rank adds a truly human factor to the rankings that cannot be easily manipulated by the black hat seo industry. so ultimately i believe author rank will produce more relevant results for searchers.

shameless self promotion:

as the number of google plus followers is a factor for author rank i ask everyone to please follow me on google+. simply click the badge below. thanks ahead of time!


read my follow-up article on how to do seo for author rank.
in addition it includes many more details about author rank & authorship:

  • how do i make myself an “author” on google?
  • do my articles need to be liked or +1’d?
  • is there a difference between sharing, liking and +1’ing?
  • do i need followers on google+?
  • how do i get (more) followers?
  • is it important who follows me?
  • can I upgrade my author rank?
  • it is important that content is only available on my site?
  • should i guest post and have articles appear on other sites?
  • is author rank already in use by google?
  • Mark Regan

    Nice post Eric. Looking forward to your next installment on the “how to” of AuthorRank.

  • Thank you Mark! Keep your eyes peeled for the AuthorRank “how to” coming next Wednesday.

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