Today, more than ever before, the customer controls the majority of the decision process: they are overall more savvy and more critical of marketing messaging.
- They want to do their own research without sales-driven bias.
- Word of mouth has become an even bigger factor in the decision process.
The idea of a linear life cycle or buyer’s journey model is obsolete. Today, customers want to find you themselves, research what you do, compare you to competitors, and survey their social and business networks to learn if your claims are true … all before they will engage with your sales team to discuss price.
We now have a self-driven customer base that wants to eliminate all but the best options up front. With such control now sitting in the hands of the prospect, businesses are being forced to adapt their marketing strategies.
Most enterprises and mid-sized businesses today are coming around to the idea that we are all publishers. If you are not generating a steady stream of content that addresses the needs of the customer at every stage of their decision process, your business is missing revenue opportunities.
Here Comes AuthorRank
We have established that it is crucial to your SEO and Social Marketing efforts to take on that publisher mindset. Not only does it help answer more questions for the customers, but it also provides frequent opportunities to exhibit thought leadership, share your view of the world and help you stay top of mind with prospects.
But something big is coming: AuthorRank.
AuthorRank is a big deal. Let’s examine the exact verbiage from the Google original “Agent Rank” Patent submitted in 2005:
The identity of individual agents responsible for content can be used to influence search ratings.
Assuming that a given agent has a high reputational score, representing an established reputation for authoring valuable content, then additional content authored and signed by that agent will be promoted relative to unsigned content or content from less reputable agents in search results.”
Essentially, Google has long been cooking up another ranking signal which ties directly to the reputation of the person authoring each piece of content.
Google has put a lot of effort into cleaning up the state of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). First there was Panda, which aimed to improve the quality of the search results. Then there was Fresh, tasked with pushing more recent or timely results higher in the rankings. In April of 2012, we got our first taste of Penguin, which targets manipulative backlinking strategies. When you mix in updates for over optimization and exact-match domain names, they have made great strides in that effort.
All of these updates have been focused on more traditional SEO strategies and ranking factors. The next step is to add a major factor for ranking Author Authority. This is what AuthorRank is met to address.
In the future, on-page will dictate relevance, quality links and social shares will dictate page/site authority, and author reputation will push content from known experts further up the SERPs.
Google+ Is the Key to Author Authority
When Google+ was announced during July 2011, everyone naturally assumed it was a social network, built in response to sites like Facebook and Twitter. They were completely off base.
Sure, Google+ has the look of a social network, but it is really the key to Google finally figuring out social search.
According to Vic Gundotra, SVP of Social Business for Google, “Google+ is just an upgrade to Google.” He continues, “Google is taking its amazing products, and by bringing them together, they just become more awesome.”