Google+ Is the Key to Author Authority

When Google+ was announced during July 2011, everyone 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.”

Google+ is about getting access to critical data that Google needs to measure AuthorRank. By offering a fully integrated platform, they get access to our:

  • Subject matter of content we write and consume
  • Social graph
  • Social behavior data
  • Search behavior data

A fully anonymous internet does not help them solve this problem. But Google+ does.

AuthorRank and Search Plus Your World (SPYW)

Another update that Google pushed out in the past three years was Search Plus Your World. The idea here is that we each see personalized SERPs based on the four variables in the last section. SPYW is possible because their Google+ bet worked for a large number of us, and is still growing in acceptance.

Today we can also tag our own original content with Authorship markup. This is the way we can indicate to Google that a piece of content is our own original composition. Once accepted to the Google Authorship Program, your content will show up with your G+ profile pic in the SERPs.

The following image shows how one of my blog posts shows up in the SERPs. What would you be more likely to click, the piece with a robot-generated meta description and no image, or something like the following?

Search_Landry.jpg

Why to Get Ready Now

Google has been talking about Author Authority as a potential ranking factor for close to seven years. With that many years to figure it out and Google+ now in their corner, Google is likely mere months away from pushing it live.

The sooner you start establishing yourself as an author, the better. Anyone can join Google’s Authorship Program, including your competitors. With awareness of this still fairly low, you have a chance to get involved first. Go forth and get a head start on it.

The buying process has changed significantly, as social media and word of mouth have grown in importance. Google is already figuring out how to use author authority / reputation for influencing content rankings. It is coming sooner than many realize, so savvy marketers should get ahead of the game.

Many Web CMS systems provide plugins for managing Authorship Markup. Take the time to evaluate the best solution for your chosen platform and build it in now. You will save yourself time, budget and headaches later.

Editor's Note: This is Tommy's first article for CMSWire. To read another take on SEO, try @gerrymcgovern's Content Strategy: The Perils of Search Engine Optimization