Digital Agencies and companies need to start investing in their writers as author reputation and authorrank becomes and important factor in search marketing and SEO.
No matter what SEO practices you use, trust has always been at the heart of SEO – or at least imitating trust. Google spiders can only do so much in determining ranking factors that emulate trust. It used to be links (recommendations or votes from other websites to your website), unique content (because no one trusts a cheater or copier) at the end of the day Google is just looking for trustworthy ways to rank sites that people will like.
Of course long term improving your website and business, providing great linkable content for your customers will eventually get you results but SEO quick fixes means Google has cracked down on some of the factors they used to rank sites, not completely but the more SEO’s have manipulated these methods then the bigger the adjustment to the algorithms. You can see examples of this from the recent Penguin updates and crack downs on poor quality exact match domains.
A great way for Google to measure trust is through real people, therefore AuthorRank looks set to have a big impact on SEO in the coming months. Author Rank identifies the authors of certain blog posts and articles and their engagement through shares, links and other social endorsements. There has been some controversy over the impact social media and social engagement has on search but AuthorRank seems to have some weight in the search engines and the impact it has seems to be connected to social media shares, bookmarks and engagements to some extent.
AuthorRank means that Google can attribute content to a real person who has gained trust, to create a fake social account and author that regularly engages with people would be costly so from Google’s point of view there is a lot of trust in individual authors. This trust can be attributed to guest posts and posts on company websites helping to build up the trust of the website through the authors own reputation.
Time to invest in your writers
It is no longer enough to just spin content, but you need to engage with your audience, you write a piece that grabs people’s attention and is shared building your own reputation, personal brand or that of your writers.
It is now very important to support your writers posts and encourage them to write good content, invest in good posts and research that will be shared and build their reputation as well as your website.
AuthorRank is identified by using rich snippets and markup you will also link your website to Google plus accounts (yes that means if you haven’t got one or been making use of it you really should). Google has been sending messages out to Google accounts letting them know they have been recognised as an author and more and more authors are being pulled into the search engines. This trust of a Google plus profile, good content and correct coding is turning into a significant ranking factor in search engines.
You can see here my own authors profile picture is being pulled into the search engines;
Who Owns the Content if your Authors leave?
So you have invested time in your writers, your authors have fantastic profiles, can write great content are trained up to write engaging SEO friendly content and their posts are helping you do well in the search engines, but what happens if they leave?
All companies take on and lose employees, in an ideal world the investment you put into these individuals should mean they are loyal to you, but in reality building their reputation will probably make them more appealing to other companies and more likely to be scouted, so what happens to that content if they leave?
I am of the opinion that if an employee works on the company blog in company time then that content belongs to the company, it would not do anyone any favours to start removing content. However, the company should not then remove the author tag or replace with another employees name or author profile as this content will be contributing to the individuals online footprint and reputation.
I can see a future where AuthorRank is important many legal and HR issues coming up as staff join and leave companies, I personally believe once content is published it should stay where it is and if the author leaves then it will just become part of a breadcrumb trail of the individuals career. I am unsure how this will affect rankings as a prolific author with a good reputation leaves a company and may see battles over recruitment and retention.
I am interested to see how this pans out, but also if anyone else has any experience or opinions already please comment.