When Google+ was launched in September 2011, there were mixed reviews in the digital community. At first it seemed that Google’s attempts to compete on the social media platform were a miss, but perhaps it was the user’s perception of its intended use(s) that were misguided. Over the course of 2012, Google+ efforts as a collaborative platform started to materialize by two game changing tools: Google Authorship and AuthorRank.
Have you noticed that when you search in Google a thumbnail-sized picture of the author picture appears along with the searched content? That’s Google Authorship at work. However, it doesn’t simply link an author’s picture with their content – it also suggests other content by that author (essentially creating a digital paper trail), a link to their Google+ Profile, and a running tally of how many times other readers clicked on the link. As shown from early studies, Authorship increases click-through rate by 150% because the content is perceived to be more credible.
However, it’s a double-sided effort; Google Authorship and AuthorRank go hand-in-hand. The concept of AuthorRank is that your reputation as content creator will affect the ranking of search results. This “back-end” partner is an algorithm change, related in concept to PageRank (another algorithm designed to measure relative importance of search results). However, AuthorRank identifies individual content creators and their knowledge of certain subjects, and subsequently ties in social media by also linking the perception of what other readers think of their published content.
How does Authorship + AuthorRank + Social Networking = positive ranking impact? In short, Authorship takes posted content and identifies the user who created it through Google+ and other social media platforms and bundles it together (picture, biography, related content). With the culmination of Authorship, how many followers the user has, how often their content is shared, and how often the user is recognized by “likes,” “tweets,” re-posts, links, etc., AuthorRank then determines how credible the content is and ranks the content accordingly in the search results. Using both of these tools successfully undoubtedly gains SEO power for both individuals and the companies they work for; a digital win-win.[googleplusauthor]