The new AuthorRank search signal from Google (which has not been implemented yet), is an interesting collision between personal branding and content marketing.
People want to read content written by credible and knowledgeable people and using AuthorRank as a major part of their search algorithm just makes sense.
It’s like Klout for writers.
As content marketers, we already create that kind of content. It’s good for our clients and our own businesses. Good content marketing gets our companies noticed, which helps them make money.
But now, the writers of those pieces are going to be tied to the quality of that content as well. It means we have to write good copy, and those who don’t, will rank poorly. It means you can’t lend your name and your website to outside paid links. It means you can’t slack off on the writing, but that you have to feed the Google Beast on a regular basis.
In Branding Yourself, Kyle Lacy and I talked about the importance of blogging as it relates to growing your personal brand. This new move by Google represents a merging of personal branding and content marketing.
AuthorRank = AuthorReputation
It means that being a good writer, or at least a passable one, affects more than just your personal brand. In some ways, you can be a good writer and be totally anonymous. But now Google can figure out that you’re a good writer, and you’re someone whose work should appear in their search results.
The best way to improve your AuthorRank? First, make sure you write good stuff, and don’t do any keyword stuffing. Also, don’t put a bunch of ads on your blog or website. That chips away at your page’s TrustRank, which will in turn affect your AuthorRank.
It also means that you need to protect your AuthorReputation (I just made that up). You wouldn’t publish photos of you doing keg stands on Facebook for every hiring manager to see. You also shouldn’t publish articles on low-trust article sites or sites that have run afoul of Google Penguin’s algorithm updates.
It means you need to add one more social network, Google+, to your arsenal and learn how to use it effectively. It means you need to continue to be a good sharer of other people’s work on all of your social networks, so they’re more willing to share yours (remember, Google is also looking at social signals as part of search, which means they’ll probably be looking at your social signals as part of your AuthorRank).