How Google AuthorRank Will Define Your Professional Web Presence

The next big shakeup in the Google search algorithm is on the horizon. It’s called AuthorRank – and while content marketers and SEO whizzes scramble to get their affairs in order ahead of the impending change, it also forebodes broader implications for the Average Internet Joe/Jane looking to maintain a professional presence on the web. If you’ve ever published content online to build your professional presence, listen up.

What is Google AuthorRank?

PageRank is the engine that powers Google’s search results—it’s a complex algorithm that assigns an overall score to a link, moving it up or down in the search rankings. AuthorRank is another tool in PageRank’s utility belt. Essentially, AuthorRank matches articles across the web with their proper author, scores that author on their overall credibility and uses that score to affect search results. That’s the fundamental concept, but it’s not what’s most important about it.

AuthorRank + Google+ = Look at the Pretty Pictures

A Google search for "Author Rank" turns up these smiling photos.
Not surprisingly, most content marketers are ahead of the curve. 3 of the first 5 results–and 7 of 10 total on the first page–have already adapted for the onset of the AuthorRank era.

Notice anything? If you’re like most people, the first thing that catches your eye is those radiant smiling faces where the dull black and blue text used to be. Where do those headshots come from? The answer is Google+. Google’s social network has carved out a nice reputation as a sharing and networking haven for web-savvy professionals. With the introduction of AuthorRank, Google is pushing for stronger attribution standards paired with visual indicators in the search results, which leans on the inherent power of human connection to drastically increase click-through and engagement rates on the content you publish.

Even if you aren’t a content marketer by title, you can probably see where this is going. AuthorRank is your online portfolio, paired with your memorable face, right there in the Google search results. It enhances your personal brand and professional savvy—equally as useful to a company looking to infuse the human element into brand communications as it is for hopeful job applicants showing off their writing and networking talents . If you’re a jobseeker (or a freelancer for hire), taking advantage of Google’s newest feature shows that you understand the social landscape like the back of your hand.

When is AuthorRank Coming, and How do I Prepare?

Google has confirmed they are collecting data with eyes on integrating the Author Rank system into their ranking algorithm at some point in the future. We don’t know when “the future” is – but can you really take the chance on procrastinating? As soon as Google flips the switch, content marketers who are ready for the change will hurdle you in the search results.

Put it this way…who is more prepared when the apocalypse comes: the family that built and stocked a bomb shelter in their yard, or the guy grabbing armfuls of canned food from his cupboard, bolting out the front door and frantically running for cover? And while that family may take pity and open their shelter to hapless neighbors, you won’t meet Ned Flanders in the SEO world – content marketers are looking out for themselves (and their results) first and foremost.

So how do you position yourself for AuthorRank? For help with that, we turn to this awesomely detailed AuthorRank Infographic by Blueglass. (Apologies for the empty video frames, but they’re in the original – just another reason to give Blueglass those well-earned pageviews!)