Judge Cred: Will Google Authorship Help Writers?


‘Content is king’ as the old maxim goes and whilst there’s still an infinite amount of truth in that statement, the intriguing sub-plot that developed over the past decade or so could perhaps be framed as ‘visibility is a close second’.

Many a beautifully scripted site bearing gifts of great content has got lost in the vast, cacophonous sea of information that is the internet.

From early paid link schemes, through unnatural links to the frowned-upon ‘carpet-bombing’ practises of Link Farms, there’s been an ongoing search for new and improved ways to optimise website rankings.

The algorithms used in search engines have long been the subject of much keen analysis (and equally keen tinkering with a view to manipulating) but the latest phase in online behemoth, Google’s development intends to restore some much-needed transparency and trust to the SEO process with Google+ Authorship Markup.

Still in somewhat of a fledgling state, the (very) basic gist of Authorship is that it will require published content to be referenced against a verified Google+ author identity. Content creators can link their content to their Google+ account via Google Authorship.

The overall premise being that your content will effectively then contain your personal digital ‘water-mark’ and that the reputation and quality of your content will directly impact on your results within Google’s search-engine.

The verification procedure itself involves three separate methods…3-Link, 2-Link and Email verification, which each seek to build trust in links and to replace some of the more nefarious SEO spamming practises of recent years with a far more honest and translucent system of rating links.

As mentioned, that is a fairly simplified précis of the whole process but it sees an idea come to fruition that Google has been quietly working towards since it patented its prototype, Agent Rank, as far back as 2005.

For Google the grail has consistently been to move towards an ever-more reliable content rating system and the imminent arrival of AuthorRank will combine fluidly (at least once all the teething glitches are ironed out) with Authorship Markup to create even more dependability.

Indeed, it could be that the SEO playing-field is about to be levelled out and that, from now on, the best way to ensure that you gain (and maintain) a reputation for producing high-quality web-content is…to actually produce high-quality web-content. Reputation will once again have to be earned rather than rigged, which can only be a good thing. 

Fore-warned is definitely fore-armed and the wise content providers are already producing Authored content along with retro-authoring their existing content in order that it counts in the new world order of Google’s rankings.

This promises to be one of the biggest paradigm shifts in link-building circles for a long time…not to mention an astute way for Google to give a timely shot in the arm to its Google+ network giving it a new lease of life as your own, unique, hub of authorship.

Time will tell but it certainly looks like the days of SEO through strategic manipulation may be coming to an end. Content, it would appear, may still be king for some time to come. 

Photo (cc) Kathy Cassidy