Tag Archive for: Eric Schmidt

If Eric Schmidt’s book, “The New Digital Age”, is to be believed, Google’s authorship markup is going to play a huge role in search engine result pages before long. Given, as Search Engine Watch points out, Schmidt has a “talk first, think later” habit which has caused some great, though not always reliable, soundbites  but the fact that this is in his upcoming book, rather than a random interview, lends this quite a bit of reliability.

The Wall Street Journal published some excerpts from the book, and it is one in particular which has caught the eye of SEO professionals.

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

Google introduced their authorship markup in 2011, and stated at the time that they were “looking closely at ways this markup could help us highlight authors and rank search results,” but since then it has faded into the background in many ways. Google’s plans for the future bring it very much so back onto the table. Schmidt’s comment has made it very clear that Google wants to implement Google+ as a verification device. On one hand, it would be one of the best combatants against spammers imaginable. On the other, do we really want a future where we are forced to be on Google+ just so people can find your website?

It’s hard to keep up with Google’s constant adjustments, and AuthorRank is a future feature that isn’t as understood as it probably should be. Its history dates back to August of 2005 when Google filed a patent for “Agent Rank”.

This patent included ranking “agents” and using the public reception to the content they create to determine their rank. Basically, the more popular websites with positive responses would be higher in rankings than less-authoritive “agents”.

After the patent, “AgentRank” disappeared for a while, until in 2011 Eric Schmidt made references to identifying agents in order to improve search quality. A month later, they filed a patent for what is assumed to have become Google+, which acts as a digital signature system for identification, which can be tied to content. And that content can be ranked. Hello, AuthorRank.

It has yet to be officially implemented, but there have been rumors all year that AuthorRank is under development, and AJ Kohn has stated it could completely change the search engine game. It would act as a factor in PageRank, which makes high-quality content higher ranked.

Mike Arnesen at SEOmoz says it’s not a matter of “if Google rolls out AuthorRank, but when.” He also has some great suggestions of how to be prepared for when AuthorRank arrives. I highly suggest reading his extensive article, because I agree strongly with the idea AuthorRank will be here sooner rather than later.

With Google’s recent focus on social media, and the natural concept that people want to see quality content in their results, it is just a matter of time before AuthorRank is a serious concern to the SEO industry.