Content marketing is serious business these days. The vast majority of consumers prefer to learn about a brand through a series of articles rather than an advertisement (even though they know a company is selling something). And 60% of consumers say that this type of marketing positively impacts their view of a company creating content. We also know that blogging has a significant impact on overall website traffic.
However, the content game is changing drastically, with most SEOs saying 2013 is the year of Google AuthorRank.
The concept of Google AuthorRank is simple: An individual content creator’s authority within a specific field or fields will impact search engine ranking.
For Google, this is a great way to weed out spammers and link builders who game the system; it’s more difficult to create a fake identity that produces quality content. In order to make this happen, you’ll need a Google Plus profile (see below).
There’s a good chance that AuthorRank is already part of the overall ranking equation, so treat the word “prepare” with caution. In this case, prepare means rethinking your company’s relationship with its content creators. The fact is, with Google AuthorRank, you can’t keep content creators hidden anymore.
The idea of making content creators visible is still something with which many companies are rather uncomfortable. (Content marketing king GE doesn’t even have bylines on its GE Reports articles.) But AuthorRank will make this policy more and more difficult for companies that want to keep their employees behind the curtain.
So for companies who don’t have content creators “out there” or are simply looking to prepare for Google AuthorRank, here are four steps your business can take to get started:
To compete in an AuthorRank world, where authority can only be built by sharing knowledge, you need a core group of expert content creators. Determine which individuals at your company (from any department) will be able to build authority online and contribute regularly. Just don’t stifle the individual.
These content creators should be able to represent your company, but also be themselves on their social networks. This authenticity will be important for building authority and relationships. (More on that in Step 4.)
Every company content creator should have a Google Plus profile. Google Plus isn’t simply a search engine; it is the primary way Google will identify writers and match them with their articles. Once the content creators have a Google Plus profile, they can register for authorship here. (If you’re still green when it comes to Google Plus, here’s a simple cheat sheet to get up to speed.)
Like any other social network, it’s important to find relevant connections who would be interested in your client. Google Plus is similar to Twitter in this respect. When you add other industry authorities to your “circles” on Google Plus, some may add you to their circles in return. Others may not follow you back until you interact with them on their profile.
Either way, that initial connection is necessary to build up authority as your company’s content creators share their content on Google Plus.
Now, we’re leaving Google Plus for a little bit of old school public relations. Every industry has authorities, and chances are these authorities will focus on building their own AuthorRank.
Your content creators should build a network of authorities around them – people they can email or call on the phone…not just +1 an update. Pitch them your own posts, invite them to write a guest blog on your site, or simply talk about what’s going on in your industries.
If industry authorities write a post for your website, their AuthorRank will be applied to it. And if they link to one of your content creator’s posts, that will likely increase visibility because you’re a source for a high ranking authority. This relationship building, in the world of AuthorRank, will beat old-school link building every time.
How do you think Google AuthorRank will impact your company’s content marketing strategy? Let me know in the comments below.
Dan Stasiewski is an Enterprise Data Analyst at Kuno Creative, an enterprise inbound marketing agency. When he’s not talking about marketing data and trends, he’s probably in a movie theater… or randomly breaking into song. You can connect with Dan via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus.