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In the early days of search, Google saw all links as equally important, allowing for SEO practitioners to manipulate the system using black-hat techniques.
As a result, the legitimacy of links had to be called into question by Google, who created algorithms to analyse the relevance and quality of links as well as use other signals to determine page rank, bringing about a change (and improvement) in many business’ content marketing.
This article will explain how the concept of authorship has been introduced to help reclaim the legitimacy of links.
Moving away from links
Many surveys have shown that the Google algorithm has been slowly moving away from using links as the primary factor for determining rankings. As time has gone on, algorithms have been taking into account other factors such as social metrics, page level keyword usage and domain-level link authority features.
This has seen the power of links drop, with many commentators speculating that Google have lost trust in them because of over manipulation by black-hat SEOs. In order for links to play a significant role, they need to be shown to be trustworthy.
Social media has undoubtedly changed the way in which people use the internet as well as the way in which Google determines high quality content. Social signals such as likes, tweets and +1’s are a great way of showing a user’s endorsement of website content and pages.
Many SEO practitioners have discussed whether social signals will eventually overtake links in importance. The general consensus is that despite being useful, social signals are not adequate for determining relevance, meaning that links will continue to play a significant role.
Reinvigorating the link
So how can Google re-stimulate the power of the link? Their answer: authorship.
Google have now allowed for people to link their personal Google+ account with web pages and posts with the implementation of “rel author”. This allows for Google to see the people connected/contributing to websites and pages as well as determine how trustworthy the link is.
By seeing that a link is authored by a specific individual who is deemed to be trustworthy, Google can ensure that their work is original and of high quality. Additionally, and most critically, the weighting of links can be changed according to the AuthorRank of that person’s Google+ account.
This in turn can allow Google to create Authored PageRank figures for each website. This means that Authors who have a strong presence on social media sites such as Google+ can enhance the page rank of the sites they contribute to because they are deemed to be trustworthy, and an authority, by Google.
What will this change?
With the introduction of authorship, the issue of trusting links can now be overcome. Who your links are from will become as important as where you get your links from. This means that SEO practitioners and website owners should begin to place a significant importance on becoming trustworthy in the eyes of Google if they wish to increase rankings in the SERPs.
Those that do will find themselves in high demand.