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When People Outrank Websites

How people could start outranking websites as part of Google's fight against WebSpam.
by

Gareth Cartman

on 13 November 2015

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Transcript of When People Outrank Websites

Webspam, Influence, Author Rank,
a new kind of SEO

When People Outrank Websites
The internet grows up...

Keyword stuffing - product, product
product, product, product, product
product, product, product, product

... and it worked

But links were valued for traffic, not for "passing pagerank"
Pre-Google (Altavista)
1996
Black hat is easy
Automated software to steal content from other websites
Automated software to build links
Hiding keyword-stuffed text on pages
Multiple websites to fill SERPs
Article distribution en masse
Lots of shady people doing shady things...
The good people could only get noticed through lots of hard work
Black Hat SEO
2000
Links are votes, get more links
Commenting on blogs
Links in forum signatures
Links in mass distributed articles
Links in Press Releases
Links from reciprocal partners
Link pages
Link farms
Directories (get them all!)
Social bookmarks
Any link will do...
2004
Spam prevention algorithm updates
Panda hits bad content
Penguin hits bad inbound links
The Black Hat SEO world goes mental
The White Hat SEO world celebrates
However... in a blind test, people preferred Bing's results to Google's
Post-penguin: many types of link are harmful, leading to Negative SEO
Panda and Penguin
2011+
When people outrank websites...
A new way of fighting webspam
that relies on influential people (and a bit of technology)
The potential for influential people to influence rankings
2012+
Spammers have multiple personalities
None of them are real...
Spammers are outranking influential people
So we need a more rigid system
- one that rewards real people
- one that rewards popular people
- one that rewards influential people
The solution - find out who is real
Klout is supposed to measure influence...
It uses a complex calculation, measuring tweets, followers, retweets, mentions, facebook likes, google plus ones, linkedin popularity, and so on...
But does it work?

Alternatives:
Kred, Proscore, Topsy
Meet Klout
This is me...
This is Big Ben...
This is what Big Ben does all day...
And this is what Klout thinks of Big Ben
OMG, what is this?
Badly conceived, badly marketed, misunderstood and missold
Typically Google
Social network? No...
Google's need for data? Yes...
Google's need to fight webspam? Yes...
Tie yourself in to a G+ profile, link your sites to your articles
Meet Google Plus
Spam
The fightback
You
Google's author rank patent attributes a score to people
This is your reputational / influence score
Here's what Google said:

“Assuming that a given agent has a high reputational score, representing an established reputation for authoring valuable content, then additional content authored and signed by that agent will be promoted relative to unsigned content or content from less reputable agents in search results.”
Let's get author-ranked
This is a blog post
This is my profile (notice the link to G+ on my name)
The article received comments
(++ for author rank)
It got tweeted
... and liked on LinkedIn
You can build your own author
rank today
Have your own blog - company, personal, both
Link it to your personal G+ account
Build your followers (e.g. FollowerWonk)
Write, and reach out
Write for others (include rel="author" tag in bio)
Share everything, everywhere
Be unique, have a voice
Vary your content - include infographics, video, images, etc.
Get to know other influential authors + be in their circles
So, this author
rank thing...
Engagement with article (NOT bounce rate, but time on page)
Number of retweets
Quality of retweets (author rank of retweeters)
Number of Facebook Shares
Popularity of Facebook sharers
Number of Google +1's
Popularity of those +1-ing your content
Linkedin shares
Influence of Linkedin users
Number of comments (Google releasing commenting code)
Quality of comments (i.e. not spam)
Number of links to your article
Google's perceived quality of your article (yes, they can rate it)
You are real (you have profiles)
Influences on Author Rank
Engagement metrics
Google knows how to assess your grammar
Dwell time is already measured
Google Webmaster Tools keeps a record of article engagement
Article quality
Only editorial, in-context links are of any value for rankings
Links from high author rank authors are the holy grail of SEO (e.g. Guardian, Telegraph)
Authors can 'sell their services'
Google's search engine rankings are based on both relevance and real-world popularity...
... and a certain amount of technical knowledge to implement their requirements!
The future
of the web

You may not know this man, but he's the
most influential payroll practitioner in the UK. And he writes. Lots.
He wins awards.
He sits on HMRC committees.
People listen to him.
Do you have a Simon Parsons?
Find your influential people
Not everyone has a twitter account
Not everyone's a social butterfly
Do it for them
Their focus should be on providing quality, shareable content that is relevant to your industry and your community.
Build up their networks with relevant & influential followers.
Connect your influential people
Link profiles to G+, G+ to blog, profiles to articles
Use Google's Rich Snippet Testing tool
Their face will appear in the SERPs









update: if you have a really unique name, you may not need to do this (!!!)
Do the tecchie bit
Do it like this:
- Network
- Share other peoples' stuff
- Write
- Share your stuff
- Get shared back
- Network
- etc.
Write, share & Network
Use internal links from articles to your key sales pages
Author-led articles support 'long-tail' traffic - i.e. targeted, research-oriented phrases
Popular author-led articles have weight: pass that weight to key product or service pages through internal links with anchor text
Design a content strategy for the year focusing on lead generation
The Shameless SEO bit...
Author Rank
gareth@cleverlittledesign.co.uk
twitter: @clevergareth
pheed: /clevergareth
linkedin: gcartman
blog: cleverlittledesign.co.uk/blog
get in touch
(me)
If links are bad, then you can point
bad links to your competition...
and they will drop
(it happens)
Negative SEO
1
2
3
4
5
Author rank is real - Google have patented it
The aim is to promote influential people ahead of spammers / uninfluential people
The result will be more relevant, more informative SERPs (hopefully)
Find your influencers, build their networks
Grow a culture of writing informative content... blog posts, white papers, research, in-depth articles
Measure engagement in order to improve it
Leverage your powerful articles for SEO value
This will supercede old-school SEO
Link-building goes back to the 90s - link-earning!
Consider it... influence building
So, in summary...
1996-ish
You think your subject is boring???
Inspiration:
- Industry news, legislation
- Linking your industry to breaking news
- Responding to bloggers' points of view
- Targeting groups of sociable people likely to share
- Twitter trends
Full transcript