I first started talking about authorship around two years ago, and brushed slightly on this topic back then. Now we have a clearer idea of what Google Authorship became, and like many SEO’s and Marketers, I have been making predictions and preparing for the upcoming ‘Authorpocalypse’ that is going to completely change the backlinking landscape.
But don’t worry, I’m not going to bore with quotes from Google, excerpts from patents. When people pay me to consult they don’t give a shit about the details, they just want to know whats going to happen, and how to beat it.
Authorship in itself has already had a mild effect on the SEO landscape, but I think something much larger is going to happen – and it is going to be all about the backlinks.
When it comes to Google’s view of the web landscape, they have been trying to fix backlinks for a longgg time now. they have dabbled with Social and Engagement metrics, but the simple truth is that these are fairly unreliable.
Backlinks are like an old friend that Google returns to. They have refined and refined, dropped links from low quality sites, and made the game about a lot more than numbers.
But lets face it…
People still game the system, and they game it well.
The Authorpocalypse is whats coming, its when Google incorporates author data, quality, and categorization in to the backlinking algorithm, and it is going to make it a whole lot harder to game Google on the backlinking landscape. Let me break it down.
The biggest thing about getting author data and author profiles linked to specific content (in my eyes) is that Google could lower the value of backlinks if one author links to the same site multiple times. That means each backlink you get, must have a unique author, that also has a decent value of author quality, and is in the same ‘author category’ that they are linking to (I will go in to this later).
To make matters worse for those pursuing ‘traditional’ backlinking methods, there’s a good chance that they could be using author data to detect ‘spam’ patterns from author pseudonyms being used to create backlinks.
Author quality is a big one. Once they start to track author quality it can be used intimately in judging the quality of a backlink.
What makes an author high quality?
- Posting regular high quality content in a specific niche
- Mentions and backlinks from other trusted authors in the niche
- Social engagement and real social activity (Linking those profiles between G+, FB and Twitter may be important) after all, unless you are prepared, each fake persona is going to have a ‘fresh’ Facebook profile, and fake social activity is easy to spot.
While only mildly useful for reducing spam, Author Categorization helps establish the trust and authority of a backlink.
Let me explain. If you go to a conference, you know when someone is talking about what they know about, the details give it away. You trust them because they know what they are talking about, and you would check out any additional ‘info’ they gave you. But if the same authoritative Marketer at the conference mentioned a specific car, even though you KNEW he didn’t know jack about cars, you probably wouldn’t go out and buy it.
Author Categorization is probably the furthest thing away from implementation right now, but it could have a vast impact on the backlinking landscape. Afterall, we already know that Google is looking in to categorization of sites, hell, they ask you to TELL them your category in Google Analytics, and in Google Plus, well, ts not hard to figure out what someone is interested in using that either…
Backlinks in the future are going to need to have the following, on top of current site metrics (to a greater or lesser extent).
- Each backlink will need to be from a unique author
- That Author will need to be established
- The Author will need to be considered Authoritative in the niche you are wanting them to link for
- The Author must not have linked to you before
- The Author does not fit in to a spam profile
It’s a lot of work, but here is the good news. It is (in my opinion) going to take backlinking out of the spam world and in to the old white hat world, where backlinks were from true networking, and generating true interest. A world where white hat on site SEO has just as much impact as link building.
Who knows if it’s going to work out this way, I’m almost certain this is coming, Google is sly. But when it does, the Authorpocalypse could be the savior of SEO.