Some months ago I wrote an article about how Google+ seem to be killing SEO, since Google was starting to use data from G+ data to rank pages in its search engine. Well, according to this article in SEOmoz, the company is going to keep working in the same direction to try to boost their social platform. The new weapon is AuthorRank, a new element in Google’s algorithm that will take in consideration the author of the contents in order to rank a page.
Let’s face it: if you are searching something like “SEO tips after Penguin” you probably are more interested in reading Matt Cutts’ opinion than mine, even if his article is in a site with really low PageRank. So I think it makes sense to give some extra SEO juice to those articles signed by people with a well gained reputation in their field. That’s basically the idea behind the influence economy and tools like Klout or PeerIndex, and its concept is actually pretty similar to Pagerank: the more incoming links (people following you) the more interesting you probably are.
The problem is that it seems AuthorRank is going to use mainly (if not exclusively) data from Google+. Meaning that for Google you are not interesting unless a lot of people add you to their circles in Google+ and give you as many “+1” as possible. In order words, this is the way Google is going to make you use Google+: not because it’s cool, not because you like it and not because your friends use it, but because Google+ is going to be a crucial part of your SEO strategy.
So yes, AuthorRank might push the people working with websites to use Google+ because of its influence in SEO… but most of internet users don’t care about SEO, they just want to keep in touch with their friends. So Google is risking G+ users to be either Internet professionals or just spammers trying to rank better on search results, while the real conversation still happens through other social media platforms.
But the consequences are worst for Google Search. By giving that extra SEO juice to Google+ users the search engine becomes less objective and reliable. Imagine that links coming from pages hosted at Blogger were more important to PageRank than those from WordPress or Tumblr… well, Why should followers on Google+ count more than those on Facebook or Twitter?
Google Analytics, Google Maps, Google Adwords and Google Webmaster Tools also help you rank better in Google Search, but at the end of the day we use them because they are great tools on their own. I believe pushing Google+ this much is not going to help neither the social platform or the search engine, but quite the opposite.