Google Author Authority Will Emerge as a Dominant SEO Factor

Services for Real Estate Pros with ActiveRain

(any time I write or talk about about SEO, I always like to preface it with the fact that I don't consider myself an 'expert'. However, I did stay at a holiday inn express last night and we have had decent success over the last 11 years getting stuff to rank)

Search engine optimization is a full time endeavor. The benefits of showing up on the first page of Google (or any search engine) are clear for just about any business. In real estate, over 85.3% of people start their home search online (I threw in the .3%.......depending on who is reporting, that number varies but it's about 85%.....and it's a statistic. Aren't they all made up to fit a narrative?)

In a time gone by, you could rank on the first page of the search engine simply by writing on a site like ActiveRain. It didn't matter what you wrote, you would rank. As Google gets better and better at giving their searchers valuable information, what you write has become more important. No longer can a thin piece of content (thin means shitty not your best effort) rocket it's way to the first page.

More and more, Google is trying to identify truly valuable content. In the last two or three years, social signals have emerged as a new factor in search engine rankings. It makes sense......if people are willing to share the content you've created, it must be decent. From my experience, (and the experience of some real SEO experts) Google + sharing and +1's on that social platform seem to have a little extra weight for Google search rankings. But I have no doubt Google is pulling as much data as they can on how things are shared online. They are absolutely using this in determining how to rank content.

What's Next for Real Estate SEO?

I believe the next major factor in determining how your content ranks will be Google Author Authority. I am by no means groundbreaking. This has been bubbling under the surface for a while. Google Authorship (here's a link for how to set Google authorship up for your ActiveRain blog) was the first step in Google learning who you are. It will not be the last step. 

What is author authority? It's essentially, how knowledgeable are you on the subject about which you write.

Let's make up an example.......

If I am a nobel prize winning astronomer and I've written an article about oblateness (look it up you non-nobel prize winners!). I should probably rank really really well for that article, wouldn't you think? But how can Google understand that I'm the foremost authority on the subject? There are a lot of ways. Let's think about this.

There may be a video of me speaking at some conference about oblateness. I'll bet the person that posted the video put my name in it and probably some glowing review of how amazing I was and how I made them wish they too were a nobel prize winning astronomer with such a vast understanding of oblateness. That video is probably on Youtube....Google owns youtube. 

The Journal of Ridiculously Smart Scientists published an article about oblateness a few months back. I was quoted in that article as 'an expert on oblateness'. My fame is absurd!

I went on the TV show 'The Science of Being Smarter than You' and talked about oblateness. I'm glad they have a website and post clips from the show. Google found them. Google read my name in the video. They freaking love me!

I have a blog where I am constantly writing about my findings on a variety of astronomy topics, not just oblateness. I always share these posts on Google+ and in other social arenas. My blog is really really good! I'm considering charging people to read it!

I wrote an e-book about oblateness. It's on Amazon. People have reviewed it. My fans can't get enough of me!

My local newspaper had a small little blurb about a discovery I made related to oblateness (it was a small blurb because their pea brains couldn't comprehend the magnitude). 

On Yelp I've gotten a ton of 5 stars for my seminars on oblateness. One idiot left me a 4 star. It was obviously over his head.

You Get The Point

I'm an expert. And with everything going on in my world related to oblateness, Google knows I am an expert. They know because other sources are telling them I'm an expert. And what better way to figure out who is really the expert on something than to have credible sources confirm you are an expert. There should be little doubt when I publish my in depth article about oblateness, Google will rank me number one.

Can anyone see why author authority should emerge as a really big deal? If I had to bet on one dominant new SEO factor emerging from 2014 it would be author authority. At ActiveRain, we're really starting to think about this as it relates to real estate and how we can help our members prove their authority. Our media team (you should really check it out, its free to join and if you just read this post, it will make sense why you should join it) is one way we are starting to think about how you can enhance your author authority. 

What about in Real Estate?

I'm willing to bet that if you looked at our example of the brilliant astronomer, you could probably think of how those same examples could apply to your real estate business. Any one of those examples could apply to real estate as well. Were you cited in a local paper? Did you get a chance to be the local expert on a short segment on the local news? Has your business been rated on Yelp or Trulia or Zillow? Google knows.....believe me, they know. And I think they are starting to use this to determine if they should rank the content you write.

What Can You Do Now?

Stop writing thin (remember from above what thin means?) content. You're hurting yourself. The days of throwing something up and having it rank are over. Content is no longer king. Great content is king! If that means you write 3 blog posts per week instead of 7, fine. 3 great pieces of content are better than 20 thin pieces of content. Why? Because those 20 thin pieces aren't going to rank and are probably going to damage your credibility as an author. Our astronomer would NEVER post something really quick about the Heliosphere just to get something up. Doing that over and over would only hurt him.

Look at the content you've produced in the past. It might make sense to go back and update some of that content to make it better. Add some additional facts. Make the content a better piece of content. When you start to realize that Google is taking the entirety of your library of content into consideration it makes sense to bolster content that isn't great.

Start sharing your great content on Google+. Or at least the stuff that you write about the topic you hope Google will consider you an authority on (that is poor sentence structure I'm sure. I promise Google doesn't think I'm an authority on grammar). Not only should you share the content you create on Google+, you should take full advantage of setting up your Google+ profile. Make sure it links to all of the other places on the internet where you do work. If you have 3000 followers on Twitter, I'd want to let Google know about that. This Google+ profile is going to be the catalyst for how they view you as an author. Take full advantage of it to tell them as much about your expertise as possible. 

In the next few weeks we will have our first webinar where we talk about author authority. Between now and then I'll be doing lots of research to figure out how to help your author authority. Until then, let's hope Google keeps marching in that direction and doesn't decide to make something else more important. 

(Edited on 8/4: Does this larger edit make the date on the post reset? Adding one word to a different post did not reset the date)

Posted by

Bob Stewart
ActiveRain Ambassador


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Alex Popovic
Apex CRE - Phoenix, AZ
Alex Popovic Designated Broker Commercial RE


Great article, I don't think most people understand just how much Google hummingbird has changed things, no more cut and paste and wham.....I'm on page 1.  See you tomorrow for the webinar.  

Jan 29, 2014 11:15 PM #45
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

it makes sense to filter out the nonsense and sift for the meaningful content. If this isn't done, cyberspace surfing becomes busy rather than productive. Google is on the right track as should be other players too

Jan 29, 2014 11:23 PM #46
Jill Saddler
Draper, UT
Draper Utah Real Estate Professional - 25 years+!

Very helpful and insightful... I'm pretty new here and to blogging - so much to learn. But I'm dedicated to doing it right!! Thanks Bob!

Jan 29, 2014 11:25 PM #47
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Bob - thanks for following up.  It's good to know that the photo disappearing does nto mean that I've disappeared.  Also, I have posted to Google+ but certainly not on a consistent basis.  Will start doing that with every post.

Jan 29, 2014 11:27 PM #48
Bill and MaryAnn Wagner
Wagner Real Estate Group - Ocean City, NJ
Jersey Shore and South Jersey Real Estate


Thanks for all of your hard work and time invested in helping all of us improve our businesses and keep us ahead of the curve.

Jan 29, 2014 11:46 PM #49
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Bob - I used to be an "expert" on SEO years ago, but Google is always changing, and authorship is one part that has eluded me so far. I know I should also be sharing my good stuff on Google+. Thanks for the reminder. I will check out the media team link.


Jan 29, 2014 11:50 PM #50
Kaye Swain
Keller Williams Real Estate Roseville CA - Roseville, CA
Your Roseville Real Estate Agent

Excellent tips! And I'll definitely listen in to your webinar. While I'm somewhat active on Google and G+ it's definitely a bit more challenging than Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. 

Jan 30, 2014 01:30 AM #51
The Hollinden Team
EXP Realty - Louisville, KY
Serving the Greater Louisville area

I enjoyed the webinar today.  The rules keep changing and you guys keep us in the loop. I have looked at authorship before but never followed through.  That is next!

Jan 30, 2014 06:02 AM #52
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Bob. There is no doubt that our content needs to be Top Notch to catch Google attention to remain on that first page of the search engines. I will be focus on doing just that - Writing More Quality Posts!

Jan 30, 2014 08:31 AM #53
Carolyn Crispin
Keller Williams Tri-Lakes - Branson, MO
Crispin Team Sells Branson Homes Land & Commercial

Great article Bob. I have learned so much from your webinars about seo, creating content and how to write a blog. I will be tuned in .

Jan 30, 2014 11:13 AM #54
Steven Nickens
Elite Pacific Properties Maui - Wailea, HI
R(S)GRI ABR, Maui Real Estate Hawaii

Thanks for all the great information, Something to think about content.


Jan 30, 2014 12:23 PM #55
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for the reminder. I was wondering if I edit some of my previous post and add to them, will the date of post change to current date and will it affect the points.?

Jan 30, 2014 08:21 PM #56
Jordon Wheeler
The Jordon Wheeler Group - Fairburn, GA
J W Group Real Estate Sales and Service

Thank you Bob!  I gotta right more quality content and get going on Google Authorship.  

Jan 31, 2014 05:18 PM #57
Jim Taylor
Keller Williams Realty - Nashville, TN


Outstanding explanation!  I am looking forward to your webinar on this topic!  Thanks for creating a scenarion that helps us understand the reasoning behind your conclusions!

What impact does this situation have for those who are following the blogging blueprint series and its template approach?  Does Google evaluate these types of posts differently?


Feb 01, 2014 03:03 AM #58
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Bob, I missed the webinar if it has occurred, but when I was on the Niches for Riches webinar and they survey you at the end and ask what you'd like to see a webinar on, this was IT. 

I also googled Fishhawk Lake Oregon, just for s--ts and giggles and I was ALL OVER the first page, both my articles, my face and photo friggin' fantabulous! ( I've gone from Princess of the Pond, to Lady of the Lake-- that's me!) 

Feb 27, 2014 10:00 AM #59
Kate McQueen
CB&A Realtors - Cypress, TX
Tailored service for your real estate needs!

From time to time I pull old content and revise it.  Will be more diligent about that.

Feb 28, 2014 12:41 AM #60
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

OMG does it ever end!  Will try not to write any shitty posts from now on.

Mar 01, 2014 06:59 AM #61
Short Sales, Foreclosure & Bank Owned Real Estate

Wow, great information for us all...Thank you Bob for sharing amazing post!

Mar 01, 2014 02:15 PM #62
Dan Hendrick
Hendrick Painting - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio Texas Area Painting Contractor

Thank you for sharing this great information! I look forward to the webinar. 

Mar 01, 2014 10:54 PM #63
Tarris Rogers
Cascade Sotheby's International Realty - Bend, OR
Bend Oregon Real Estate

Bob, I'm looking forward to the upcoming Google authorship webinar on April 17th 2014.

Apr 04, 2014 09:30 AM #64
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