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Leveraging AuthorRank for Local SEO?

Search Engine Journal recently reported on a new metric Google is using known as AuthorRank -- a ranking signal that is definitely primed to become a big part of SEO in 2013. Basically, this means Google will be (officially) weighing in social signals (i.e., social shares, +1’s, tweets, and likes) and the influence of the people creating these signals. This includes comments left on social sites and the influence of the people leaving the comments along with the relevancy and quality of inbound links that point to the content. The end of Fiverr? Hah. Well, probably not, but this should prompt some ramped up Google+ use.

This is all following the rollout of new Google programs like Top Contributors, Trusted Reviewers, and Top Reviewers. I guess it’s good to be a contributor these days.

A more democratized search algo is also a growing trend we’re seeing affect local search rankings -- which will undoubtedly have a growing impact on future Local SEO efforts and business profile management.

Google Map Maker, a community driven utility, is being increasingly relied on as the back-end for Google+ Local. Lately, it’s also been a much more reliable interface for making timely edits to business listings (opposed to using the almost defunct Places dashboard). Map Maker instead relies on mappers to update geographic info, particularly in their local area in Google Maps. Updates are reviewed by other mappers before being published online with ‘Google Trusted Reviewers’ being allowed special editorial privileges.

As I had mentioned a few weeks back, opportunistic marketers could benefit from diligently working towards trusted status within their particular niches. Just yesterday, Google launched a website for their Top Contributor program -- offering some well deserved recognition to active users like Mike Blumenthal and Linda Buquet.

Is the timing of all this a mere coincidence?

Is Google finally close to wholly integrating the Local Business Center into Google+ Local? Perhaps wishful thinking, but clearly this is the direction we’re headed. And hopefully moving towards closure to “technical issues within the backend” soon.