As an aesthetic professional, you already know that your reputation is invaluable in terms of maintaining patient satisfaction and engendering trust among non-patients considering cosmetic surgery.
Turns out it can also boost your ranking in Google searches. In an effort to improve the quality of the results it returns, the world’s biggest search engine is now augmenting its algorithm to include the expertise people display online. The more you’re perceived as a reputable expert, the higher you’re likely to rank.
The concept is called Author Rank and it may represent the next great step in the evolution of search engine optimization. Content, as they say, is still king, but increasingly it’s going to be less about what’s been written and more about who wrote it.
In fact, you’ve probably already seen it in action. If you’ve ever conducted a Google search and noticed that some high-ranking results feature a small photo and a byline, that’s Author Rank at work. As Google’s Matt Cutts recently explained it in a Google Online Courses video:
It turns out that if you see a picture of the author, sometimes you’ll have a higher click through, and people will say, ‘Oh that looks like a trusted resource.’ So there are ways that you can participate and sort of get ready for the longer term trend of getting to know not just something was said, but who said it and how reputable they were.
At this point, the relative importance of Author Rank is unclear (and it’s unlikely that Google will ever completely reveal its secret sauce). Nevertheless, the following steps can help you prepare for the inevitable integration of search engine optimization and reputation management.
According to Google, having a Google+1 profile won’t influence your ranking in search results by itself but it’s a prerequisite for having your photo and byline show up alongside your website’s URL. Cynics will suggest that this is simply an attempt to get more Google+ users but that doesn’t negate the value of completing the process. (Besides, it’s free, so why not?)
2. Create great content for readers
As noted above, Author Rank isn’t expected to replace Google’s focus on good content; it’s designed to augment it. As a result, it’s as important as ever that your blog, social media updates and other online content go beyond generic “boilerplate.” Well-written blog posts and articles will keep people on your site longer, prompt them to comment and share — such “social signals” are also good for SEO — and spread your message to potential patients you probably wouldn’t reach otherwise.
3. Create connections with other authors
In a way, Author Rank can be seen as a visual manifestation of Google’s ongoing efforts to assign authority to online content, an effort that also includes monitoring your interactions with other high-quality sites. Guest blogging, writing LinkedIn articles and contributing to sites like RealSelf are already valuable tools of reputation management; increasingly, they’ll serve a similar role in search results.