AuthorRank is a phenomenal thing. It was submitted as a patent by Google last May and has been working behind the scenes the past year or so. AuthorRank is essentially a way to rank content by the authority of the author, rather than the quality of the domain the content is placed on.
As opposed to the Google Panda update which was all about quality at the domain level, AuthorRank tracks the author of the content across multiple places. For those conspiracy theorists out there that think G+ is just a master plan by Google to keep better track of you - you were absolutely correct!
Both G+ and the subsequent rel=author are just pieces of the AuthorRank puzzle. You see, at its core the Google algorithm is just a super fantastic code. Which means it isn't a real person and therefore some things aren't obvious to it. For example, whereas you or I can tell that different bylines are the same person by photos or characteristics, the Google algorithm needs help with making those connections.
That's why it is so important to start your G+ profile right now and connect it to your content asap. And just as an FYI, Mark Traphagen recently reported that Google removed the Labs project that included the Author stats tool. Which in all likelihood means that Google is now very close to rolling out AuthorRank in search rankings.
So what does all of this mean for content generation?
First, it means that when you outsource content you must be sure to claim it as your own. Otherwise, it will not be attached to an author and will not likely rank well.
For example, during our initial setup for our Royal Treatment package we make sure our clients have an active G+ profile in place. We also show them exactly how to implement a rel=author tag for the content we provide for them. Based on the level of net savvy, we do this throughout their campaign.
The days of posting a post and sending it to a bookmarking service are over. Now you have to make sure to build your AuthorRank along with your PageRank. Most experts agree that AuthorRank will not replace PageRank but rather just make it more accurate.
For example, if a well respected author in your industry posts something outside his expertise on a low ranking site the chances are he will be outranked by a person that is an expert in that industry. On the other hand, if that same well respected authority writes something within his expertise on his own site, it will be incredibly difficult to outrank them.
The role of social interaction via comments or questions both with your content and with content related to your expertise is playing a bigger role as well. All of this is in an effort to show Google a more comprehensive view of your authority as an author and community member.
There is also a lot of information within the patent (seen here in its entirety) that describes a slow rise and a quick fall from authority. In other words, it will be incredibly difficult to gain authority and extremely easy to lose it. Which as you can imagine - for those of us building a long term strategy is music to our ears.
Google hates spammers as much as you do. They want their rankings to be incredibly relevant and helpful. With AuthorRank you can build a firm foundation within your industry.
Just remember that when you purchase content, you own that content. And if you want to build your authority in a tangible way, you better start claiming it.
This also means you need to be incredibly careful about where you go to buy content writing. If you outsource content, buy it, claim it and then it is shown as duplicate content you will be in a world of hurt!
Top shelf content is the building blocks of a long term online strategy. It won't happen overnight, or even within 6 months but if you want to compete down the road you have to put in the effort starting right now.
The internet isn't going anywhere and the longer you wait to jump on board the more behind the eight ball you and your sales are going to be! Sorry, this isn't meant to be a doom and gloom post. Rather, a wake up call for those of you waiting for more "evidence" that content marketing is the way to go. Wait much longer and there won't be any possible way to catch up to your competitors.