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Is Google+ Page Rank the culprit behind the current suspicions of active Author Rank?

"Wait a minute! I thought Page Rank was removed from G+?"
Is a popular misconception. In fact, PR in Google+ is alive & well!

There has been considerable debate recently regarding whether Google's much anticipated Author Rank may already be at least partially active. Some believe there is anecdotal evidence of this, but for this post I would like to explore a different possibility. Rather than an all new algorithm, "is there a magic deeper still which she did not know..." which may in fact be responsible?

Page Rank! Not just any Page Rank, but quite specifically Page Rank in Google+ and other highly active social media sites.

From reading and also talking with some of the experts, it seems that a lot of Google Plussers are of the opinion that Page Rank was eliminated from G+ when their URL system changed back in, March 2012. The earliest post regarding this which I could find and which was quoted a number of times and comes from +Cyrus Shepard on 3-16-2012 https://plus.google.com/108621512304373089316/posts/AyS69aFdrFU Which was then expounded on...

+Barry Schwartz in the following blogged explanation http://www.seroundtable.com/google-pages-pagerank-gone-14884.html
Google+ Pages PageRank Gone
Cyrus Shepard posted on Google+ that all the pages on Google+ now have a PageRank of zero or not available. He seems to be right and many webmasters are asking why.

+Dan Petrovic, with +Dejan SEO wrote the best explanation of the changes Google made to their URL structure here... http://dejanseo.com.au/google-plus-seo/#sculpting
Google+ has a number of canonical issues... This causes everything to have two URLs with parameters which don’t change the content of the page. The culprit Dan discusses is /u/0/ that was added to users logged in URLs.

I do not disagree with some of the above conclusions, that the changes then made all the G+ user profiles and pages all appear to be set back to zero. However that was in appearance only, the Page Rank has still been there all along & we can still see it by editing the URL to remove the /u/0/ symbols from it, as well as making another change in the URL. We must remove the /post from the end of it. Which is not the default way in which G+ profiles are displayed, so in fact it will pop right back up again after a second.

If you are running the Google PR Toolbar to check rank, it will only appear for a second once the above link is edited. However if we use a Page Rank checker tool, then the edit will not revert back to the URL default and we can clearly see the PR of every profile. http://www.prchecker.net/ *Note this tool will not show URL's with the + symbol in them, so for that I have used the first method.

I would like to note here that when Google search indexes any G+ posts, pages, or profiles, they do so without those extra characters & so presumably preserving the PR concept as well.

For example (in no special order), we can see +Mark Traphagen has a PR5 and with 32,000 followers that's not surprising. +Ronnie Bincer also has a PR5 with 18,000 followers. +Barry Schwartz has a PR4 with 26,000 followers. +Dan Petrovic, +Luis Galarza, +Jesse Wojdylo, +AJ Kohn, +Lyndon NA+David Amerland have PR4s.

Some other friends of ours such as +Bill Gassett, +Al Remetch (like how I put them together?) and +Elias Nathaniel have PR3's. And yours truly +Joshua Berg has a modest PR1, which is because I did most of my earlier posting only through my business page and PR takes months to update.

There appears to be some, but not too much correlation between the amount of followers and the PR increasing. Best guess is that PR has a lot more to do with who mentioned those particular users when, how often and the PR of those who did. We must not forget that the whole concept of PR is a kind of hierarchical trickle down effect, it is not just direct numbers that matters.

That said, there are a number of anomalies regarding G+ PR that I actually haven't figured out yet & would be happy for others to weigh in on here. They are as follows...

1. Some very popular profiles have no PR at all. I believe this is because PR has not updated since these users received their verified name, or they have not used G+ as frequently since.

2. An edit to one's name, or other, that is reflected in their URL will probably show their PR as back to 0 as well.

3. The strangest anomaly I still can't figure out yet, is a very few number of users (only two that I've seen so far) +Clayton Pritchard & +John Skeats, seem to have PR flow through and resolve correctly to their full default URL including the /post.

And now (drum rolls)... for the proof you've all been waiting for that G+ PR is responsible for the different SERP positions and or, anomalies we've been noticing, rather than Google Author Rank... "Frankly my dear, I don't" have any. LOL! But to me at least, it does make perfect sense. If you understand much about how PR works, it's hierarchical and prioritizing structure, then it makes perfect sense that certain users posts, or content would appear above, or below other users.

This prioritization would not just be based on the writer of that particular post, but naturally the interaction that particular post has had from other G+ users, their PR, which of them shared it, or just plussed it, commented on it, etc, the list goes on. Frankly I would say, based just on what we do no so far about Page Rank, there is no need to claim there are other natural forces at work here and it would be naive to discuss Author Rank as the only possibility for various changes, without also seriously considering G+ PR.

While I'm discussing PR here, let's not forget that traditional PR would be associated and passed on based on particular pages, but G+ and FB streams are not pages at all. So we can presume they will have similar results, but obviously the structure would be different. I also think that PR has evolved considerably and comments Matt has made also prove it, within the last year, or so. We should not expect G+ PR to necessarily be extremely similar to PR as we have traditionally perceived it.

Now I haven't even had time to go into Page Rank on other popular social media sites, such as Facebook, but these appear to be playing a more predominant roll than they used to. There are also quite a number of anomalies I have not yet figured out about how PR is passed out amongst those sites. For example, I have one FB fan page with only 444 likes with a PR3 that I almost never used since I started it and other fan pages with thousands of followers have only PR1.

Well this is a bit of a mouthful, but I still have a page of follow up information on Page Rank to add here that I'm just final editing. I'll ad the follow up article to this shortly, or put it up as an all new post.
#googleplus   #pagerank #authorrank #googlepluspagerank #seotips #pageranking #socialmediamarketing #realestatemarketing +HousesFast 
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99 comments
 
+Joshua Berg I have no doubt that everything you have mentioned about pr is accurate. It is however one of hundreds of things google uses to place content in SERP.


 
Agreed. And Matt Cutts does like to quote that 200 some signals used in SERPs plenty, but most SEO guys will tell you PR has long been at the top of them. It is only within the last year, or two that it has lost some of it's footing, however Google has still been hard at work perfecting it by weeding out a lot of those who abused it.
 
Another factor which I did not mention in the above post is, that although I will consider Author Rank (as understood) to be one of the highest evolutions of SERP so far. We mustn't forget that from Google's perspective and the Internet at large, there is probably less than 1% of content to start with that will be properly labeled as such. So in the bigger picture of sorting trillions or gazillions of pages, time tested and established techniques such as PR would presumably continue to be the primary, if not at least worthy adversaries.
 
Well, first things first - good post!
It's nice to see someone come up with an idea and run with it, including pulling it apart.

Indeed, there is a difference between public PR and what G have - so though they may have nuked the Public, I seriosuly doubt they would have removed the internal (is that even possible?).
This could be extrapolated by the fact that G have deployed NoFollow on many internal links in an effort to deter/restrict spam (if the links weren't passing PR, it wouldn't be an issue).

New profiles, migrations and Vanities are likely to have an impact on the profiles PR score.  At present, I don't think G are able to fully transfer values (massive oversight on their part!).  They don't even seem to employ 301s from old to new profiles (amaturish setup there Google :P).

I don't see PR being impacted by Engagement (Comments/+'s).
PR is primarily a Link based value.
Shares, Internal Links etc. - those could impact PR (as shares include links).
The question though is - what do the PRs look like "now" as G have deployed the NoFollow over the last month or so?  Have the seriously muted the PR of most profiles?

Personally, I agree, that PR is likely to play a part in how things appear in the SERPs (it usually does :D) ... but to what extent, I don't know.  The Social Rank (we really need a better name!) may be completely separate (I believe Bings is separate ?).

It's basically part of the natural order of things.
You create content, you link to it ... you share it, others share it, it gets links ... you link back to your profile ........ somewhat cyclic, somewhat accumulative ... perfectly normal :D
(Clarification : NO, PR is not cyclic, just the linking patterns)
 
Agreed with your point +Lyndon NA that
New profiles, migrations and Vanities are likely to have an impact on the profiles PR score.  At present, I don't think G are able to fully transfer values (massive oversight on their part!).

I hadn't thought about the profile, migration/mergers, but certainly that would do it too. I guess will see how PR progresses on all these issues as G+ becomes more seasoned.

+North Kingstown RI Homes for Sale that was pure coincidence. ;-)
 
+Joshua Berg I am writing a blog post on this exact subject now in which I will link this post.  Thanks for the research.
 
Thanks +Jesse Wojdylo. While I realize some of this is just speculation, it will be interesting to hear other people's ideas on this.
 
Very interesting +Joshua Berg ...this explains a lot..as I remember reading an article from Cyrus (written before the change) stating the PR of his profile and this explains why I couldn't see mine.  But, I tried to follow your instructions to see mine and I can't for the life of me figure it out.  Can you tell me what mine is?  (not sure what I'm doing wrong).  LOL on the pairing up above.
BTW, I came across this by reading +Jesse Wojdylo 's post on the topic.
 
+Debbie Gartner your profile seems to be one of those anomalies where the page rank is not visible, probably for one of the reasons Lyndon mentioned above. Considering your followers & high engagement, you should certainly have it. You may have merged profiles, or Google accounts at some time and so PR was not preserved. There are actually a number of popular plussers here with tens of thousands of followers that also have no visible PR, so we don't know the reasons for all those yet.
 
One example of a very popular profile with no visible PR is +Danny Sullivan a verified user, with 1.7 million followers. Best guess for that is his url change to a verified username, though I don't know when that was compared with others.
 
Thx +Joshua Berg for looking into and potential explanation.  I believe this is the original acct I set up in June 2011.  Since then, I did set up another acct (by accident), but didn't really use it. (I think maybe 7 followers and it says to use my main page.  Oh well.  I guess it doesn't matter/doesn't change anything I do.
 
While this particular article goes into Page Rank in depth as a particular vein of a recent discussion topic, I do not recommend getting hung up on PR at all & I do believe the much anticipated AuthorRank will be a far superior evolution of search.

So +Debbie Gartner I would not be concerned with the green bar of PR, in fact it is rarely visibly updated, but its affect is there all the time.

I use the word "visible" quite a bit when referring to PR, because it is quite clear that the results of it exist long before we actually see those points changing & they are also much more tuned than a mere 1-10 scale. Theoretically and IMHO, I would say PR is calculated in the SERP algorithms much more like 1.0000001 - 10.0000001, otherwise it would be pretty useless sorting between billions of pages with the same PR.

For example, when an article, or page starts to get a lot of quality backlinks, from good sites and users, it will very quickly start getting high SERP results. We will not see this affect the Google PageRank bar though till many months later & sometimes not at all, depending on how it's calculated and even how the URL resolves.
 
Yes, I get that +Joshua Berg  and it makes perfect sense and I had read something along those lines a while back.  While I know it doesn't matter, I used +Anita Clark 's as a proxy and she is PR3 and prob. similar to me in terms of followers and amt of engagement

I suppose the thought here, though, is that as your PR increases, the links back to your site and/or to others prob have a bit more impact, so as we continue to post/grow/engage, it's all synergystic.  And, I won't even mention the potential impact of that other topic that's been beat to death the last few days.
 
+Jesse Wojdylo the profile +Lauren Sutton has no visible PR & I have not seen any profile with less than a few thousand followers that did, except for some highly unusual exceptions. Again, my intent here is not to encourage G+ users to now start worrying about their G+ PR, but merely to add my feeling to the current debate on SERP, AR and such, that the current G+ PR should not be discounted as a continuing and serious force in these equations.
 
I agree with that +Joshua Berg I just wondered the timeframe for Google to index and rank.  

We all know there is some ranking going on and I have a sneaky feeling you will hear more about it very soon. Just from what I am seeing.
 
Yes +Debbie Gartner, based on what I have seen of your G+ interaction and following, I would guess you should have a PR3. But don't forget you have also used your business page a lot and those posts and mentions will be independent of your profile.

The more you engage, the less your own PR should matter anyway. In other words, if other PR3, 4 & 5 users share your content, or mention you in posts, it is just as well if not better than your own profile having a high PR.
 
Yes, very true, and excellent points about other high ranking/highly respected individuals sharing your content. And, the diversity helps.  I think I need to better leverage sharing my personal page on my biz page.  I've been a bit busy lately and haven't done as much as I would like to.
 
+Jesse Wojdylo Page Rank is generally updated every 3 months, you can search and find estimated update schedules online for this. Even so, it doesn't mean that update will reflect all current trends, as you have to remember it also takes considerable time for Google to crawl and reindex billions of pages.
 
I was laughing when I got to your comment +Debbie Gartner as our level of engagement is similar and if something is not working right on my end I usually check and see what yours is doing.  

The key for me to keep my sanity is not getting too hung up over this stuff.  

Just keep posting content that others can use (whether it is industry pros or consumers) and engage as often as you can...the rest always works itself out.
 
+Anita Clark LOL, that is so funny.  Yes, I'm just doing stuff as I can.  I don't worry abt the #'s that much...just try to keep doing what I'm doing (when I can).
 
I think G messing with the NoFollowed links will ahve skewed thigns somewhat now ... but ...
... peoples posts contained links to their profiles.
Thus the more content, the more backlinks.

That means that Shares also had such links (more shares, more links ... more PR).

Though not an upscaling value in most cases, the more followers, the more likely to get shares, (thus links/PR).

Then you have Authorship ... you link your content to your profile (and I bet you don't apply NoFollow to that!
Then there are other links to profiles as well (esp. if you are active on Google Forums etc.)

And let us not forget it's on  the google Domain...

Then there is internal PR.
I have no idea just how fast Googles PR is ... but I reckon it wil lbe a tad faster than the Toolbar one :D
(technically, they could work it out in part almost instantly based on internal PR flow ... then factor in IBLs every so often).
 
Just checked the higher echelons and +Guy Kawasaki has a PR of 6. My interest is mainly on the ´personal web´ as explained in my introduction to the share of this post.
 
+Stefan Svartling - not sure if you can test the Vanities in the same way (Also, how old is your vanity - as you may find it hasn't been allocated any PR yet)
 
+Lyndon NA I don't remember actually. I got it the first week they got available. But I don't think it has the right PageRank yet.
 
Hmm. A website that has an ad:
"Want more Facebook Likes and Google+ votes? Click to buy Facebook Likes, or get 100 free Facebook likes!"

Oh dear.
 
I've been circled by just over two thousand, and have a PR 3 according to that tool. 
 
I don't think there will be any direct correlation between circlers and PR (PR is link based).
The volume of posts, the number of shares and internal links to the profile is much more likely to be the influencer.
 
That's pretty interesting +Max Huijgen, how you figured out using +Stefan Svartling's original profile number instead of his newer vanity URL which he asked about plus.google.com/+svartling does in fact show his PR, whereas his vanity URL still has none.

Which proves the point we discovered earlier, people with new, or vanity URL's should remember it may not yet show your PR. That doesn't mean you don't have it, the visible PR toolbar itself is very infrequently updated. The concept long understood for that delay is, because Google wanted to discourage webmasters from becoming over reliant on it & being able to check it often as a metric for possible abuse.

+Diana Studer , +Lyndon NA is correct that the PR is link based, the hierarchy, quality and quantity of those links. I know of a G+ profile with less than a thousand followers and a solid PR4.
 
I just used Stefan´s 21 digit identifier +Joshua Berg 
+Britney Spears PR 5 Britney Spears
+Larry Page PR 6 Larry Page
+Trey Ratcliff PR 5 Trey Ratcliff
+Vic Gundotra PR 6 Vic Gundotra
+Robert Scoble  PR 6 Robert Scoble
+Dalai Lama PR 5 Dalai Lama
+Paris Hilton PR 5 Paris Hilton
+Amanda Blain PR 5 Amanda Blain
+Jeff Jarvis PR 6 Jeff Jarvis
+Arianna Huffington PR 5 Arianna Huffington
+Mike Elgan PR 5 Mike Elgan
+Kim Kardashian PR 5 Kim Kardashian
+Danny Sullivan PR 6 Danny Sullivan
+Michelle Marie PR 4 Michelle Marie
+Klaus Herrmann PR 5 Klaus Herrmann
+William Shatner PR 5 William Shatner
+Jamie Oliver PR 6 Jamie Oliver
+Ron Clifford PR 4 Ron Clifford
+Gina Trapani PR 5 Gina Trapani
+Linda Lawrey PR 5 Linda Lawrey
+Harbhajan Singh PR 3 Harbhajan Singh 1 million plus
+Amit Agarwal PR 5 Amit Agarwal 1 million plus
+George Stephanopoulos PR 4 George Stephanopoulos highest non verified with 928,472 followers 
+Alida Brandenburg PR 4 Alida Brandenburg
+Carter Gibson PR 4 Carter Gibson
+Robbie Williams PR 4 Robbie Williams 
+Fraser Cain PR 4 Fraser Cain
 
And +Max Huijgen, yes +Guy Kawasaki does have a PR6. You know who else does, +Larry Page whom Page Rank was named after.

But apparently just being intelligent is enough to get you a higher PR, because +Britney Spears is the most followed person on G+ and only has a PR5.
 
There may be a problem with Vanities.
That's a 302 redirect from the ID based URL to the Vanity URL - thus the PR may not have been transfered.
(G will treat a 302 as a 301 - eventually - it takes time)
So that PR may reside on the old URL for a while yet, leaving the Vanity URL with little/no PR :(

(No idea why G have used a 302 instead of a 301)
 
Yes, that appears to be the case +Lyndon NA, a lot of the vanities have not yet passed visible PR on the toolbar. I'm pretty sure they do still have rank in the system though.

+Max Huijgen I did see how you did that and see you can actually check most of the vanity URL's PR like that as well.
 
Great post +Max Huijgen, can of worms that one, you're gonna get huge feedback. LOL. I like it.
 
Wow. Really interesting insight here. Consider the SEO implications when users get better search rankings when they post their content on G+, and not their own sites. Huge incentive to funnel content into G+. 
 
+Fraser Cain yes, I think seeing these numbers helps people see quite directly how their G+ interactions are directly providing Google juice to their content in the form of PR (among others).
 
+Vivienne Gucwa with over 1.5 million followers, you have a well deserved PR5. That number comes not from the amount of followers though, but from the amount your content is shared & profile mentioned. As popular as your photos are, I'd say you're on your way to a PR6 soon.
 
Checking the PR can be tricky with verified names, kudos to +Max Huijgen for figuring out a better way to do it. You check the profile's number, you get by hovering over it, not the name in the URL.

It's neat how when you share something you figured out that's new, other clever people then come along and fill in the missing pieces to it.

Also check out Max's new article on Page Ranks of many popular G+ profiles.
 
I use Google+ as my blog so this is interesting for me. Thanks. 
 
+Joshua Berg actually I used the source code of the webpages as the hover is hard to grab.
 
Yes good thinking +Max Huijgen. You can also use a tool like Firefox's Web Developer Toolbar, that will just show you the source of any selected items on the page. Those tools can be convenient for that.
 
+Joshua Berg thanks for the mention and pointing out my G+ PR of 5. Maybe I should not pine so much for the Vanity URL as that my drop my number! I'm not really sure if the PR here makes a difference in SERP... do you really think it does?
 
You're welcome +Ronnie Bincer, you deserve it.

It makes a world of difference in the SERPs, in fact that's what it's there for. While there are plenty of naysayers on the importance of PR (understandably because it was abused by spammers), in my opinion it has long been the backbone of Google SERP and will continue to be until something better. In fact PR has evolved a lot recently and is not as easily abused as it once was, that is most evident right here in G+.

Now we could argue semantics on whether the green PR Toolbar affects the SERP, or is just and indicator (which it is), but the algorithm which results in the PR display, is in fact usually what we're referring to and that algorithm is constantly running & is far more detailed than is publicly seen. Unlike the 1-10 PR Toolbar indicator which is only updated every 3 months.

I'm going to write more on this soon and why it really does matter. I believe Google has learned to use it against the spammers, especially here in G+, instead of vice versa & I will be explaining why that is.
 
+Joshua Berg I look forward to your explanations.
I hope you cover signed in/signed out.
topical vs. random posts (compared to my normal topics, etc.)
google.com vs. google+ search
and how/if it carries over to any connected/linked websites listed on our profile, etc.
 
Will do +Ronnie Bincer. One thing that is established, much like FB, or other social sites, PR only works on public profiles. So it makes no difference whether users are signed in, or out, it's whether it's public enough for Google to index and use the information. I've already started hearing people complaining that they have no PR, but their profile was set to private, many Realtors had their's private. What's the point?

So yes, will get into all that. Any other questions and ideas will be welcome.
 
Great post, +Joshua Berg . Google + pagerank is a fascinating topic and admittedly beyond my remedial understanding of how google + affects SERPS. Thanks for pointing out your observations so some of us laymen know what all you smart people are talking about.
 
The highest PR rank I found so far is 8 btw.
 
We need to define some tests to try and see if Profile PR holds impact on the Organic/SPYW SERPs.

Off the top of my head;
1) Large pool of people
2) segregate by PR
3) Segregate by Circler volume
4) Segregate by Post volume
5) Segregate by Post Frequency/Consistency
6) Segregate by Latest Posts*

* : (6) is tagged for special mention

We can then have everyone pick a topic and make a post about it, and then see;
a) Who gets indexed at what speed
b) Who ranks for what terms in Organic (non SPYW/Logged in)
c) Who ranks for what terms in Organic (non SPYW/Logged out)
d) Who ranks for what terms in Organic (SPYW on/Logged in)
e) Who ranks for what terms in Organic (SPYW on/logged out)

Once that is done, we can then do repeat it (2 more times?)
Then we can stagger test it by having people post with slightly different timing.

That should permit us to see what factors seem to hold more influence than others.
It will not necessarily tell us what does/doesn't count, just give an indication of "degree" and "priority".
 
+Joshua Berg Good presentation. Your mention much earlier in the thread that you thought a foundation would be a few thousand followers.

Well, after modifying as you suggested, I've got a PR4, not bad, with just under 1,000 followers. I truly don't think the PR, if it is used by Google for a specific purpose something I'm not sure about, is size based. I don't see +AJ Kohn in the thread, unless I missed it. Any thoughts, +AJ Kohn ?
 
Sounds like some good ideas +Lyndon NA, if you can organize it that will be great. These "little projects" just seem to end up taking more time than you ever thought they would. Hadn't realized how fast this would take and how much more there would be to research. The questions just keep coming, but it's good and I'm glad to see other people run with it.

Thanks +Stuart O'Neill. Well already got past that followers count theory. The PR has nothing to do with it, your own terrific PR4 is a good example of that. It's explained a lot more in Part 2 on my page.
 
Whomever wants to do it is welcome too. I've no doubt SEO guys are going to be following up on and testing more of these ideas for a while to come.
 
+Joshua Berg once you feel you have a good grasp and are capable to boil it down to a short presentation, let me know and maybe I'll build a HOA show around this topic.
 
That would be great +Ronnie Bincer - I think this is a very important topic that ties into what I emphasized at SMX West this week about how Google+ is radically different from any other social network. The fact that our profiles and posts are treated much like regular web sites and pages by the world's largest search engine is of huge significance.
 
+Lyndon NA Should any of that be done at midnight, under a full moon, while sitting in a circle, and holding hands? :)
 
Is it me, or did Bill just ask if he can hold my hand on a moonlit night?
ROFLMAO

sorry - couldn't resist.
 
Oy, I hope someone does it. No way I'd have the time these days.
 
+Lyndon NA No! :)

I'm sorry, but Google PageRank mysteriously disappeared after Google changed all the URLs on Google + and added nofollows to links every where, and now PageRank for profiles can only be accessed at some non-Google site, but it's been transformed from a link-based metric to a reputation based one.

Color me skeptical.

If such a change did take place, wouldn't it result in a corresponding shift in how pages are ranked and ordered on a logged off Google, and cause pages that aren't associated with a particular Google plus accounts to diminish in rankings, especially pages that are scrapping content? 
 
+Max Huijgen - that's exactly what I was thinking :D
Seems like no one wants to take me on moonlit walks :sigh: :pout:
:D

More seriously - +Bill Slawski, I think we managed to remove the concept of PR being influenced by profiles pretty early on.
But, that does leave the possibility that what we see in the SERPs of the G+ content being influenced on things like PR.
(Personally, I still hold to frequency/interaction levels - but I can see the possibility of PR being included)
 
+Bill Slawski there are more ways to access PR than through that specific site. Trust me, this is the PR Google calculates. 
It varies from 1-8 (until I find a higher one that is)
 
+Lyndon NA For "Search Plus Your World" results, one of the strongest signals is likely relevance, but freshness probably plays a very big role as well. I'd likely also consider frequency/interaction signals, but influenced significantly by a measure of quality of both contributions (original posts) and interactions, both at Google  +, and for authorship linked content.

The credential scores cited in the Google patent filing, Ranking User Generated Web Content ( http://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/WO2011050495 ) do a great job of describing how the quality of those interactions could be weighted.

There are other ranking signals that could also play a role in how social search rankings might be weighted, including the ones described in the Grouptivity patents, in the WOWD patent, and in the Agent Rank patents.

For example, the third of the Agent Rank patents makes it pretty clear that the impact of endorsements will differ based upon the reputation scores of the people making those endorsements, and that the endorsements impact the reputation score of the person being endorsed, rather than the content they created.

http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220110289095%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20110289095&RS=DN/20110289095

There are also aspects of Google's patents for Google Knol on author credibility that are worth examining as well. Google's acquired patent from Katango also has the capability of understanding what kinds of topics a person tends to interact about.

Google likely has considered other approaches to ranking content as well, but I'd definitely like to at least lay these approaches out as possibilities as well.

From the Agent Rank patents, it does look like there might not be a single metric, like PageRank that would measure the "importance" of content created by someone that might show up in search results. It's more likely to be a score that changes based upon the context of the query itself:

[0011] Query-independent rankings of content and authors can be calculated. A query-independent ranking can be, but need not be, calculated offline, prior to accepting a user query of the content, and then used to calculate a query-dependent ranking used for presentation of results. An algorithm used for calculating a query-independent ranking could also be used within the context of a specific query, with minimal modification, to calculate a ranking specific to that query. For example, the corpus can be limited to the query-relevant content.

If I'm a photographer, and the majority of my "quality" contributions and interacts involved photography, and I rarely or never wrote about or interacted with other people on machine learning, my reputation score for photography related queries is likely a lot higher than for machine learning topics.

It's possible that PageRank might play some role, but if so, it would likely be more of a topic based PageRank or a personalized PageRank.
 
+Bill Slawski are you saying then that you think there is a form of author rank already in play at least for G+ posts and SPYW rankings? Or am I misunderstanding you?
 
+Mark Traphagen I am saying that there's likely one set of ranking signals for Google Plus results for searches in Google Plus, another set of ranking signals for SPYW results for people logged into Google performing searches on Google, and will likely be a third set of ranking signals for (logged out) web search that incorporate social signals into it.
 
+Max Huijgen Regardless, there's absolutely nothing to indicate in any way that the PageRank you're citing is anything other than a link-based PageRank proxy number, except for a "because I say so." from the original poster.
 
+Joshua Berg +Max Huijgen you need not check the source code for the user profile number, it's easier to click on the date of a user's post, it will take you to the post page and the url will contain the user profile number
 
+Bill Slawski now we have to have a HOA so you run that down again. I promise not to be in a bar if you have it during the week!
 
+Grace Massa Langlois not sure... I'm sure I'll start slipping sometime, but here's trusting that the community will help me out when I call for it!
 
I see there's a lot of comments and questions stacking up on this and there's been the same on multiple feeds to these posts, so I'm trying to get around to them all. I'll start with working down the list of comments & responding from where I left off above. Then I'll post my replies in a few groups as I go.

+Ronnie Bincer good idea on the HOA show. Once I feel we have it formulated enough we could do that.

+Mark Traphagen I absolutely agree that "this is a very important topic" and I think a lot of knowledgeable people are seeing that. I believe that these ideas we're discussing and the collective knowledge we gain from this, are going to fundamentally change (through a trickle affect) the way many people use G+ for the better.

The way I see it is, the way the G+PR social signals appear to be working, really provide a kind of quality, not quantity benefit in our social engagements. People that are engaging the most & in return being engaged the most, are going to see the biggest benefits from this. People that come here to post lots of links, or spam the system with junk, because they "heard" it helps their SEO, are going to find out they're just wasting their time.
 
You guys are cracking me up with all the "hand holding" jokes. LOL.

+Max Huijgen interesting on those PR numbers. For an enterprise that's Google though I'm not surprised, we sort of need to think about real world examples that would apply to all of us.
 
+Bill Slawski you've addressed quite a few important points, so I'll go through them and answer best I can.

"If such a change did take place, wouldn't it result in a corresponding shift in how pages are ranked and ordered on a logged off Google, and cause pages that aren't associated with a particular Google plus accounts to diminish in rankings, especially pages that are scrapping content?"

My answer to this is, yes. I believe this G+PR has an affect on all Google related search, be it in G+, Google SERP, logged in, or out. Being logged in, or out should not change how Google applies the PR, as Google would only be indexing & applying PR to & from public profiles, public pages & public communities.

Also, as +Max Huijgen pointed out, there are plenty of ways to access the Google PR, so it's definitely not "of any private interpretation."
 
Those are the same points I've been suggesting +Bill Slawski.
I've also see simialr patents ... such as the ones for "within the same framework" etc.
(Personally, I still prefer my logic/guesswork predictions - far less painful than those patents!)

I don't think there is a G+PR ... I would think there is PR, and G+ may handle it or not when calculating what to return/display.
 
+Bill Slawski on your other comments, I'm not sure that I know what all the specific questions are, but I'll respond to specific points.

I agree with a lot of what you're saying regarding your patent research and how those algorithms are supposed to influence various search factors. You've certainly done your homework on those & so I'm learning from what you've written there as I go through it.

For purposes of the G+PR topic I have been writing about, I have stuck mostly with dissecting and understanding that particular search factor. But my exclusion of other factors in the topic is not to the belittling of other important algos as well. I understand PageRank is only one of the factors and some of the others your mentioning may also be in play.

"Google likely has considered other approaches to ranking content as well, but I'd definitely like to at least lay these approaches out as possibilities as well."

Absolutely agree with this, there are other factors in play that should be considered to have a good understanding.

"From the Agent Rank patents, it does look like there might not be a single metric, like PageRank that would measure the "importance" of content created by someone that might show up in search results."

Agreed on this as well. And parts of what you mention such as...

"...endorsements will differ based upon the reputation scores of the people making the endorsements..." sounds very much like what I'm seeing in G+PR and what we know of PageRank. The profiles with higher G+PR who mention (tag, or also calling this citations) would carry far more weight, or pass far more link juice, than many others with less. Those are principles we know from traditional PR and it's hierarchical structure & I'd like to get into that in another post.

Now regarding the topic of whether, or not, there is a form of AuthorRank already at play (as some are suggesting), I really haven't given my own opinion on this. Frankly, I really have no idea.

What I am saying is that, based on what we know about PageRank & what I've now been seeing in G+PR, there is plenty of reason to suspect this as a serious factor and not necessarily a reason to suspect that AR would have to be to blame for some of the results we're seeing. In other words, IMHO, G+PR has answered a lot of questions for me on some of this, so as that I haven't had the need to look elsewhere.

I tend to believe Google would be phasing in and testing a lot of these different algos we've seen in the patents as we go along. So that at any one time we really can't say definitively that either ones are, or aren't being used in particular searches, at any particular time.

As a wise someone once said, "time will tell".
 
+Lyndon NA while I refer often for this subject to G+PR, I do not disagree with your statement that...

"I don't think there is a G+PR ... I would think there is PR, and G+ may handle it or not when calculating what to return/display."

in the sense that it is any different, or handled separately from regular PR. When I refer to G+PR, I'm really only saying the PR that we are receiving to our G+ profiles, or pages, from G+ posts & content. We also receive PR to and from the same, from other sites throughout the web at large & I believe the same rules would still apply.

In my opinion Google would probably be using the same system and quite probably much of the same metrics to calculate the PR within G+ as the rest of the Internet at large. It would make sense though, if they considered PR from within their G+ content to be more reliable than other, but that would just be speculating.
 
Originally, before we even hit on thingsl ike Authorship (so at the very start), I put forward the concept of Profile Rank.
The idea being that G will vet and weight profiles for things like Ratings/Reviews.
(Then authorship and authorrank occured and it disappeared into the gloom :D)
 
LOL +Lyndon NA, but I'm quite certain we have not seen the end of AuthorRank. I do believe it's coming, the concept is great & it sounds like it will be the next evolution in the quality of search. I look forward to it.
 
IF Google can pull it off, it will be an additional layer to separate quality from mundane ... that's IF they get it right - else it will simply be a another popularity metric for abuse.
 
It only updates quarterly & will only show you have PR if you have significant reciprocal engagement with other users before that time.
 
Hi Joshua, very interesting findings, it was particularly eye opening for me. I always thought how much authority you get from G+ is based on how many people circle you, but this puts things in a whole new perspective. Very cool, thank you!!!!!
 
Yes, it does. Be sure to read the rest of the series for lots of other interesting surprises.
 
+Joshua Berg Thanks for the great research and write-up. I've spent the last 5 years on LinkedIn, and decided it was time to figure out Google+ SEO, after seeing lots of my competitors beat my sites on rankings. My guess it's their Google+ strategy. Looking to learn more. Thanks.
 
Have you ever seen a PR of NA? Embarrassed to say but this is what I see of mine +Robin Moody So strange I have 72K views and a good number of followers. Wondering if I tripped into a penalty.
 
+Robin Moody that is quite normal, a majority of profiles have not yet had visible PR assigned.
 
Thanks for the quick response. I have looked into this several times in the past 2 years and have found PR rank for one profile I manage for a client but never myself. And oddly some popular SEO experts the same rank (NA). Again, appreciate the in depth rabbit hole.
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