Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog

Google Agent Rank and Reputational Scores…It’s About Content and Writers and Panda!

Let’s Learn Agent Rank and Reputational Scores…it’s about Content and Writers and Panda.

So here we are, almost 3 months since the “Big” Panda Poop of Feb 24th…and still, no light at the end of the tunnel for those who got pooped on by the Panda Update.

It’s 1:40am…and I still have a few posts in my head, and I can’t sleep until I get at least one of them out of my head and into my blog.

Remember the 23 questions that Amit said we should ask ourselves for guidance on building high quality sites? (and remember my initial responses?)

Let’s look at these specific 4 questions:

  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?

  • How much quality control is done on content?

  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?

  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?

There questions remind me of a Google Patent application called Agent Rank.

I hate quoting patents because the average Joe might not be able to follow…but hey, maybe my readers aren’t average Joes…there’s a lot of goodness, and I had to cut back on the amount that I wanted to quote here….but here’s some of the juiciest parts that relate to what I’m going to get at in a moment…Big Disclosure…. I changed the word “Agent” in the below section to be the word “Writer”… I kept replacing the words in my head, thought I’d make reading easier on you if I just replaced those words….maybe I’m wrong to do this…but you can always replace the word back in your head if you’d like…hehe…

[0026] The name of the writer can be used to influence the ranking of web search results by indicating the writer responsible for a particular content piece. In one implementation, the reputation for a writer is expressed as a numerical score. A high reputational score indicates that the writer has an established positive reputation. The reputational scores of two or more writers can be compared, and the writer having the higher reputational score can be considered to be more authoritative. In an alternative implementation, multiple scores can be computed for different contexts. For example, a writer might have a first score for content that the writer has written, and a second score for content that the writer has reviewed. In another example, a writer that is responsible for an entertainment magazine could have a high reputation score for content related to celebrity news, but a low reputation score for content related to professional medical advice.

[0027] Assuming that a given writer has a high reputational score, representing an established reputation for authoring valuable content, then additional content authored and signed by that writer will be promoted relative to unsigned content or content from less reputable writers in search results. Similarly, if the signer has a large reputational score due to the writer having an established reputation for providing accurate reviews, the rank of the referenced content can be raised accordingly.

[0028] A high reputational score need not give a writer the ability to manipulate web search rankings. In one implementation, reputational scores are relatively difficult to increase and relatively easy to decrease, creating a disincentive for a writer to place its reputation at risk by endorsing content inappropriately. Since the signatures of reputable writers can be used to promote the ranking of signed content in web search results, writers have a powerful incentive to establish and maintain a good reputational score.

[0029] In one implementation, a writer’s reputation can be derived using a relative ranking algorithm, e.g., Google’s PageRank as set forth in U.S. Pat. No. 6,285,999, based on the content bearing the writer’s signature. Using such an algorithm, a writer’s reputation can be determined from the extrinsic relationships between writers as well as content. Intuitively, a writer should have a higher reputational score, regardless of the content signed by the writer, if the content signed by the writer is frequently referenced by other writers or content. Not all references, however, are necessarily of equal significance. For example, a reference by another writer with a high reputational score is of greater significance than a reference by another writer with a low reputational score. Thus, the reputation of a particular writer, and therefore the reputational score assigned to the particular writer, should depend not just on the number of references to the content signed by the particular writer, but on the importance of the referring documents and other writers. This implies a recursive definition: the reputation of a particular writer is a function of the reputation of the content and writers which refer to it.

Bill Slawski has talked about Agent Rank before, and in November of 2010 Bill said:

The Agent Rank approach hinges upon every publisher on the Web having a unique digital signature, that can follow them around from one site to another.

Write a blog post on your blog – you sign it with your digital signature.

Write a guest blog post on someone elses blog – again, you sign it with your digital signature.

Leave a comment on a blog you’ve never seen before – you attach your digital signature to it.

Your “reputation” follows you around to different sources, and the ranking of things you write, whether on your own pages or those owned by others, can be influenced by a reputation score for your work.

A lot of the ideas that I’ve been thinking of the past few days have been derived from Agent Rank.  It’s late….and I probably shouldn’t go into details about the ideas that I have based off of Agent Rank….so I guess I’ll have to break Amit’s Rule #7 (Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?) and leave off any original analysis….I probably should blog about my thoughts and ideas on this at 2:26am….So I lead you to some water….drink up…and I’ll leave the thoughts to you….

What do you think?…and what ideas do you have? (Leave a comment please).

OK…now I can go to sleep and dream dreams about my content army of “expert enthusiast” ninja writers…and Agent Rank 😉

oh…my comments are all on moderation unless you’ve been approved… I’ll approve a few times each day…just a heads up.

PS..Reminder, we’re changing names to Internet Marketing Ninjas in a few months.

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19 Responses

  1. Jim, my site was pooped on by Panda.

    All these while (4+ years) I never had an about us page. I wrote articles without letting people know who I am. Last week, I decided to put a simple one up.

    Maybe that’s the reason why my site got hit – not really a recognized authority.

    I’m now beginning to leave digital signatures hoping that it will lift me out.

    Do you think I’m on track with this?

  2. Hey Jim, I have two thougts on this one.

    Firtly, I dont really see the connection to Panda. Sure, it makes sense to say “hey, this guy has written some good stuff, so the quality seems to generally high” but (and this is my second though) – as Bill pointed out, there has to be some way to determine the identity of an author. Although every internet user might leave a trail to some extent (e.g. with social media accounts), there is no “overall digital signature” for everyone. Especially on websites, one often has only the pure name of the author but one cannot verify, that the person belonging to that name actually wrote the content.

    Or am I missing something?

    Best regards

  3. Jim,
    I kinda see resemblance between signatures benefiting the the agent reputation.. and citations benefiting the ranking with google places.

    one question came to my mind what is a Digital signature?
    is it Full Name/web address? Full Name/Title/web address? Full Name/Title?
    When you comment on a different blog and u fill out the “Name” Field and “Website filed” is it considered a Signature?

    and if you remember good when the rant happened when bing was “copying” Goog results? and if u have time watching the face off here!selected_item=4833
    Harry shum mentioned that also ~21:00 mins.

  4. Bob…if you were “hit” last week, then this has nothing to do with Panda…there was no panda update last week…it was a month ago…
    and no, there is no way that adding an “about us” page hurt you.

    Pascal…I believe you are missing things…. Google has been working on this for years….a lot of it comes down to an author having a Bio page somewhere… and when they write, they should also link to their bio page…
    yes, there are times when google can’t know who an author really is…and in that case, they assign that weight to the site (like page authority and domain authority)..but there are also many many times that google can tell who the author is…

    Wissam… you just need a name…a bio page (somewhere)…and a topic…

  5. Jim, my site got hit on Feb 24 and April 11. So far it lost at least 50% traffic from Google. I’m sure it’s caused by Panda.

    I think I got hit by Panda because I didn’t have an about us page…

  6. You analysis might have some truth but the trouble is that no one seems to know the what really matters. I scoured all reliable sources and have not seen a single reliable source showing a 100% recovery proof. Its good to see that proactive people like yourself are closing in and we have been doing the tweaks on our sites. fingers crossed…

  7. I think Google’s aim is to put as many factors as possible in the algorithm. Assuming the agent rank already exists, however I cannot see it being a major factor.

    As the rich will get richer and the poor will become poorer.

  8. Hey Jim, insightful article.

    I like the idea and could see the advantage of this factor being applied to the algo however like every Panda theory there seems to be reasons to discredit it. What I’m thinking about is how Panda is letting scrapers outrank content with authentic digital signatures. Also, who’s to say a website needs to have a definitive author?

    Surely Agent Rank could be just a lil slice of the panda algo and thats why we see outliners, but who knows.

    I look forward to your feedback.

  9. Jim, I been following that Patent since it was shared by Bill. And tell you what our site still got TORCHED by the update. And shocking part is that my site was the leader since 1998 on that topic. And another frustrating part is that tons of authority sites on that topic mention our name and the writer name, mind you the writer who wrote for us hold PhD on that topic.

    I think I found a solution for Panda. Just got to wait for another REGEN of Panda Update so I can check my assumptions.

  10. Azi,
    few questions…
    1. can you email me your site (my first name) at (jim). (Put Panda in the subject please).
    2. I totally believe that Agent rank is not a cause of panda….but I do believe that agent rank, if used in certain ways, might be a “good” signal in the eyes of google when they are trying to evaluate what is “good content”… I think that a lot of panda has to due with a lot of other factors (and many that would be a stronger signal than agent rank.)….but I believe that Agent rank could be used to “help”….

    I could still see a site getting Panda pooped on, even with a great PHD world authority author, due to other major factors that I believe are involved.

    But I do see a lot of benefits to having a highly trusted author writing content… did you ever find that the pages with his name on it ranked higher than those w/o his name on it? 😉

  11. Jim –
    If digital signature == accountability then I think that this would help eliminate spammy content and that’s good.

    But what about writing under a pen name for a totally unrelated site that you are writing thoughtful, in depth valuable content for? I may not want my business and professional name associated with some of the blogs that I contribute to in other areas, for instance political or religious topics.

    Does this mean that I’d have multiple digital signatures or personas? Oh wait, we’re back where we started then.

  12. I think Google’s aim is to put as many factors as possible in the algorithm. Assuming the agent rank already exists, however I cannot see it being a major factor.


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