Can Klout Compete with Authorship?

Like the secret ingredients in Coke Cola, or Colonel Sander’s fried Chicken recipe, Klout is one of those secretive and elusive entities that may go down in history as one of the things we’ll never fully understand. Is it follower count? Is is retweets? Does it measure the influence of those who retweet you? Or is it just voodoo? We may never know, but the recent strategic investment by Microsoft could help make Klout more accurate, and as important for SEO as Google’s Authorship.

Microsoft announced the investment last week on the Bing community blog, and stated that their aim is to strengthen social search and online influence. Both companies seem to be at a natural stage to join forces, after Bing launched “People Who Know” to their social search bar in May, and Klout recently launched “Moments” to help users better understand what makes them influential.

Klout scores are now integrated into the social search bar on Bing, allowing users to see the influence of an articles author before clicking through. This will not only help to strengthen the ties between social media and content publishing, but it will also help users to find the most authoritative authors in their target field.

This move will offer a somewhat similar service as Google’s Authorship integration with Google+, but it could prove to be more successful, as Klout is integrated with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, Tumblr and many more. From a content publishers perspective, a Klout profile is easier to maintain than a Google+ profile, as Google+ adoption rates have been sluggish, and it can be hard to connect with people on the network. Klout offers an easier, and more rewarding experience, as the numerical rating acts as a gamifying mechanism for content publishing and sharing.

In their blog post, Bing announced:

“We hope that the partnership will ultimately lead to platform enhancements that enrich the discovery and recognition of influencers on both Bing and Klout.”

To compete, Google will have to make their Authorship function easier to implement, as adoption rates have been surprisingly low. Some complain that even after they’ve jumped through all of the hoops, Google still fails to link to their profile. Many have failed to link their content to Google+ correctly, with only 9% of tech blogs implementing the changes successfully.

Klout does have its disadvantages, with elitism being one of the worst. Unless the Klout system improves, the popular will only get more popular, while those who are potentially more influential on the topic in question will be ignored.