klout scoreThis week, Klout announced in a post on its company blog that it changed the way its scoring algorithm calculates online influence ratings. The blog post included a warning that some people would see their Klout scores go down, but most would see their Klout scores go up or stay the same. If the online buzz is to be believed, that warning was a bit nonchalant, and in fact, a lot of people saw their Klout scores go down after the change. As you might expect, they’re not happy about it.

Despite the initial negative reaction from people who had been working to build their Klout scores, the news of the algorithm change is actually a good thing because the new ranking should be more accurate. Of course, Authoritative Content publishers already know that by publishing quality content, they’ll weather the short-term ups and downs of the online environment and content industry. As a result, these types of ranking variations have little effect in the long-term for Authoritative Content publishers.

Depending on popularity scores is a mistake if your using content to build long-term, sustainable and organic growth. Unfortunately, that’s a mistake that too many businesses make every year — focusing on short-term tactics and ROI to bring in the business today with no strategic plan to sustain the business in the long-term.

Of course, scoring systems like Klout aren’t completely irrelevant. They provide a good starting point for finding people with large online audiences who trust those people. However, no marketing plan or business plan should rely on third-party scoring systems alone.

In the meantime, Klout is starting to see competitors enter the marketplace with sites like ProSkore targeting niche audiences (for ProSkore, the target audience is professionals) and using unique algorithms and tools to calculate influence. It’s safe to assume that we can expect to see even more competition in the “business of influence” in the near future, and as these tools come and go, one thing will stay the same — quality content and conversations is always the most important ingredient for long-term success.