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Google strengthens its message about rel="author"

 4:54 pm on Jun 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

In the latest video from Matt Cutts, he goes on to describe how authorship profiles will be strengthened by use of rel="author"

Here's the video.



 10:26 am on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

What he doesn't go into is topic-specific authority. Most good writers stick to a few topics, and that's what makes them good. I want to read Danny Sullivan's take on SEO, for instance, but not necessarily on ornithology or crafting tips (unless he happens to have hidden talents in these areas).

So there are two aspects to this. There's the talent of authorship in terms of writing clear, grammatical text that people enjoy reading; and there's the importance of expertise in a subject area. Both are the kind of things searchers will be looking for, but I can see Google struggling to understand the latter. If they can nail that, in a way that Klout really haven't yet, it will make rel=author worthwhile for all concerned.


 1:20 pm on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

What I got out of this is that it's encouraged, but that there's no specific thing in the algorithm to handle rankings or anything. Not yet, anyway.


 4:56 pm on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

You have to wonder if this tag won't attract a lot more spammers and wannabes than real authorities. Not long ago there was a thread here on WebmasterWorld about a scheme for half-a-dozen different writers to all use the same author tag. I really don't see how it can ever be a reliable ranking factor, especially since some articles will have the tag and some won't.. In any case, it seems to me that an article should be ranked on its intrinsic value and quality, rather than the supposed "reputation" of its author.


 5:39 pm on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Of course it should; that article I just scraped was loaded with intrinsic value and quality...


 6:45 pm on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

And if I pay for a prominent author , politician, seo talking head to post an article on my site how do I no follow their author tag? Or is this an authortorial?

Lots of good debate ahead I think


 7:18 pm on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Is verifying your site with you G+ account (so the author shot is in the SERPs on pages with the byline) equivilent to using this tag?


 8:35 pm on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Just another hint that we should be using Google's defacto standards - in other words, FB won't get you rankings but using G+ like a mad man will make you an expert in any field and place you at the top. Let the gaming begin. Meh.


 9:12 pm on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Is verifying your site with your G+ account (so the author shot is in the SERPs on pages with the byline)

If you have figured out how to get all SERPS for your site to display a name and likeness every time, I am not the only person who would like to know: How did you do that?


 9:58 pm on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Using the authorship tag will get your name and information displayed in the Google search results but that is only part of it. This is not going to be an easy thing to spam because there are obviously many signals such as how much interaction over a period of years, how many shares, the amount of “likes” and how many “followers” you have that make intelligent comments on your Google+ profile. Data bases are collecting this information and Google are seriously hinting that they may use this information.

It may not play a big part in SEO but every little helps and if Google wants to make its search engine about people maybe we should play their game. Only time will tell.

Google specifies that they will not guarantee to display the author shot all the time but I get a 90% display rate.


 10:41 pm on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google specifies that they will not guarantee to display the author shot all the time but I get a 90% display rate.

Same for me. And that mug shot, ugly though it is in my case, catches the eye especially if no other SERPS result has a picture.


 12:21 am on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I for one will not voluntarily give google one more byte of data.


 1:03 am on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

(Also, they won't display unless you use a real live person's photo; no cartoons or drawings. I'm tempted to see if I can make it show up if I borrow someone else's pic)


 1:16 am on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I vote for everyone using Conan The Barbarian pics. Passive resistance at it's finest!


 2:24 am on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Also, they won't display unless you use a real live person's photo; no cartoons or drawings.

:: ostentatiously avoiding eye contact with netmeg and assorted others ::

The photograph I use on the Author page is the same one I use as an avatar on one forum-- but it happens to be a non-indexed forum, so g may not know that. It would make a difference to people who "know" me online because it confirms that I'm the same person.

Only a few days ago, prompted by a different but related question, I looked at the "pages for which YOU are the verified author" area in gwt. The identical page can show up with or without the "verified author" identification, and no clue about how they decide. Tentative guess: it depends on the exact wording of the query-- but the Verified Author won't show you the query, so this must remain tentative.

:: detour to double-check, with further detour because-- in a historical first-- a couple of the listed 404s are problems I do want to know about, though further investigation suggests they are lying in their teeth about putative link to nonexistent pages ::

The "verified author" list has a slightly higher CTR than the same pages in the same time period overall. Probably real, not a statistical glitch-- but it's not vastly and whoppingly higher.


 3:48 am on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

You know the entire message is idealistic and not realistic when he says "If Danny Sullivan writes something on a forum then I want to know about that even if the forum doesn't have much pagerank".

Since we all know how unimportant pagerank is to rankings... just saying.


 4:48 am on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I find it ironic that this little move does nothing for users* - it only manipulates the SERPs. Oh, wait... guess it's okay when Google ASKS us to manipulate the SERPs for them. After all, "nofollow" sure doesn't tell readers "this is a crap link."

*Because any idiot can set up a profile and then proceed to publish utter nonsense.


 7:10 am on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Any idiot can set up a profile and then proceed to publish utter nonsense and many do but it will get them absolutely nowhere. For a profile to be successful and to be noticed by Google it will need many followers and answers to intelligent posts. No doubt Google will rate any answers you get by the authority of the person who makes comments as well.

Take a look at some of the attempts at spamming on Google+, no one is interested in them, many get their account disabled because there is a simple way of reporting these people and those that do post dribble, and there is a lot of it, normally complain that Google+ is a ghost town because no one ever replies to them. It will do them no good at all regarding manipulating search results.

Google has got this tied up pretty well, true they want as much data as possible from you but you only have to give as much as YOU want to. This is the way Google is going, if you do not like it you do not have to participate but stop complaining, Google is a free service so you are not a customer.


 7:35 am on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)


I simply followed the instructions on Google's official 'authorship' page - plus.google.com/authorship. I'll answer my own question here, rel="author" is meant for sites you participate on and the other verification fine for your own site.


 10:10 am on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

I meant: Do 100% of searches for your site now show up with attached name and picture? And in gwt, are the numbers in the "verified author" table the same as the numbers for their respective pages in the general Search Queries area? On mine, they're different by a factor of anywhere from 3 to 10. No discernible pattern.


 2:57 pm on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

When I see someone's face in the search results, I figure that it's probably either a spammer or a wannabe, and make sure NOT to click on that result


 3:39 pm on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Aristotle, I have heard that argument from you before and you are in the minority, there is evidence that a rich snippet with photo and information actually improves CTR on Google search.

It may not improve search engine placement but this video from Matt Cutts is the biggest hint yet that it may at a later date..


 4:37 pm on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

So if I were to join Google+, and get my face into the search results, then somehow articles that I wrote five or ten years ago would suddenly become more worthy of being clicked.


 4:54 pm on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Aristotle, it’s not a matter of being more worthy, I’m sure you have old content that still gets clicked. I have pages that are twelve years old that still get clicked.

If you have your profile photo and description in the search results it stands out more than those that do not and you definitely get a better click through rate.


 5:02 pm on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

So I guess the question is, do you think it's worth giving up details of your private life, and expending time doing whatever you do within Google+, in order to maybe get more clicks? Personally I prefer to spend my time researching and writing, or working on my sites, or doing real-life things.


 5:10 pm on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

So don't use it then. Nobody's making you, not even Google. And if there are consequences (because there are always consequences, good, bad or indifferent) I'm sure you will accept them as what comes with your decision.

Authorship is a form of branding - it doesn't necessarily make your content better, or even more authoritative, but it does make it more recognizable. I know a bunch of people in my industry; there are even more people I don't know. If I'm looking for information on some topic, I for one would probably click first on the face I already know and trust. Authorship makes it easier to find. And in some cases, I think it also helps with the scraper issue (when used in conjunction with other things, like disabling feeds and using PUSH)


 5:44 pm on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

In my case adding the authorship tag is not about getting more clicks, it is about interacting with people who look at my website and have the same interests as me. For me it is very much a social thing. I just consider myself lucky that I do get extra benefits by being on Google+

I agree with netmeg who has put things very eloquently


 6:12 pm on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

So hopefully we all agree that it comes down to values and goals, which of course differ from person to person. Actually my issues in this matter are with Google, not with people here, but I don't want to get any further into that right now.


 6:42 pm on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Pretty sure values and goals differ between us and Google too.


 8:23 pm on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

Am I the only one wondering if Google really CAN use this for ranking (and still serve their own interests)? It just seems too easy to game. Plus, there could be anti-trust issues in giving a ranking advantage to people who use a Google tool.

I'm sure they might be able to use it in a small way, but I can't see this becoming a deciding factor in the algo.

This 56 message thread spans 2 pages: 56 ( [1] 2 > >
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