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Linked all sites to Google Authorship. Some thoughts.


12:18 am on Jun 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

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My sites are not "blogs" or personal opinion pieces, they are dot coms and they're owned by an organization tied to one individual (who is mentioned only once in the "About Us" section at the end of each page of each site). All the sites are tied together, though content is different.

So, I vetted this with the organization, and I created a Google+ account for this person. I used their image. I set everything up. The photo *should* start showing in the search results (I hope).

Positive net effects:

1) I like that the sites are all tied together now through Google+

2) I like how authorship "verifies" content, to an extent, and ties content to one person. I think this is an excellent idea on Google's part.

3) Having a photo in SE results could be interesting, hopefully will increase CTR a bit. Photo is very nice and professional headshot.

4) I've heard authorship can ensure scrapers won't ever be above you in SE results.

5) I've heard authorship, more and more, could have a positive impact on SE results (makes sense, why wouldn't Google be biased toward its own social network?).

Negative net effects and concerns:

a) I don't want people clicking his Google+ profile instead of the site itself! (They probably won't)

b) Could having a photo suggest, subtly, to searchers that the site is a blog or opinion piece, instead of an authoritative dot com? I'm concerned it could. They're going to think, "Oh, an article" instead of "Oh, an organization/authoritative source."

c) It essentially says "BY so-and-so" -- this is partially true. This guy didn't write or design every part of the web site, or all of the content! But it's all his, part of his organization. That's why this authorship thing is so odd. Most sites are a big collaboration. But I'm not going to put MYSELF on it, as webmaster, either, am I? Who would? Authorship seems to have a limited use SINCE IT IS BASED ON ONE PERSON, A NAME, instead of also including organizations/businesses. It's rather bizarre how "personal" it is.

d) WHAT IF your Google+ profile has ZERO social network footprint, i.e. no friends, followers, etc.? I never use Google+, I hate the interface.

At issue is the fact Google has indicated they will begin looking at the social rank and popularity of a Google+ and connecting that information to a web page. But all things being equal, if you go from NO Google+ to a Google+ with ZERO social followers/ranking, will this help or hurt you? Or is it neutral?

This is the most important question to me: I want to know whether a "dead" Google+ profile will actually HURT you in the long run, versus not having one at all.

Obviously, I hope his Google+ profile gets some followers and I will post some of his content on it, but I don't expect him to even hardly use it.
1:26 pm on June 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

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There was a recent thread that discussed the impact of Google+ authorship: [webmasterworld.com...]
I think you can find some of answers there.

But to me, a SERP entry showing a photo and a name leaves the impression of the page voicing a personal opinion, which may not be the best for every page of a corporate website.
2:30 pm on June 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

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This is similar to what ive been wondering. As google wants brands a site IMO should use rel=publisher and point it to the google+page of the brand.

The rel=author is pointed to the page of the author, however I write all pages on the site. I dont care if people follow me I want them to follow the brand.

So your point is good, will a low follow count on the rel=author harm the page even if rel=publisher is well followed.
3:17 pm on June 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I can't answer your question about a dead Google+ profile, but this:

Authorship seems to have a limited use SINCE IT IS BASED ON ONE PERSON, A NAME, instead of also including organizations/businesses. It's rather bizarre how "personal" it is.

Is why I just won't go with Google +. On Facebook, I can set up a page for my business. I can connect it to my personal FB page or not. I can link content to the business' page or my own as I see fit (I always go with the business, myself). And it's a great way for people to keep up with new content.

Google+ lacks a clear way to interact put forward a BUSINESS, or label content as belonging to a BUSINESS. Putting individuals forward can also look like an ego trip. Smiling headshots actually tend to make me doubt someone knows what they're talking about because IME, people who put themselves forward like that are usually all PR and no substance.

I get the value of being able to find a headshot of someone whose qualifications I've already discovered - it makes them seem more real and human. But if a photo is the first thing I find on them, it makes me wonder.
3:28 pm on June 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I manage several sites for other people who do not want to manage details, they do not want to be involved in social media either. I have my own sites too, on diverse topics that if my picture were related to them they could easily lose credibility. I have decades of experience and knowledge in these topics, and the sites are successful as sources of information and extra income but I honestly think that a head shot of an old lady next to them would ruin it for me. As long as visitors think they are getting competent help they are happy but if I had to tell them who is helping them they might run away. G+ is not for everyone.
5:55 pm on June 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@not2easy, good point. A headshot can work against you if you don't look like the expectation people have for your expertise/niche.
7:36 pm on June 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If your picture shows anything other than a white male in his '30's -- regardless of search topic -- I-as-user may click on the link just for the novelty value.

The whole question is somewhat academic because I don't think anyone has yet figured out the magic formula that makes a photograph show up in SERPs. It is definitely, definitely not a mere matter of verifying authorship, since the same page in the same time frame will show up both with and without.
7:50 pm on June 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I set my company up as the publisher of the website and for the articles I do write I have set authorship up for. I have been put into 10 Google circles.

I agree with most of your points. With B I was never worried about that and C doesn't concern my sites.

As far as D is concerned I can't say I say a negative or positive affect (been using it for 3 months now). My site is trending lower still but I that is a penguin issue and not authorship.

The only reason I do Google + is because I know Google will eventually use it in there algo. I prefer twitter myself.
8:04 pm on July 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Don't get fixated on the picture. Common sense will tell you that if there are results with pictures and results without then the picture might be one of the factors that encourages people to link, but it is much more likely to be if the person in question is in a larger number of Google+ circles, in other words, they have more endorsements from a community and if some of the circlers are in your circle of influence (search plus your world) then the likelihood is even greater.

As for people finding "content" I write most of my best pieces directly on Google+ rather than a blog.

You'll hear more about Paid/Owned/Earned media and the earned is the social stuff, the +1's, the reshares, the comments.

The signals coming from Google+ will continue to get stronger.

I've been hanging out (literally and metaphorically) with some of the smartest Google+ people, who really get it. They are dragging me along by my shirt-tails with the knowledge grab.

I love all that is happening on Google+ the negatives in the post starting by littlecubpanda are a little scary. I don't care if people click to find my content on Google+ and interact. I have a Wordpress plugin set up so that any comments appear on Google+ and vice versa. If they don't have any connections, then they should go out and create them, lots of them. Type in keywords that they are interested in and find the authorities on Google+ in the communities, on posts, there are a multitude of third party research tools that will help you find them.
8:38 pm on July 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Unless I'm mistaken, Google's objective with authorship is NOT to give e-commerce marketers another way to promote product pages, real-estate listings, and the like. Common sense would suggest that, at the very least, Google will ignore questionable use of authorship markup--and in extreme cases (such as the hotel site that stuck authorship markup on millions of bolerplate pages recently), Google might well regard "authorship abuse" as spam.

IMHO, the best way to use authorship on an e-commerce site would be to use it for content of intrinsic value to readers (e.g., "How to install our widgets in your home office," as opposed to a "Smithco WGT24000 Widget" sell page). Aside from whatever value that approach has with Google, it will keep you from losing credibility with prospective customers who may be turned off by "authorspam."
10:14 pm on July 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It sounds like you should be using "rel=publisher" instead of "rel=author" cause you're right, author makes it sound like opinion or is really meant to be article based. <snip>

Also, schema.org (I imagine you are using structured data of some sort if you are trying to get your picture up) recently released support for adding a logo to your listing rather than a picture of a person. At least I think it was recent. Like a month or two ago or something if I remember correctly.

Anyway, using the logo would put an image that wasn't a potentially debilitating face (sorry, not calling anyone ugly) and strengthen branding. That and people would start to recognize it if they saw it in other SERPS which could help.

[edited by: goodroi at 11:08 pm (utc) on Jul 1, 2013]
[edit reason] Welcome to WebmasterWorld, please go read & follow the community guidleines [/edit]

12:59 am on July 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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As of now, my guy's photo is up on all the search results. He looks pretty good, for an older guy. Has a suit on.


I'm going to look into that. I would MUCH rather have a logo show up over a headshot.
1:28 am on July 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Interesting... wouldn't really work for me, unless I just wanted to go back to having no photo but still have a Google+ affiliation. Which may be best.

Seeing as how there has been a slight CTR drop this week for my top search term, which puts me at #1, I'm a little concerned, because the photo started showing up this week. That's an early red flag people are moving on to the second and third options because of the photo (because traffic is still up week over week).

Anyway, people aren't searching the name of the organization, they're searching things entirely unrelated -- so rel=publisher would NOT show up virtually ever -- again, this might be a good thing! I'm CONCERNED about that damn photo!

"Rel=Author shows the author’s photo and name on all SERPs that have been attributed – you do not have to search for the author’s name specifically. However, with Rel=Publisher it only “triggers” the extra feature when you type in nothing but the brand. I.E. “Waterstones” not “Watersones store London”. If you think about it, if you search for a brand the chances are high that you are already pretty familiar with them. So the fact that you get to see their logo and most recent activity on G+ is neither here nor there."

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