In a Time When Authors Rule the Web

About a year and a half ago I warned bloggers and content creators to take author markup and authority and Google+ seriously.

Google was making under the hood noise about attaching authority to content published by individuals based on a variety of factors.

I advised bloggers to follow Google’s instruction to link their blog posts and about us pages to their Google+ profile in order that Google might start enhancing search results with goodies like profile pictures as below.

Here’s a tutorial on how to get author markup added using one of my favorite plugins.

And in this tutorial Brian Gardner explains how to add author markeup in the Genesis framework (the theme used on this site.)

By asking authors to add the attribute rel=”author” to their content Google was creating a way to beat spammers and duplicate content to a degree by attaching the real author to the original content.

author authority

Google adds images and social data taken from Google+ to search results with author markup

Now I ask you – when doing a search, which result are you drawn to – the first one or the one with a friendly looking, smiley guy next to it?

This fact alone makes taking the time to add the required elements a no-brainer.

More recently Google has admitted that they are testing author authority in a much bigger way and actually choosing content to index based on this ranking.

Author authority is, like most things Google, a bit of a mystery, but you can bet that content that is found, shared and +1’d in Google+ is helping an author’s authority. This dollop  of search fairy dust is why you cannot ignore Google+ or rel=author attributes.

If that weren’t enough Google is also allowing you to tell them where you contribute content. Think about that one for a bit. Now that brilliant post you submitted to Mashable, Huff Post or Social Media Examiner is going add to your author authority in some meaningful way perhaps.


Edit your Google+ profile with sites you contribute to

By creating an authority ranking of sorts Google is creating another way to beat link spam and assign authority and importance to all manner of things left about the web such as comments, Quora answers, and Retweets.

So now we have an entirely new networking landscape. Instead of simply networking for links, we’ll have to get good at identifying and networking for author authority.

But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself – first things first, it’s time to go to work on your own author authority.

  1. Get your content linked to your Google+ profile
  2. Optimize your Google+ profile with links to your articles
  3. Get to work creating and sharing great content
  4. Build your Google+ engagement and following
  5. Hmm, I wonder if a Wikipedia page would help?
  6. Make a list of potential sites/publications to submit guest posts

You can also start the process of signing up for Google Authorship here.

Plenty of authors and SEO types are covering this top these days and you would do yourself a favor to start your research with these two pieces from Copyblogger. Brian Clark on why you need to get on Google+ and 64 Google+ Content Strategies.

Google Moves Local Businesses to Google Plus With Brute Force

In a move that I predicted from the very beginning, Google has finally scrapped the Google Places offering and rolled all Places profiles into what they are calling Google+ Local.

Google+ Local offering

Now, you could argue, and some will, that forcing local business owners on to Google+ is yet another sign that Google is putting way too much emphasis on their desire to become relevant in social media, but the fact is, it’s still very much Google’s world that we playing in.

The most frustrating aspect of this in my opinion is that it took so long. I’m guessing a lot of local business owners jumped in and built brand pages, so now what?

If you’ve created a Google Place page, as I’ve been advising as part of any local search plan, then you may already be aware that Google has moved your page onto Google+.

If you’ve got a Google+ account you can find your page through either local search or through the Local button that now appears on the left sidebar when logged into Google+.

If you don’t have a Google+ account, well, I guess you’ll get one now if you still want to play with Google.

Google has already flipped the switch and is showing these new Google+ Local pages when you conduct local searches in Google and on Google Maps. While you can still gain access to and edit your Places profile pages through the Places login, my guess is that will give way to Google+ profile editing at some point.

Here are some things to note:

Clean up your profile.

Now is the time to clean up your profile

When Google moved the pages to Google+ it made a mess. A bit like moving anything does, I suppose. Go jump in and choose and edit your profile image and banner image. Right now Google is either picking from photos you uploaded or simply using a map.

You might want to add some things to your profile as some of the customization you may have done previously could be lost. Add links to your page.

Check out the reviews

Google purchased the restaurant rating service Zagat a while back and it appears they intend to inject the Zagat ratings system into the entire review process.

Visitors now have the opportunity to rate your business using a point scale. Not sure how this will translate over into the services of a plumber or insurance agency, but it’s certainly worth noting.

Reviews that came over from your previous page are very messy now. You, as the page owners, have a period of time to clean this up. When you first sign into Google+ and find your page you’ll be able to tell Google+ if you want all your photos and reviews from your Places page to be moved and be attributed to you or remain private.

So, now any reviews that you had previously will simply show up as anonymous Google user. Seems like if you really didn’t have much going in the way of reviews, this is a bit of a do over.

It will be interesting to see how much more emphasis Google puts on reviews.

Here’s the bottom line in my view. No mater how you feel about this rather forceful move, Google looks poised to make it a significant part of the Local Search landscape and you can’t ignore that. My guess is there will be plenty of tinkering, adding and tweaking in the weeks and months to come. You can bet advertising and offers will move into this somehow.

Now is the time to get in there and claim, prune, decorate and otherwise take control of your Google+ Local offering.