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 Search Plus Is Shaking Things Up a Bit

This week Google realigned it’s search results to officially add a feature that many had witnessed leaking into search results

The new functionality is potentially as important as the switch to Universal Search a few years ago. (I say potentially because Google seems to have a knack for live testing.)

The feature is something called Google Search Plus Your World – doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue but most are simply calling it Search Plus.

The idea is that Google is going to give you the option to search with results focused primarily on those in your social circles. Currently, this has heavy focus on Google+ as Facebook and Twitter don’t seem interested in helping Google paint a bigger picture at the moment.

The functionality is switched on and off with a little selector that shows up in the right hand corner of your browser window when you are logged into your Google account. (Oddly, the feature shows up in Chrome and Safari, but not in Firefox for me at the moment.)

The results are sort of fascinating at the moment as it’s fun to see some of this data organized in this manner. Time will tell whether or not this is a killer feature, but there are some things to like and certainly some things to note.

The rel=author attribute is more important than ever. I wrote about adding rel=author a while back but it seems it’s in full swing now. I am seeing search results for generic, but important search terms produce my homepage with my photo next to the results making it stand out even more. (For the time being it appears you can use the attribute on any page you author and eventually create this result – NB: for the time being, we’ll see how sorts out.) See the images below.

Page one results for search term - small business marketing

Page one results for search term - Pinterest for business

Notice my image to the left of the results from my site and the “more from John Jantsch” link embedded in the results. This came about through Google’s author highlighting that ties the rel=author attribute on all my pages to my Google+ profile and it’s hard not to think that highlighting makes that result stand out on the page. (Note: these searches were conducted while signed out of my Google account.)

Google is going to force you to like Google+ – okay that may be a bit strong but right now there is very strong evidence that playing in Google+ will benefit you when it comes to showing in Search Plus. It’s do in part to the vast amount of content that Google has total access to there and I’m sure it will settle down some or Google will damage its search integrity, but for now the connection is pretty blatant. See the image below.

Page one results for search term marketing - with Search Plus on

Go read up on the rel=author attribute and go listen to my interview with Google+ maestro Chris Brogan and you’ll be off and running in the Search Plus game.

Google Plus Starting to Impact Search

The link between Google Plus and the impact it will have on search results is one that many people are watching closely. Google Plus is taking hold and Google's search product is a big benefactor as millions of motivated folks…

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