Now that almost the 15-year love relationship of Google with links has the “it’s complicated” status, it’s quite natural for the big daddy to find out the bugs that are becoming a cause of trouble to this relationship.
According to a survey conducted in 2011 by SeoMoz to know the ranking factors used by Google, it was revealed that only 40% of algorithm now remains influenced by links, as opposed to 55% inclination toward links that was discovered in the 2009 survey conducted by them. And the participants of these surveys were not novices but the people who breathe SEO in and out, mind it!
This makes it clear that Google is now losing trust in the links that are pointing to a website. With the over-optimization and black hat techniques manipulating the link graph and abusing the SERPs with low-quality sites, Google is now finding ways to emphasize more on the humane touch to rank websites in their result pages. The question that now determines the authority or rankings of a website for Google is, “why should we trust this website?”
An answer to this is the popular examples of the increasing consideration given to the human factors in algorithm updates, like the social media indications and user engagement on a website. But a lesser known method that hasn’t shared the limelight as much but is going to make a big difference in future algorithm updates is expected to be authorship markup.
Here’s what Google’s Software Engineer, Othar Hansson had to say about this in his post on the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog:
“We know that great content comes from great authors, and we’re looking closely at ways this markup could help us highlight authors and rank search results.”
Personally, I believe Google is bang on in identifying the author of the link as a way to nullify the manipulative link abuse and to restore the trust in links.
In June 2011, rel author tags were introduced by Google that associates a webpage to its author by pointing it to the Google+ profile page of the author (which should link back to the website for the 2-way verification).
According to the experts at www.seoconsult.com, this is a powerful break-even point for Google to weed out spammers and identify trustworthy links/authors more easily. This method would also work great for Google to understand how much weightage needs to be given to the links that are placed by a particular author, which would vary according to their “Author Rank”.
Author Rank is like the Page Rank for the authors. So, if Google sees you as trustworthy, you will be awarded with a higher AR, and this will make your content and the links shared by you as more relevant, ensuring immense boost in the rankings of the websites you’re sharing or are associated with.
In simple words, this is how the whole equation comes out to be:
Author Rank X Page Rank of the Site Associated with the Author = Authored Page Rank
So how can you make yourself look like a trustworthy author in the eyes of Google?
Well, the first step in this is to set up your authorship markup.
1. You can skip this step if you wish to because it’s optional. But Google does recommend it, so feel free to use it if you’re not too lazy. Change your settings and make your +1s go public. You can do this by visiting your G+ profile. Click the account overview and then edit profile. Hover over the +1 option. Check the option that says “show this tab on your profile” and save it.
2. While you’re still in the edit mode of the same profile, make a link pointing to your website. Follow this path – Go to>edit profile>about, your name (this should be the same as your bio in wordpress) and link it with your website. Don’t forget to check the option for “this page is specifically about me” and save it. Your “rel=me” has now been set on your G+ profile.
3. The next step is to relate your G+ profile and your website. Start on with this by making the Google+ button and place it anywhere on your website. Or, you may add a simple text link to your footer. Here’s where you can create your Google+ button. Now put the URL of your G+ profile, select the size of the image, and copy your code. Remember that you have to paste it in a way that it is present in all the pages of your website.
Here’s a video that will help you understand how you should set this up:
If you’re technically challenged, here’s the simpler version for you:
Guys, this is as simple as it can get. So get your lazy asses out of your chair and do this to see your picture and Google profile show up in the SERPs, next time your content is ranking well.