Following Google’s announcement that they would no longer be displaying authors in search results we all thought Google authorship was dead. Me included.
As way of background, Google Authorship enabled blog authors to connect the blog posts they published to their Google+ profile.
It wasn’t the tagging of posts to a Google+ profile that was key, it was the ability to tag content to an individual author, as opposed to a blog or website, to grow the author’s degree of influence that was important.
Content authored by influential lawyers appearing higher in search results is a big deal.
Aungst first points out that we may have jumped the gun on Authorship’s death. Google only said they would stop displaying authors in search results.
[T]here’s no indication that having a strong presence as an author on Google+ won’t influence your search results in a more behind-the-scenes manner.
Danny Sullivan, a widely respected SEO expert, sees it similarly in a recent post that google authorship may be dead, but author rank is not.
Sullivan thought Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt did a nice job explaining the importance of author rank in his book, The Digital Age.
Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.
Author rank may be more than just a theory, per Aungst. Google was recently granted a patent by which Google will show a search result from an author if that author is connected to the searcher on Google+. The author also has to be identified by Google as an authoritative source for the query used by the searcher.
Whether it will be through Google+ or not, there is little question that influence of an individual will become more and more important on search.
Google+ profiles, links to what you write individually, signals form your personal social activity on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and more will impact how Google views your influence in the areas in which you practice.
Individual versus organization is what it as all about. Individuals establish trust and authority. Individuals build social connections.
We all know things change with Google all the time. But I’d have a Google + profile as a blogger and include the Authorship markup within the development of your blog. Notwithstanding that the markup is not being used by Google now.
I’d also be doing everything I could to grow my influence online through blogging and being active on social networks.
The price for not doing so is, as Google’s Eric Schmidt says, irrelevance.
Image courtesy of Flickr by Ognian Mladenov