On Wednesday evening I spoke at Port80 Summer Localhost 2014 in Newport, alongside three other excellent talks on the subjects of product launches, intellectual property and the power of using emotion in UX.
When @Joel_Hughes (@Port80Events‘ organiser) and I first discussed my talk topic earlier in the year, which was going to be about Google Authorship (a.k.a. rel="author"), it was before Google’s John Mueller announced the changes to Authorship in late June. Rather than to ditch the talk topic entirely and talk about something else SEO-related instead, I decided to stick with it, talking about its past, present and potential future.
At the time, that’s all it was: a story. Events unfolded and I decided to write about them, as I thought that my experience might be helpful to others. Beyond that, I thought nothing of it. Even as an SEO, I didn’t expect the post to be big – but over the year, it took off. Majorly.
One year on, I wanted to look back at the stats in Google Analytics and suggest what I think may be behind its success.
From 6th March 2013 to 5th March 2014, my blog had over 15k unique visits and over 22k unique pageviews. The post had over 7,000 unique pageviews – a third of all pageviews to the entire 150+ page blog…
It’s also been viewed twice as many times as my homepage. The blog’s second most popular post during that time received a seventh of the views of the main post (just shy of 1,000 unique pageviews)… In other words, it makes the rest of my content look crap in comparison, haha!
Interestingly, when looking at the Top Pages section in Open Site Explorer, things are different. From a Page Authority point of view, it’s the blog’s fifth most popular page:
Less links and less shares compared to a couple of other posts and pages.
So what’s attributed to its success, if social shares and links aren’t behind it? Organic search.
A week ago (on 16th April) I gave a talk at Cardiff Internet, a local monthly internet marketing event aimed at small business owners. My talk was all about rel="author" implementation and its benefits, containing a live implementation demo on a WordPress blog using the Yoast SEO plugin.
Update: Someone’s found a SERP with 10 in it. Scroll down to learn more!
The other day I was doing a vanity rankings check to see if my recent rel="author" case study post was ranking for anything. I found out that it was ranking 1st for “rel author case study” (which is nice, but apparently doesn’t get searched on much) and also found out that I’m on page 1 for “rel author implementation” (which does get a bit of search volume).
But something else caught my attention about the SERP…
Do you see it? EIGHT faces, i.e. 8 instances of rel="author" implementation. Given the keyword in question, I can’t say I’m surprised.
And then it got me thinking… Is there an instance of a SERP with 9 or even 10 Google+ avatars in it?
This post is mainly about what happens when you implement rel="author" twice on a webpage and the confusion and potential mistrust it carries in Google’s eyes. However it also covers the following areas:
The best and easiest way to implement rel="author" on a WordPress blog,
How to handle rel="author" if your blog allows guest posts (whether it’s on WordPress, another blogging platform or a self-hosted blog).
Discrepancies between what the Rich Snippets Preview Tool shows and what actually shows up in Google’s SERPs (search engine result pages).
What is rel="author"?
rel="author" is a type of rich snippet whereby your Google+ profile picture and links to your profile appear in Google’s search results. While you may not know it by name, if you’ve been using Google at all in the past year or so (which I’m guessing is extremely likely!) then you’re bound to recognise this:
Rather than simply showing a standard search result, the following is added:
A Google+ profile pic, which studies have shown can improve CTR (click-through rate). One of my favourite studies talks about how optimising the picture (of all things!) can further increase CTR.
A “by [name]” link, which links to the person’s Google+ profile.
The number of G+ circles that the person is in.
Although it’s not shown above, I’ve also seen some instances where it says “More by [name]” in place of #3.
In addition to improving CTR, Eric Schmidt recently revealed that it could even lead to higher rankings, which is something that many had previously speculated and that Jeff Sauer has recently investigated.