Google Authorship

Authored by Tim Isbell. 
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Google is extending its search capability so that the order of the search results incorporates:
  • Google's ranking of the author's quality,
  • AND whether the searcher (or someone they know) is already familiar with this author. 

To make this work, Google needs to know the individual writer of any given page of content. They way they know this is that the page contains writer's Author Code, which is tied to the writer's Google+ Profile.

You may wonder what criteria Google uses to rank authors. And you may wonder how Google ensures that someone can't pose as an author and ruin their reputation (such as me posing to be the President and then writing inappropriate stuff). But for the purposes of this post just assume these are well handled - which, it appears to me, they are.

Now, on with why this is good for users of the Google search engine, and why author will opt-into Google's Author Rank system. I'll use myself as an example. As my author rank increases my content rises in Google's search results. When a search turns up one of my web pages then my line item has 2 additional attributes over the other search results:
  1. To the left of my listing is my Google+ Profile picture.
  2. To the right of the listing is a link to "More by Tim Isbell." This means that to read other material I've written they can just click the link. 
Here's an example of a Google search I did on "lectionary basics":


If this search result shows up on your browser and you know me, or you have found help from my stuff before, then you are likely to recognize my photo and click on my listing to see what I have to say on this subject. And if you want a list of other things that I have written, you can simply click on "More by Tim Isbell." (And if you didn't like the last thing you saw from me, you'll know to avoid clicking on this search result!)

If you type this same search request into your own browser you might get different results because Google's search may know your search history and enough about your network of friends and acquaintances to tailor the search for you. But... try it and see.

The cornerstone of the system is the Author Code, which is based on the author's Google+ Profile (which includes a 21 digit number identifying the author). This number is packaged within a line of HTML code, which I'm calling the Author Code. Here's the exact syntax I'm using: 

<a href="https://plus.google.com/123456789012345678901?rel=author"><b>Google</b></a>

Note that the string of numbers is not actually the ones from my Google+ Profile, but just numbers I put in to make it obvious that there are 21 digits. You would plug your 21 digit Google+ Profile number in place of these 21 digits. To get your number, go to your Google+ account, click on Profile, and the numbers are in the address bar on your browser.

In order to implement Google's Author Ranking system I must add a byline to everything I write. So I added the byline "Authored by Tim Isbell" to the site layout footer, which shows up on every page. In addition I pasted my Author Code in as the very last line of the HTML. You may notice that in the footer I've also put a common hyperlink on my name, which is unnecessary for Author Ranking. But I put it there anyway to link to my Google+ Profile url, but it could just as easily link to the url of my About Tim Isbell page on my site.

I'm not sure how Author Rank will get implemented in other forms of writing, though right now I'm looking into how it may work with Google Drive files. I know it's already in use in non-Google websites and blogging applications.

It looks to me like anyone who publishes on the web will benefit from opting-in to Google Author Ranking. It's sure to change as it gains traction. You can watch it gain traction as your Google Searches and show results with the author's photo. Keep an eye out for it.

There is not enough in the above text for you to actually implement Google Author Rank in your environment, so here are some helpful links with the detail:


All the best,

Tim


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