Recently Barry (Schwartz) wrote about a conductor study that had shown 90% of tech websites hadn’t properly implemented authorship in the form of the rel=”author” tags.
“Our analysis showed only 9% of the top tech blogs have ‘completely’ implemented rel=author by both adding the tag to their website and pointing to the author’s Google + account. ”
This is certainly a bit surprising as it’s an important element of maximizing clicks and visibility in a given SERP. Obviously this is more important in some sectors than it would be in others, but still. It should be on most of our radars as internet marketers.
Then I noticed something
Google’s got game
At the end of the Conductor post they link to ‘step by step instructions’ for implementing the tags. Standard stuff right? Then why exactly has Google made me a ‘verified author‘ on sites where this hasn’t been done?
In Google Webmaster tools I went to – Labs > Author stats – which says
Ok cool. Considering I’ve only really done the authorship mark-up dealy here on SNC, I figured that would be what I’d see. Apparently not.
- Search Engine Watch – no rel tag
- Search Engine Journal – has rel="author" (David Harry) but doesn’t point to G+ page.
- Search Engine Land – no rel tag
What’s going on here?
Ultimately it does seem that my Google Plus profile is the core element that’s making these associations to Google, even without the rel=”author” tag.
One of the more interesting associations, was on our company site where it took this page, and associated me as the author of the page, when there is no actual author named on the page. But, as you can see below, I did connect it to my profile in order to create our company’s Google Plus page.
Apparently Google is indeed not counting on webmaster’s to fully or properly implement the authorship mark-up (or use it at all). They are making some associations from other signals, your Gplus profile seemingly the important one. If you’re active on websites other than your own, I do suggest making sure you’ve linked them up.
The author stats feature dissapeared recently, as Barry reported, Google said they were;
"(..) disabled the experimental Author stats feature in Webmaster Tools Labs as we work to fix a bug in the way stats are attributed."
I guess they got that sorted? Hmmmm seems a tad wonky still.
At the end of the day it is certainly something that could be handy when actively posting on websites beyond your own. In my case I can get a sense of which of my posts are being effective (ranking/traffic wise) through data I wouldn’t normally have access to. That in turn can help me get a sense of my value to the publication and help craft future content ideas.
Anyway, just something I noticed in my daily travels… do let me know what you find when YOU play with it…
Here’s some related reading of interest..
- Google Author Stats Goes Missing From Webmaster Tools
- Google social profiling
- Google social graph
- Named entities for SEO