Authorship and Its Effect on Google Search Click-Through Rate

Authorship and your use of Google+ in relation to your website has ben a hot topic on blogs and at Search Conferences over the last 6-9 months.  Understanding how your authority as an author/writer can effect the search engine results for your keyword phrases has become something of a quest for many search marketers.

Google has made the connection of blog and Google+ fairly simple, but there are still issues and barriers to entry out there.  Many small businesses who do not live and breathe search marketing are not aware, or have not taken the time to establish authorship for their websites.  The honest truth is, there is solid proof that using this connection will help YOUR search results attract attention – and why not – the image, additional data, and larger result can make all the difference in the world when you’re trying to attract an eyeball.  Authorship results have 7 lines, non-authorship results have 5.  2 lines is a lot of real estate on a page, don’t discount it.

A recent article by Justin Briggs brought the importance of this front and center this week.  He cited a paper published by Google in early 2012 that stated that a majority of searchers ignored social annotations in search results.  They basically didnt care if there was something that said “shared by” with a tiny picture next to the result.  (Note: If I remember correctly at that time, Google+ was struggling with adoption as well and there was some talk of it going the way of the dodo.)

According to Briggs, Google noticed that larger images (50×50) attracted more attention from searchers, the tiny images next to “shared by” text received little-to-no attention, so how do they encourage people to give them good images, and a way to connect an author to an article?

Authorship anyone?

Now the writer is PROVIDING Google with information they can use to connect authors with content, and a way to display it that encourages engagement.  ENGAGEMENT in all caps.

Check out this heatmap from a google search result that contains a listing with authorship established and an author image next to the content.  If you’re familiar with how this heat map previously looked, the result in the VERY TOP LEFT generally received the most attention.  Universal and personalized search changed that when video thumbnails and other signals were included in the 10 blue links.  Check it out now!!

Image borrowed from Justin Briggs’ blog – in the interest of full discolosure – THANKS! 🙂

Check out that super hot spot next to the Authorship snippet for the article above.  Arguably it’s hotter than the spots above it – all because of an image and some additional information pulled from authorship markup.

Can you afford to NOT have this set up on your website? I think not.

Thoughts about Targeting in Social Media

Social Media.  HUGE buzz word – but it’s just a “thing.”  Things don’t move the needle when you’re working in online marketing – actions and activities do.

A thing isn’t a strategy.  So what do you do with this “thing” that everyone is talking about?  If you’re like most small business owners –  you have no idea what to do with it.  You’re claiming profiles, you’re putting up a photo of your logo or business, or yourself….but you’re really not even close to answering the “WIIFM.”  (That’s “What’s In It For Me.”)

This recent report by Burst Media, plus a piece of advice I’m about to impart – is going to go a long way towards helping.

First the report.  I ran across this in my Facebook feed and really, it has some pretty awesome information in it.  If you’re thinking Social Media is right for your business, the first question you need to answer is “Where?”  Where you participate is important.  If you know your customer profile – age, gender, income, profession (you should know this – and it should be in your business plan) – then you can determine the best fit for your business with the information contained within it’s pages.

The report surveyed 2700+ Americans.  Not a huge group, but enough to get some ideas about who uses what – when.  First – the data that tells us where you should be participating.  Which gender uses what platforms.  This is so important.  If you sell car parts, Pinterest is probably not your place.  Facebook and Google+ with their gear-head-specific pages and groups are going to get you so much more.

If our target market is female – with no other qualifier – most social media platforms are going to work for you.  It seems men don’t interact as frequently as women, but that doesn’t necessarily count them out, but your time is finite – and finding the biggest “bang” for your “buck” is important.

This next graphic is going to be really important as a way for you to figure out WHAT content to share.  Don’t look at the colored bars, look at the percentage numbers next to each item – that really tells the story.

Showing support for causes, and accessing coupons and offers are on the top of the list for women and men – so make sure your content ticks these boxes.

The last part you need to know is how people interact with social media.  This is moving in a huge way towards a portable or mobile device.  Tablets and smartphones are becoming more and more popular.  Your website and your social strategy need to take this into account.

Remember – this survey is taken of Americans.  Go overseas – and you’ll see a drastic change here.  Most residents of Asian countries (China, Japan, Singapore) access social media via a mobile device.  If these are your markets, you better have a mobile friendly website and shopping experience.  Check out the collections of Mobile statistics (from 2012) I grabbed from

  • 44% of Facebook’s 900 million monthly users access Facebook on their phones and are 2x as active on the network as non-mobile users. (Facebook, 2012)
  • It takes 26 hours for the average person to report a lost wallet. It takes 68 minutes for them to report a lost phone. (Unisys, 2012)
  • 70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour. 70% of online searches result in action in one month(Mobile Marketer, 2012)
  • 9 out of 10 mobile searches lead to action, over half leading to purchase(Search Engine Land, 2012)
  • 61% of local searches on a mobile phone result in a phone call. (Google, 2012)
  • 52% of all mobile ads result in a phone call. (xAd, 2012)

So now you have the who, and the where, and even the why – but let’s answer the “how.”  Here’s my piece of advice.

If you’re not into Social Media – find someone who is to do this for you.

Your audience will see your slipshod attention to your streams and engagement.  You cannot fake it.  A half effort will be seen as virtually no effort – and it will not work.

New Filter Fields in Google Analtyics

Google Analytics LogoIf you’re an intermediate to advanced user of Google Analytics, you’ve likely used Filters to manipulate data into something you can understand and work with.  One example would be the tweak I shared to demystify the black hole of Not Provided.

Earlier this week Google Analytics announced the availability of a whole herd of new filter fields.  The new fields heavily target those with high-volume mobile traffic, but don’t feel left out if that’s not your niche, there are also some interesting non-mobile options, or options that can be combined with mobile if you like.

Here’s the full list with some thoughts after the ones that stick out.

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Don’t Get Whacked Out Poo Brain – a Webinar Recap from SEOMoz and Ian Lurie

I attend a lot of webinars.  Learning, and brushing up on techniques is what keeps us good, and on the edge of what matters to clients.

The first thing I noticed about this webinar was the Title.

Click the image above or get the slides here:

“Don’t Get Whacked Out Poo Brain.” – If you’re a fan of Adventure Time – how can you stay away from that?  If you’re not, stick with it, because the context will provide the definition.  Here’s a link to the recording over at

Presented by Ian Lurie –  this webinar was crammed with ideas and gems to help marketers get organized, minimize distractions, and keep track of ideas, thoughts and creative processes for a marketing campaign.

I loved it!

I am one of those people who always has ideas and thoughts crowing their brain.  I think about marketing at the grocery store, when I’m trying to fall asleep, during movie with the kids.  What I struggle with is recording, recalling and using those ideas when it really counts.  I get distracted and interrupted and forget what I was doing, or what project I was working on.  I think, as someone who works from home most of the time, this is one of those hazards.  Home is distracting.

In short – I get “Whacked out Poo Brain” a lot.  It’s an issue that I think many of us struggle with. 

My favorite Takeaways:

  • Work in Sprints – Ian uses 45 minute  sprints and a modified version of the Pomodoro method.  I think he said they recommend 25 minute sprints, but that wasnt long enough for him to finish many tasks.  I’m going to start with 45 minutes and see how it goes.  Not many of my tasks go as fast as 25 minutes.
  • Ian loves Adventure Time – So Does my 11 year old…do with that information what you will.
  • Sweep through your tasks and priorities every morning.  Take the first 3-4 on your prioritized list and work on them in 45 minute sprints.  Revisit if you have a 5 minute break to see if you’re on track.
  • Every task should be classified as follows:Keep track of every question you ask an answer.  Keep it in a knowledge base, either private or shared, so you can cut down on interruptions with the same question, or find your answer much faster.
    • Can it be done in 3 minutes or less
    • Can/should someone else handle it?  Delegate it.
    • Will it take longer?  Create a task or a milestone and add it to your list

Tools – Check out Ian’s Tool List:

  • NOTE: This is not billable hours tracking, its YOU tracking.  Do it right away, don’t wait and try to remember what you did that day.



Three Things People Really Hate About Your (poorly) Optimized Content

Optimizing content is a process by which relevant keyword phrases are included in text on a web page.

3 Things people hate about your (poorly) optimized content

WELL optimized content is a whole other animal.  Anyone can write some text and cram some keywords into it.  Writing text that pleases users, and search engines, is an art.  Not everyone can do it, not everyone should.  I thought of some things I’ve seen recently that drive this point home.  If you cant do this for your own content, hire a professional.  You wouldn’t ask your mechanic to write your marketing plan, would you?

Here are 3 things people hate about your optimized content
  1. There’s way too much of it.  How much content do you need on a page?  Enough.
    Tell the story, tell the ABRIDGED story.  You don’t need 1,000 words on the page to rank because you read it on some website 2 years ago.  You need text, but 250 +/- words that get directly to the point will serve you, and your reader, much more efficiently.
  2. It’s hard to read.  You included no paragraphs, content breaks with bullet points, bold main ideas, or images.  It’s just text on the page.  Boring.  Sorry – people don’t read content that looks like this, and search engines know it.  Engage the eye to engage the reader.
  3. It makes no sense.  This generally comes in from 2 avenues.  First, you crammed too many keyword phrases into the page and it reads like a keyword research document.  Tell the story with words people would use to find it, don’t repeat those words in every sentence, that’s overkill and makes your content nearly impossible to read and relate to.  The second avenue comes from machine or non-native speakers.  We always recommend that content be translated into the target language by a native speaker.  Someone who understands the nuances of the language and can reform sentences so they make sense.

It’s okay to not be good at something.  It’s okay to hire someone to handle things  for you.  This is probably the topic for a whole other post.  If you need well optimized and user friendly content.  Take the time to do it right, or hire an expert to do it for you!