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.

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!

You Don’t Have to Spend A Lot To Make More Money From Your Website

Sometimes very small businesses must rely on what they can do for themselves to keep their online marketing efforts fresh.  There has never been any argument that small budgets sometimes prohibit small businesses from getting agency help. That’s okay.  If you do your due diligence and are careful, there’s no reason you cannot help your online presence, and revenue from your presence, by rolling up your sleeves and doing some of the work yourself.

I found some resources that will definitely help you out.  Some of these resources might list “comment on blogs” or “submit information to blogs” or anything that says “Link Exchange” as a tactic – PLEASE DO NOT DO THAT!  It’s not valid – but I didn’t want to disqualify 90% good advice for 10% nonsense.

I wrote an article in 2007 called “30 Free Ways to Market Your Small Business Site” over at SearchEngineWatch.com.  I updated that post last year and it’s one of the most popular pieces I’ve written to date.  There are 30 actionable things you can do, all by yourself, to promote your small website.

This article by PCmag.com from 2009 has some good ideas.  I like the tips on keeping slow employees and downtime for marketing.  Your customer service staff is your front line, and they can write content or answer questions online because they know exactly what the people that call are asking.  Use them!  Also checking out what the competition is doing is great – just don’t chase them.

TEST your pages!  If you don’t have analytics, install Google Analytics on your website.  If you don’t look at any report on a regular basis, just being able to use their Content Experiments features is worth the time to install.  Testing new ideas for landing pages is a great way to increase revenue without spending a ton of money in advance.  Simply changing the color of your “Buy Now” button can have a big effect.  Making it easier for visitors to buy from you is also a great way to increase revenue.  Check out these Tips for Optimizing Your Site for the Sale.

Perhaps one of the best pieces of advice I found was in this National Federation of Independent Businesses article.  “Get Out The Door.”  If you operate online, your world becomes this 5 square foot cocoon around your desk.  Even if you do not have a brick and mortar business – networking and meeting people in your community or niche is so important.  You can find clients, partners, innovative thinkers, and people with problems your business can solve.  It’s a great way to keep your brain from going stagnant.

Bottom line? Get creative!  Think about all of the things you can do to help yourself and make a list, cross things off as you get them done.  Add new ideas.  Buy a nice Moleskine notebook that you can keep your great thoughts in and journal your way to a better online marketing strategy!

If You Don’t Write Better Optimized Content Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

Sometimes, as a writer, echoes of my mother resonate through my head.

“Do it right the first time”

As a kid, I hated hearing that, I just wanted things done FAST, and quality?  Well I didn’t really care about it.  As an adult, I’ve come to respect the saying, and although I’ll never admit it to her, mom was right.

SEO Copywriting - Do it right the first time

When you write content for the web, there’s the fast way, and the right way – and the two meet somewhere in the middle for most.  If you’re not worried about Continue reading

Keeping Track of the Long Tail

The long tail. It’s a term that has been used for a long time in the online marketing industry to define the keywords that live in a low search volume/high relevancy & conversion rate realm.

Many online marketers realize that the long tail is where the ROI lies when it comes to search engine optimization.  Many of these terms require little to no effort for ranking, but return a nice revenue stream.  Generally these are the longer 4-6 word keyword phrases that describe your product or service very specifically – and convert much higher than less relevant/more competitive phrases.

Seeing how the long tail is doing has become easier with the invent of Google Analtyics dashboards.  Now you can simply see the phrases and the revenue they generate with a single click.

Here’s the link to the dashboard – just click here and choose which Analytics profile you’d like it installed to.  You’ll be able to see the phrases and their corresponding visits and revenue.  A valuable tool for evaluating which keywords are truly important to your SEO.  You could add to this dashboard and include 1 and 2 word phrases very easily!

Playing around with custom filters and dashboards in Google Analytics can offer great insights into how your website is performing.  Check out the new Google Analytics Solutions Gallery to find more custom reports, filters and dashboards designed to give you deeper vision into your data!

Pubcon Day 1 – Social Signals in Search

Eric Enge, President, StoneTemple Consulting 

Co-Author of “The Art of SEO” with Stephan Spencer

Going through different types of sharing, Google+, Twitter, Instagram

What do search engines see – a lot based on crawl, some based on the fact that its done on a Google property.  Bing sees a lot of Facebook data.  Like is a hard thing to use, does someone like the person, the content, the design, the picture?

Weighing votes is tricky, how do you establish authority and use authority to weigh the relevancy and trust behind the vote.

Consider the effort of creating the signal – like is much easier than sharing something.  Links represent the highest level of effort because you have to edit the page.  As long as the link sits there your endorsement is committed.

Continue reading

SMX East New York – Day 3

Missed my coverage of Day 1 & Day 2 – read those first!

The third and final day of SMX kicked off with a session Moderated by KeyRelevance’s own Christine Churchill.  Beyond The Google AdWords Tool: Advanced Keyword Research Tactics covered ways to find keywords that don’t appear in the AdWords free tool.

My wifi was down for most of this session (seriously -how do we function without wifi at these things?  We don’t) but I did capture a few interesting tidbits at the end from Shawn Livengood (@slivengood) and Suren Ter-Saakov  (@seoquaketeam) He shared some great pieces of info centered around Continue reading

SMX East New York Recap – Day 2

Have you read my Day 1 Coverage of SMX East?  Check it out first, then come ready Day 2 Coverage followed by Day 3 Coverage!

Day 2 of SMX saw me speaking on a panel and Q&A Moderating another, it was a busy day and a HUGE amount of Microdata and Markup information was shared.

If you have access to the slides, you should take a look.  If you don’t have access to all of them, take a look at my slides via Slideshare.

I spoke on the Schema 101 – Why the new metadata matters panel – check out all of the tweets from my session - Continue reading

SMX East New York Recap Day 1

The KeyRelevance team recently returned from SMX East in New York City full of enthusiasm and ideas for moving into this next phase of online marketing.

Don’t forget to check out Day 2 and Day 3 coverage when you’re done here!

There was a ton of information shared on Microdata, SEO, Mobile Marketing and more – I thought I’d do a recap of the high points I found, or saw tweeted, while I was there, along with a little analysis and speculation about what it means to you, the marketer or website owner who is Continue reading