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 ViralBlog.com

  • 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.

6 Tips for Building a Brand-Focused Community

Everyone has heard that Field of Dreams quote being tossed around the marketing world.  You know the one “If you build it, they will come.”  That might work for ghostly baseball players, but for websites and online brands, we know that is most certainly NOT the case.

6 Tips for Building a Strong Brand-focused Community

You may be able to achieve some nice rankings through basic SEO, drive some decent traffic with a PPC budget, but what if that’s just not enough?  More and more Continue reading

Philanthropy and Online Business – Tips for Success

There’s that little piece of all of us that strives to be a better human being.  Some act on that piece, some don’t.  No judgement here, I have a lot of thoughts that I don’t act on – arguably those thoughts shouldn’t be acted upon, but when it comes to philanthropy and online business, getting started and finding the right fit can be tough.

The idea of a business donating proceeds to a charity has been around since marketing began.  There has always been motive behind these donations – the word Continue reading

Google+ Communities offer Help, Opportunity

Still in their infancy, Google+ Communities are growing quickly.  First available in early December 2012, they’re quickly becoming an asset to any service, product or idea provider.

Don’t get me wrong, they can be horribly spammy.  I have participated in a few communities.  One of my favorites is a Food Photography community that has helped me learn how to take better pictures with my DSLR in a very short amount of time. Continue reading

Making Your Brand Attractive by Using a Consistent Message

I received an email in my in box recently that made me cringe.  Then it made me think.

 

As an agency that concentrates on SEO and PPC – seeing an email like this makes us scoff.  It’s a bit scary –  Then we had a discussion around the flip side of discounting that went something like, “You know, if that email had said ’80% off shoes’ you’d have had a very different reaction.”

When does a discount SUPPORT a brand, and when does it hinder it?  Certain things in life many of us strive to get at a discount.  There are many other things that seem inferior if we’ve purchased them at a discount.  Why does the saying, Continue reading

Pubcon Day 3 – Community Building

Last session of the conference for this sore-wristed typist.  I’m excited to hear from Gillian Muessig.  I spoke on a panel with her quite a few years ago and she is really one of the most gracious and supportive people I’ve met.

First up is the SEOMom, Gillian Muessig, Founding President Emeritus, SEOMoz.org

Gillian is sharing photos of clusters, talking about clusters progressing into communities.  Are the clusters, communities?  No – they’ve a similar thought group, etc. Continue reading

Pubcon Day 3 – Engaging Your Community and Audience Through Contests

Looks like a panelist didnt show up….that’s too bad…..and bad form…..in my opinion….. :)

First we’ll hear from Matt Craine - Owner and PresidentMattCraine.com, who met & proposed to his wife at past pubcons…awwwww.

To make contests relevant and successful you need to have a prize of significance, prizes of relevance, don’t give away someone else’s product, Push the promotion.

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Pubcon Day 2 – Integrating Social Media Into an Overall Marketing Plan

Warren Whitlock, Digital Business Strategist, Carbon Digits, Moderator

Warren starts out asking a few audience questions surrounding in-house vs agency and who creates the cotnent within your organization.

First up is Kirsten Wright, Social Media & PR Manager, MagnaFlow.  She’s been working in the industry for 6-years.  Her business sells auto exhaust products. Going to talk about Continue reading

Pubcon Day 2 – Social Media Optimization and Conversion on Facebook

Alison Zarella, AlisonZarella.com, Moderator - and wear-er of awesome shoes……

First up is Kevin Scholl, who is the Social Media Manager at Red Roof Inns

How to turn your community ….. Something I totally missed the first slide, it went by at light speed.  You need to determine if you’re building the right audience.  Building a community isn’t just digital.

Build community for your brand advocates.  Needed to figure out how to get folks into the community before you focused on converting them.  They promoted, partnered and participated.  Content engages your audience.

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