Google Authorship and the Evolution of Link Building

For years and years, the SEO community has been manipulating backlinks to their advantage. As a result, Google has issues trusting links and SEOs. To remedy the situation, Google has introduced a new feature known as Authorship.

The Authorship markup is a tag that verifies an author of a web page. It allows authors’ Google+ names and profile pictures to be displayed next to their articles in search results. This is great news because Google can now verify who an article’s original author is and prevent people from scraping that content. The Authorship markup also helps authors grow their following on Google+. Additionally, search results with a verified author have a higher click-through rate because they are seen as more trustworthy than anonymous results with no name or picture.

What Google Authorship Means for Link-Building

Back in the day, Google used to treat all links as being equal. But when SEOs started to manipulate the link graph through over-optimization, Google had to scrutinize links to determine which links were trustworthy and which links were not. There are a wide range of signals that Google uses to measure how trustworthy a link is. For example, reciprocal links and footer links aren’t as valuable as they used to be. Furthermore, links aren’t as important a ranking factor as they once were because of the rising significance of social signals.

Social signals are powerful because they say a lot about the trust, timeliness, and popularity of a website. But links still matter and link-building isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Google introduced Authorship in order to improve the quality of links and verify that they’re trustworthy. If Google can verify who the author of a link is, they place far more trust in that link because links with authors tend to be of higher quality. After all, few humans would be willing to claim authorship of spammy links.

Google weighs authored links differently, depending on the Author Rank of the link’s author. The more well-known an author, the more authority his/her links will have. Even if you’re not a well-known author, your links will still carry more weight than the links of an anonymous person.

How to take Advantage of Google’s Authorship Markup

The first step is to start using the Authorship markup, so you become more trustworthy in the eyes of Google. And when it comes to link-building, try focusing on who you’re getting links from, not where. Google Authorship offers a gold mine of information. You can determine who an author is and how popular he is on the social web. This will assist you tremendously in your link-building and relationship-building efforts because you can aim to connect with people who have relevant websites and social media clout.

The Authorship markup is still very new, and its importance is likely to increase over time. Although some SEOs may try to create fake Google+ profiles so that they can use the Authorship markup on spammy sites, this tactic won’t be sustainable in the long run because it will be next to impossible to maintain multiple fake Google+ profiles and grow their followings. To achieve long-term success, webmasters will have to focus on building authority websites with true social media clout.

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