I spoke last week to a group of writers and when I asked them what social media network was the most important to writers, they universally agreed on Facebook. But of course it isn’t – it’s Google+, thanks to Google’s continued focus on Author Rank.
Matt Cutts (chief battler of web spam at Google) spoke recently about Google Authorship (remember? the whole “rel=author” Author Rank thing? If not, here’s a refresher) shared about the plans for Author Rank and the end of the anonymous internet (Matt’s video is below).
“I’m pretty excited about the ideas behind rel=author. Basically, if you can move from an anonymous web to a web where you have some notion of identity and maybe even reputation of individual authors, then web spam…you kind of get a lot of benefits for free. It’s harder for the spammers to hide over here in some anonymous corner. Now, I continue to support anonymous speech and anonymity, but at the same time, you know, if Danny Sullivan writes something on a forum or something like that, I’d like to know about that, even if the forum itself doesn’t have that much page rank. … The philosophy of Google has been to move away from keywords, from strings, towards things.”
An important element of Author Rank is the increase of the appearance of “rich snippets” on search results. This is the bit of data that appears underneath a search result and provides additional info. This great article breaks down the explanation and point of rich snippets rather well, and here is the authors definition.
Great content is the backbone of great SEO. But great content needs to be appreciated by search engines, not just humans. If your content is text-based, search engines can’t ‘read’ it, they can only match it to search queries. Luckily, there are things you can do to make your content just as readable and fun for users, but actually mean something for search engines. Those things are called ‘rich snippets’ and here’s how they work.
Rich snippets help search engines extract meaning from words that humans can understand straight away.
If you need a refresher on how to set up author rank, you’ll find it here. I’m working on a tutorial about rich snippets that should be here soon!