By now, you’ve experienced personal search results through Google Search Plus Your World (SPYW). But if you’re an SEO, blogger, or content creator have you considered how the connection between SPYW, Google+, the rel=“author” tag, and now AuthorRank could be the most coordinated SEO scam ever developed, and it’s all backed and blessed by Google?
Why I'm asking if Google is running an SEO scam:
The way that Google now instantly indexes and gives page 1 placement in the SERPs to content creators like me, who have no authority and a thin link graph, would have been described by Google’s Matt Cutts as an SEO scam just a few months ago.
Google has given the content from my blog, which has no authority, prime SERP real estate and I believe it's happening simply because I'm playing the Google+ and AuthorRank game.
Page 1 ranking for a keyword that gets 74,000 searches a month
Recently, six different people told me I’m ranking on page 1 for the keyword, Klout, which gets 74,000 searches a month. I figured that happened because those six people publicly shared on Google+ my post about getting a followed link from Klout.
Not so. This screenshot was sent to me by a Facebook friend, who I am not connected with on Google+ and who never shared a link to my post on their Google+ account:
The problem I have with this is that it’s unlikely the intent of most users is to find information on getting a followed link from Klout. And I haven’t even earned the right to rank on page 1 for this keyword. Before rel=”author”, Google+, and SPYW, Google would never reward a post on my month-old blog with a page 1 ranking.
Let's look at the action steps I took to get rewarded by Google with this kind of SERP real estate and how you can do the same – please only do this if you intend to create content that is relevant and will truly improve the experience of those using Google as a means of finding information from trusted sources.
How to follow Google’s 4-step process to build AuthorRank with Google
First, read this post from the Google Webmaster Tools help page (emphasis is mine):
"If you’ve created a Google+ page, we strongly recommend linking from that page to your website and vice versa. Linking your Google+ page and your site like this not only helps you build relationships with friends and followers, but also gives Google information we can use to determine the relevancy of your site to a user query in Google Web Search." Source
My interpretation: get a Google+ account – link it to your blog and link your blog to it – share your content publicly on Google+ because we’re using all of this stuff as ranking factors, sucka. Now does it make more sense why Google stopped playing Double Dutch with Twitter a few months before they launched Google+ and SPYW?
Step 1 | Use the rel=“author” tag
Using the rel=“author” tag is the first step in the process to give your content VIP treatment by Google in the SERPs. Here’s a look at how I’ve got rel=“author” set up on this blog:
If rel="author" is new to you read this excellent post by Mark Traphagen about setting up author verification using the rel=“author” tag and Google+.
Step 2 | Link Google+ to your blog
On your Google+ account click the blue ‘edit profile’ button, click the ‘Contributor to’ section, add your custom link, select ‘public’, and hit the save button. When done properly this is what it looks like:
Step 3 | Link your blog to Google+
On my About page I have a link to my Google+ account and I’m simply using ‘Google+’ as the anchor text. But, to be sure that Google gives me author authority and VIP treatment in the SERPs, I have a link to my Google+ profile in the author bio section that appears on every single post I write:
Step 4 | Check your work | Share your content publicly on Google+
You should use Google’s Rich Snippets tool to be sure you’ve done steps 1 to 3 properly. It should look like this:
The final step here is to share all of your content publicly on Google+. When you do, be sure to write a click-worthy headline on Google+.
This is not a license to spam the internet with content that lacks substance and value
So those are all of the steps I took that apparently worked to get my content instantly indexed and on page 1 of the SERPs despite the fact my blog has no authority, just a handful of +1s and Google+ shares, and a thin link graph.
Does Google want to become the largest and most powerful SEO agency in the world, without actually selling any SEO services, but by forcing bloggers and content creators to play their game? I don’t really know, I’m not into conspiracy theory stuff but I have to ask because it’s worth considering.
Lastly – because Google is giving VIP treatment in the SERPs and is rewarding content creators who follow the system with valuable SERP real estate means it’s up to you and me to be even more intentional with the content we publish.
I’m no expert on this stuff, just telling the story the way I understand it, but if you think I'm wrong or have a misguided view of what's happening with Google+ and AuthorRank I welcome your comments.