Happy Halloween! If you were up late watching all the Disney/Nick/ABC Family Halloween favorites (Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown (and all its sequels – too many to list here!), etc) like I was, then you’re probably groggy on this mischievous Halloween Monday. So we’ll get straight down to business and make it short and sweet: Last week, Google announced that it has altered not only how you can implement the rel=author function, but also how the rel=author markup shows up in search results to integrate into the search results more than just your Google + profile picture.
How to Use Your Email to Activate Rel=Author
As you likely know, in an effort to find a way to identify the “authoritative” nature of content across the internet, Google produced the rel=author markup back in July. The original way to implement this markup was to connect your content on the web with your Google + profile, and implement some code on your site (which generally worked better and more efficiently with “author pages”). Now, however, Google has introduced a much easier way to implement this markup: with your email address (so long as it corresponds to the place where you publish your authoritative content). Here’s how you do it:
As always, make sure that your picture on your Google + profile is a high-quality head shot. Then, edit your Google + profile: Go to the “Work” Section, Choose email from the Drop Down, put in your email address, change the visibility of this section of your profile in the drop down menu to “Everyone on the web,” and click Save. Then, be “Done Editing.”
Next, Find the section you have just edited, and click “Verify” next to your email address. Finally, go to your email inbox, and click the link sent to you by Google. That should verify your email address and you’re done!
The New Look of the Rel=Author
So, why does the title of this blog note that rel=author gets the Google + treatment? Because the way to implement this markup is not the only thing that changed last week. It has a new look in the search results as well that better integrates the information you provide in your Google + profile. Information about the author’s activity and popularity on Google + is included in the search results now.
Let’s take a look at a little before and after action, shall we?
Matt Cutts’s authorship markup before.
Matt Cutts’s authorship markup now, with new changes implemented. In addition to information about Cutts, we now can see how many Google + circles he is in and how many people responded/+1’d his article.
The Major Changes
Though you may have already noticed them, here’s a rundown of the major changes made to the rel=author markup information found in search results.
– You can now see, in search results, not only the author’s name and picture, but also how many people are following him or her on Google + (and therefore, you can note his or her authoritativeness). You can also now add that author to your own circles via these search results.
– If a certain article comes up, and you’re viewing the author’s search results for that particular subject matter, you’ll also see how many people commented on the article and also be able to click on a link that will allow you to view them. (Since we simply Googled Matt Cutts and not a subject matter he wrote on, comments didn’t come up because the results weren’t for a particular article).
Here’s the example screen shot Google provides of Danny Sullivan (of Search Engine Land) – you can see this one includes the comments feature:
Notice that you can view how many people commented on Danny Sullivan’s article that he posted on his Google + stream. You can also click the Google + post link to view these comments.
All in all, the improvements to this markup underscore the ever-growing importance of Google + to search results and relevant content.
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