Have you ever read a blog and wondered: who is the person on the other side of the computer screen? Who is creating the content from which you are learning? Well, Google has come up with a new way for you get to know your favorite bloggers.
With all of the hype surrounding Google +, something very important has been happening under our noses. With Google being all about trust and authority, it should be no surprise that the search engine has come up with a way for bloggers to put their faces to their names. This way, those who read blogs can see the picture of the person who is writing it, which undoubtedly instills a sense of confidence in what is being written and read. This also allows the blogger to show that he or she is proud of what is being written and considers himself (or herself) to be an authority in the area about which he or she blogs. Maybe one day, the presence of a photo will determine how high one’s blog ranks in the SERPs.
We’re talking about the “rel=author” markup allowing for pictures of blog authors to show up in organic search:
Rel=author places a photo of Google’s Matt Cutts to the right of the organic search results. As a reader, I’m going to see his face and instantly feel a little bit more trusting, because by putting himself out there he indicates that he has nothing (or at least, very little!) to hide. Since rel=author is voluntary, it will provide exposure for those who want it and likely not be used by those who don’t.
Not only does this help bloggers gain more exposure and be discoverable on Google, but it also validates their content a bit. By highlighting authors, Google signals where there is truly high-quality content just waiting to be read. The new capabilities provided by rel=author allow people to see the face of the blogger whose content they are reading, perhaps even learn a little more about them and then reach out to them through Google +. The integration of the new social network and blogger search results holds huge promise as Google + develops.
Google promotes this new feature as a way to encourage the creation of good, useful and relevant content. To implement the rel=author, there is a complex set of steps you must follow, which you can find here.
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PS: Has anyone else noticed the new “Recommend this place” function on Facebook? Sounds like a +1 type thing to me…