Google+ is relatively new when compared with other social media giants but in just a matter of two year, it has emerged as a social media force to reckon with that will give Facebook and Twitter a run for the money. According to GlobalWebIndex, the number of netizens using Google+ has ballooned to more than 350 million users – all active – and continues to grow more in the coming periods and is estimated to surpass social media giant Facebook by the year 2016 according to the graph below by SearchMetrics.
Official statistics released by Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President for Google+ indicate very interesting facts and figures about this social channel including an even higher number of 540 million signed users. More than a billion and a half photos are uploaded at Google+ photos each week from the more than 300 million active users present in the Google+ Stream.
Now the buzz is going stronger and stronger about Google+ Authorship and Author Rank. You might have noticed pictures of people appearing in your search results. This is Google Authorship and is basically a way for this search engine to reward and distinguish people who make really good content that online users read. It should not be confused however with Author Rank, which is basically a new element in Google’s Search Algorithm that is reputed to influence how websites will be ranked in the very near future.
Digital Marketing Philippines has earlier reported the importance of these two elements that will influence search engine and content marketing in the future. The following facts and figures are presented about Authorship and Author Rank to set you in the right path and prepare you for what lies ahead in the digital marketplace.
The infographic (click to zoom):
Google Authorship Statistics
Google+ Authorship allows content creators to link what they have written and produced in their web pages to their Google+ profile. The rel=”author” markup is required for this to happen and we’ll discuss how you can set this up in further details on our next installations. In the meantime, amaze yourself at these facts and figures that will show how Authorship will affect and change search and content marketing as we know it.
- Higher Click Through Rates
One of the tangible benefits online users can get from Google Authorship is higher click through rates, which according to estimates can reach as high as 150% based on results of tests conducted by Catalyst Search Marketing as shown in the graph below. What the study show is that rich snippets from Authorship can really affect search results, a fact that every business owner and digital marketers should take careful note of.
In another experiment, this time from SEO Body Builder, just implementing Google Authorship with their website and including the rel=author tag in all posts increased click through rates by an amazing 38%. The study reported that there was an average of 39.14 unique visitors per week within the 7-week period before the experiment began, which eventually jump to 63 unique visitors or 38% right after the rel=author tag was integrated.
- Brand Usage
According to Search Engine Watch, many brands belonging to Fortune 100 companies already have a Google+ profile, but only 36 percent are actively putting in content for publication and 3.5% are already actively using Google+ Authorship for content marketing and have included the rel=author markup with their content. It is expected that large companies that belong in these listings move slowly in social media matters particularly if these companies still rely largely on traditional marketing channels.
- Top Tech Website Usage
While the figures are still low on Google+ Authorship with Fortune 100 companies, tech sites are showing higher usage figures with up to 52% using Google+ Authorship more actively than others. More popular tech websites like Wired, Edgadget, The Next Web and TechCrunch make used of Google+ Authorship and are including markups in their content. As more and more content creators realize the importance of Google+ Authorship and how it will eventually influence Author Rank and eventually your search rankings.
- Tech Writer Usage
While Google+ Authorship usage with tech-oriented blogs and websites are more than halfway through 100% usage mark, higher percentages are being realized among the top 500 tech writers. The study from Search Engine Watch indicated that Google+ has increased visibility for monitored web pages in the SERP results.
This fact is a main factor why 87% of the top 500 tech writers already have a Google+ account, with 74% of these registered users actively establishing and using their Google+ Authorship together with their content that includes some from the most widely read digital marketing websites online.
These figures indicate how these quality content creators see the importance of tying their well-read content to their Google+ profiles, which is what Authorship is all about. This is also an indication on how they value the importance of Google+ Authorship in affecting natural search visibility – and eventually search results.
- News Publications Usage
Content from some of the major news publications in the United States are undoubtedly some of the most well-read articles and materials by online users from around the world. The study from Search Engine Watch indicates that these major content networks are slowly realizing the importance of tying their Google+ profiles with their content, with 20% already integrated the authorship markup with what they are publishing. This includes major news networks like The New York Times, Time.com, the Boston Globe, The Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Times among others.
Google+ Author Rank Statistics
Alongside Google+ Authorship is another buzzword called Author Rank that is making headway across the entire online sphere and is purported to be a very significant factor that will affect how search engines will rank websites in the very near future. So as not to confuse you between what Author Rank and Authorship is, the latter is deliberately linking your content to your Google+ profile by tagging your materials with the rel=author markup.
Author rank, as explained earlier, refers to the new search engine algorithm element that will affect search rankings. To give you a better understanding of what Author Rank is, the following facts and figures will show you what possibly be, or has already began, to be the next big determining factor on how your website will matter in search results.
- Agent Rank and How Author Rank Began
It all began in 2005 when Google filed the “Agent Rank” patent in the search engine giant’s bid to put more importance on how online readers receive and interact with the content these creators are making as a major factor to how the search engine will rank them in search results.
Basically what this patent means is that content creators and authors, or what the patent indicated as “agents”, with high reputational scores will be promoted more and will appear higher in search results over authors with less reputation and readership among other factors. However, search algorithms could not really measure how relevant or authoritative content is and would need how online users interact with each other through this content. This is why Agent Rank remained just an idea since its filing on August of 2005 – until Google+ was established.
September 2011 was another milestone in this story when Google filed another patent that serves as a continuation to this original Agent Rank patent. What it intends is to flesh out the spammers from the real quality content creators and Google+ Authorship is the vehicle that will make this happen. Based on Google’s own official announcement:
“We know that great content comes from great authors, and we’re looking closely at ways this markup could help us highlight authors and rank search results.”
- Google Queries Include Author Verification in Search Results
With Google indexing billions of web pages each year, the growing importance towards authorship is slowly taking shape, with about 17 percent of all queries in the search engine returning search results with at least a single occurrence of the rel=author verification included in the first 100 items in the list. The study that affirms this was conducted by SearchMetrics, where they analyzed over one million keywords of various mixes, with 170,000 instances displaying the rel=author markup within the first ten search results pages for a particular keyword.
- Factors that Affect Author Rank
Moz.com presented a very interesting take on the factors that will affect Author Rank. There are practically more than 200 factors that influence how Google will rank a particular site in search results, which will eventually include metrics that will define Author rank as shown below:
- How Marketers will Use Google Authorship and Author Rank
SEO as we know it is again evolving too fast, now that Google+ Authorship and Author Rank is garnering focus and increased attention. Digital marketers are realizing this and according to the survey conducted by CopyPress, up to 65% of digital marketers are definitely considering Author Rank and Authorship as part of their content marketing strategy.
- Getting Started on Author Rank
Now that you have an initial taste of what Author Rank can do to influence search results, it is high time that you start considering how you can get started in author rank. While not going into further details at this point, the following summary can get you started on Author Rank and build your authority as a quality content provider.
- Set up your Google Authorship so you can be assigned with your initial Author Rank
- Get actively involved in your Google+ profile, engaging with other users in more activities as much as possible
- Produce great content – that’s all there is to it!
2014 is a year when search engines will evolve anew, now that Authorship and Author Rank are fast becoming major factors for ranking considerations. Still, it all boils down to one major thing which remains constant no matter how often search engines like Google change their algorithms and how your pages will be ranked and classified – and that it’s to provide quality, relevant and information content that your targeted audiences will read and love.
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