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Rel=Author May Be SEO’s Newest Signal

18 Oct

SEOs have been chattering about authorship as a potential new ranking signal, since the HTML 5 specifications were first released in 2011. Although HTML 5 is not going to be finalized for another few years, many of the markup language’s new features are already supported by leading web browsers and in use by web and software developers.

One of the new features that HTML 5 allows for is a rel=author tag, which tells a web browser that a certain individual is the author responsible for the content on that page. This tag will put a face behind a name, showing an author’s head shot and byline when a piece of blog or web content comes up in the search results.

Authorship goes hand-in-hand with many of Google’s recent algorithm changes, all of which focus on serving up more relevant, higher quality search results. It seems as though attributing authorship using this rel=author tag will let engines like Google know that the content is authentic, high-quality and written by a real person (and not spun or ghost-written).

I can imagine searching on Google a year or so from now, and only ‘trusting’ content that appears with a real photo and byline. In a few years, I can imagine a SERP where every piece of blog content and news has a photo and byline.

If you want to get a head-start and begin integrating authorship into your blog and content marketing strategy, visit these helpful resources:

Matt Cutts video defining rel=author: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgFb6Y-UJUI

Matt Cutts video on implementing rel=author: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG3Oh7Ues8A

Linking your content to  a Google+ account: 
http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2539557

Troubleshooting rel=author implementation: 
http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1306778

A recent Pubcon talk on the new author tag: 
http://www.pubcon.com/google-author-tag

SocialMediaToday.com on the importance of authorship: 
http://socialmediatoday.com/liz-wilson/852201/content-creators-here-s-why-you-need-be-google-author

SEOMoz blog on preparing for Google author signals: 
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-to-prepare-for-authorrank-and-get-the-jump-on-google

AJ Kohn’s blog on how author tags may affect SEO: 
http://www.blindfiveyearold.com/author-rank

SocialMediaExaminer.com post all about authorship: 
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/google-author-tags/

An Eric Enge Interview with Sagar Kamdar, a group product manager for Google search: 
http://www.stonetemple.com/relauthor-defined-with-googles-sagar-kamdar/

Photo Credit: Alex Barth.

Infographics, Pandas + Bikes!

25 Jul

Panda on Bike

  • Check out the latest Student Experts blog post about marketing with infographics.
  • I am staying tuned to Twitter to find out how SEOs may have been affected by Panda 3.9. Google reportedly rolled out changes last night.
  • Finally, my bike died after 15+ years of commuting to school, work, and running errands! Now I am looking for a new commuter bike and considering Jamis, Specialized or Torker bikes.

Photo credit: jimw

7 Helpful Penguin Update Links

17 May

Have you been hearing a lot about Google’s Penguin algorithm update? From what I’ve been reading, Penguin sounds like a game-changer.

This update shows that Google is ready to be aggressive about black-hat SEO tactics in order to change the industry best practices.

To learn more about Penguin, check out these  informative articles and videos below:

An Overview of Penguin

http://searchengineland.com/google-launches-update-targeting-webspam-in-search-results-119295

A Post About Penguin’s Most Recent Effects

http://searchengineland.com/google-talks-penguin-update-recover-negative-seo-120463

Google’s Quality Guidelines (a roadmap for anyone doing SEO or online marketing)

http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769#3

How a WordPess Plugin Site Got Hit by Penguin

http://www.webpronews.com/should-the-google-penguin-update-hit-sites-like-wpmu-org-2012-05

How Penguin Treats Duplicate Content

http://www.webpronews.com/google-penguin-update-dont-forget-about-duplicate-content-2012-05

Better Link-building Under Penguin

http://www.webpronews.com/recover-from-google-penguin-update-get-better-at-links-2012-04

Great Video of Penguin’s Effects on SEO Industry

https://plus.google.com/u/1/112544075040456048636/posts/hHaXg8Rs5Lf

Please share any related Penguin articles, videos or news in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Newtown grafitti

4 Quick Writing Tips to Improve Your Quality and Speed

20 Mar

ImageWhether you are working on a blog, business plan, or website copy, you may find the experience of writing alternately inspiring and frustrating.

Why is writing so exhilarating and yet so challenging?  It’s because you can always become a better writer.

Even the most seasoned writers must turn on their inner editors and practice self-criticism to train their prose into a publishable form.  So how can you improve the quality of your writing? Here are some of my personal writing tips below:

1. Outline First
Good writing will lead the reader through a logical structure. Before you dive into writing, think about the high-level structure of what you need to communicate.  Outline the key paragraphs and for each paragraph list the ideas, research, or arguments you are going to mention in each paragraph.  A thoughtful outline ensures that the writing to follow will be logical and coherent.

2. Let It Fly
When you begin to write, it’s tempting to strive for perfection with every word you type. Yet getting bogged down at the sentence level right away is actually counter-productive. Consider your first pass at any writing project as a free-write. Focus on getting your ideas down. After you have completed a paragraph or two, then go back and check that what you wrote relates back to your outline. Save word choice, grammar and sentence structure editing for the end of your process.

3. Don’t Abuse $10 Dollar Words
Eschew obfuscation is a favorite tongue-in-cheek idiom among editors for a reason. Writers commonly make the mistake of sprinkling their writing with multi-syllabic vocabulary words in an effort to sound more intelligent or authoritative. The problem is, most readers will have last seen these words when they were 16 and studying for the verbal portion of the SAT. When you edit your own writing, keep an eye out for complicated language and phrasing and always try to find the most direct path to your meaning.

4. Vary Your Style
Every writer has crutches in terms of word choice and sentence structure.  Take note of the phrases and words that you tend to repeat. While editing, look at the grammatical construction of each sentence, including how it starts. See  if you repeat that same type of sentence throughout your work.  Embed a Thesaurus search widget on your desktop or in your web browser so that you can more easily vary repeated words throughout your writing.

What’s your biggest writing challenge? Please share any of your own writing struggles and tips in the comments below!

Photo via stevendepolo.