If you have set up your Google+ authorship markup on WordPress correctly, and tested that it’s working, you’ll be anxiously waiting to see your image appear in the search engines results pages (SERPs). In my case and also in the case of many others, there is still no sign … our search results are image free. How annoying.
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Do We Need To Be More Popular?
Bear in mind that I have no insider knowledge about Google, and whatever I say is based on my observations only. That said, it looks to me as if you need a really strong and trusted Google+ Profile before Google will start to reward you with a SERPs mugshot. You’ll have to keep writing and keep contributing to improve the strength of your Google profile by getting more people to en-circle you because of the value you offer.
Google Circles – How Many Are You In?
As of today – I am only in
177 209 Google+ circles. This isn’t enough for Google to trust my profile. I will focus on it more over the coming weeks. Look at this Google search that I just did – I typed the following phrase rel=author tags into Google.
The screenshot of the result of the search is shown below. As you can see, my article is currently at position 5 on page 1 of the Google SERPs for that term. But my image is not there. However, look at the social credentials of those whose images do show and whose articles occupy positions 1 and 2. They are in tens of thousands of circles …
The answer seems partly at least, to build a big profile on Google+. If Google wants to keep spammers out of the top positions on the search engines results pages, this approach seems likely to work. It’s not all about back-linking anymore. Backlinks were easy to fake. Authorship markup is not so easy to fake nor I assume are genuine Google+ followers.
My WordPress coaching student Penny has had more success. Please check this article for news on her Google Profile image in the SERPS.
So How Will It Affect Spammers?
Normally a spammer would scrape your article (and they may still do that), placing it on a site of their own. Imagine a website dedicated to the topic of Home Finance – containing thousands of articles automatically copied from other people’s sites.
The person who owns the scraped site would not have to do very much work at all – it could all be automated, yet they could earn regular money using say Adsense. With internal linking and generated backlinks, not to mention the sheer size of their scraped site, the spammer’s articles could outrank the same articles that they scraped from smaller sites.
If a spammer scrapes your article containing a link back to your Google+ profile, he will either scrape that too, in which case your Google+ profile will not link back to the scraped site, thereby signalling that the content was copied, or, he will exclude your Google+ profile link altogether. If he does the latter, he will not be verified as the author. However, I guess, he could still copy your article, and link it to his own Google+ profile. But then we’d all know who he was.
This brings me back to the main point of this article. Why don’t many of our images show in the SERPs?
It’s All About Trust?
If we are not yet trusted by Google, then think about how a spammer must feel. He would have to own up to having authored a large number of articles that he didn’t author in order to be get his scraped sites to rank well. The original authors of the articles would notice and after enough complaints to Google, he’d be taken out. This is probably too much work for most spammers.
As for ourselves, we have to write more, do more and get more people to approve of our work in Facebook, Twitter and on Google+. Not for the the faint-hearted, eh?
Tying all your articles up, no matter where they sit online into neat bundles that then point back to your Google profile, and having your Google profile also point back to the home page of sites you write on, creates a circle of trust around each article and your profile.
The types of backlinks you now need are those that come from places like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. The more social proof the better.
You can read other opinions on the subject here :
- A strong Google+ profile will soon be critical
- Why won’t rel author show for my site?
- The importance of authorship markup