Working in the world of digital marketing, I read a lot of blogs every day. When I login to my email every morning I find my inbox full of new articles. All sorts of blogs are talking about everything and anything to do with digital marketing and beyond.
One thing I know is that Google+ is still a hot topic.
Those of us who advocate this social platform talk about it as the future of social media and content marketing. We discuss the benefits of using it for business, about claiming authorship markup and publisher markup and how it has a great impact on search rankings and click through rates.
Then there are the sceptics who say it’s boring. Some say it’s a bad version of Facebook. Others say it’s not user friendly and it’s just another tool created by Google in its quest to monopolise all things internet related.
What is Google+ about?
Most people in the digital marketing industry agree that Google+ has become an essential part of social media marketing. But it still surprises me when I speak to people (in my industry) who are still not using Google+, still not sure what it’s all about. Many see it as not being a useful marketing tool for their business.
What is eye opening is when I research things in the digital industry I am presented with a Google SERP (search engine result page) in which only a handful of results have a Google+ cover photo next to it! If we’re in the digital industry, and blogging extensively, aren’t we all supposed to be using Google+ and claiming authorship?
Why Google+ authorship is important
Surely, we all know what Authorship Markup is by now? Could it be that many blog authors dismiss it as not important or not relevant? It’s not exactly a lengthy process to claim authorship, but perhaps many bloggers are not active on Google+? There could be numerous reasons why adoption rates appear low, but to me it’s a no brainer. So why aren’t more bloggers claiming ownership of their content?
If you’re doing it right then you should see the following.
- An increase in search rankings
- Improvement in CTR (click through rate)
- More people with access to your other work
So why wouldn’t you adopt this practice?
Judging from what I’ve read, Google is planning to develop this further and elaborate on author rank, where influential authors appear higher in SERPs, even if their post is published on a lower ranking website. All this seems very exciting. So the earlier we start claiming authorship and using Google+ to establish a reputation, the sooner we will reap the benefits.
The war against spam
It’s not just about rankings and CTR, we’re also talking about waging a war against SPAM and plagiarism by claiming our original content as our own. So, unless you’re a spammer or tend to steal content from all over the web, I really don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be claiming authorship.
I had a gut feeling that authorship markup was still not as widely used as it should be.
I knew I wasn’t the first person to ask this question, so I decided to do a little research and see if I was right. I took a list of some keyword phrases popular amongst the digital marketing industry and typed each one up in Google search.
I made sure I wasn’t logged into any Google account and changed my settings to show 100 results per page. And then I counted, out of those 100 results, how many had a Google+ profile attached to it. It sounds simple, and it is, but it serves the purpose of answering the question.
And here’s what I found:
I started by searching for search marketing related queries such as “tips for improving traffic to your site” or “on site optimisation best practice”. I knew full well that most of the results would lead to blog articles written by “industry experts”. You can clearly see that results varied but the ones at the bottom of the scale were definitely surprising.
- Only 10% of results for “online advertising how to” had claimed authorship.
- 32% of results were for blog articles with a clear author.
- On the other end of the scale “Recovering from a Google penalty” resulted in 46% of results with claimed authorship (which seemed amazing to me).
- 86% of the results shown in the SERP were blog articles so, actually the numbers weren’t that great.
Although the numbers were actually much higher than initially expected, I wasn’t blown away. Actually, the further in I delved the more I started to notice a repetition in the profiles that were showing up. I kept seeing the same profile photos again and again.
Do we really only have a handful of “industry experts” in this field?
Let’s try another area of digital.
When searching for “Google+ marketing strategy”, I discovered the following.
- 42% of results had an author profile which sounds great, but 78% of results were for blog articles. My thoughts on that one are; if you’re writing about Google+ for marketing then I expect you to practice what you preach and claim authorship! In this case, the result was disappointing.
- On the lower end of the scale “examples of successful social media campaigns” generated 25% results with authorship but 71% of results were blog articles. This was much lower than expected.
Even more research
We all know and have heard about how great G+ authorship is for content marketing strategies right? I’m sure all bloggers out there writing about content marketing are claiming authorship.The last search query was my last ditch attempt to try to get some high figures.
If you write an article about “how to add authorship markup” and you haven’t done so yourself… there’s a real problem!
So this is what I found.
- 64% of results showed a G+ picture
- 74% of the results led to a blog
Phew!… Not so bad then.
What does this reveal?
So what do these numbers tell us? A few months ago these figures would have been a lot lower, and I’m sure in a few months they’ll be a lot higher… it’s difficult to form an opinion based on just one study. I’m sure if you search these queries today you’ll get different results but to me they all appear quite low.
I found myself looking at the same profile pictures again and again no matter what I searched for, so although the percentage of total results maybe be average, it’s a lot of the same authors- which perhaps gives us an indication of just how important claiming authorship actually is. Would those results have been in the top 100 so often if they hadn’t claimed authorship?
Authorship has been around since 2011 and I’m noticing that it’s still not a ‘huge’ thing across the industry. Could it be that many authors aren’t using Google+? Or they don’t believe in the power of claiming authorship? Or they don’t see it as a long term solution? I certainly find this aspect of digital marketing fascinating,
I’m looking forward to seeing what Google+ will throw at us next, if it minimises SPAM and plagiarism then I’m all for it!
What are your thoughts?
Have you heard of authorship markup? Have you claimed authorship for your blog yet? I find this a really valuable tool but I’m sure many out there disagree, what are your thoughts and experiences?
Guest author: Joana Ferreira from Fastwebmedia.com