When it comes to figuring out which search result you want to click on, chances are, you gravitate toward the first three links. These days, however, Google and Microsoft are also adding more social signals to their search results pages to give their searchers a better idea of what their friends may have liked. Today, Google is adding yet another layer to its search results that should help users identify interesting content. Results that feature content from authors at a select number of news sources and blogs will now prominently feature the author’s name and Google Profile image next to the search results (including our own little blog here, which was part of the pilot). This is meant to help Google’s users identify interesting new content from people the company trusts.
How Google Identifies Authors
In order to get this to work, writers will have to ensure that they have a Google Profile that is linked to their sites and that they use Google’s new authorship markup (specifically, the rel=”author” tag) to ensure that Google knows who wrote any given story on your site. A number of large sites, including the New York Times, have already implemented the necessary tags to highlight their authors. Adding the necessary tags to most blogs should be relatively easy for most writers, too, but for the time being, this new feature is just available in a limited pilot, though Google expects to expand this program over time.
Google, of course, has been struggling to prevent the mediocre content that most of today’s content farms push out from polluting its search results. With the recent updates to its search algorithms, it has made some strides in this direction. While it’s not directly linked to weeding out content farms, this new feature is meant to highlight content from people Google trusts. Indeed, Google argues that its users will trust content more when they know the writer and – at the same time – writers will hopefully do a better job at writing when they know their name is prominently linked to their stories.