We have covered already quite a bit on author rank this week. First there were the e-mails Google is sending out to authors and earlier today Jeroen wrote a great extensive post on the importance of Authorship. That could be enough for one week, but we didn’t want to hold this back from you. Google has confirmed to Searchengineland that it is now not just showing the authorship markup and showing the ‘more post by’ link, but it is also showing three extra posts from the author when a user comes back to the search results, provided it seems as if they really liked the post they were just reading. I couldn’t get it to work so here is how it works from the post of Matt McGee: Doing a search made a post Matt wrote on Marketingland appear, with authorship markup. Reading this post and then returning to the search gave Matt his result page: (Image from Searchengineland) Important here is that you have to wait a bit to actually get it to work, since Google must ‘think’ you actually read the article and liked it as well. As you can see there are now three ‘more by Matt McGee’ articles in the results. This was spotted earlier this week by AJ Kohn and is now confirmed by Google to Matt McGee of Searchengineland. Google said to Searchengineland that this is part of the authorship feature:
“If a user visits an article by an author and it seems like they’d be interested in finding more articles by this author, when they click the “Back” button to return to the results page, we’ll show more results by that author.”
What does this say or mean?
And off course there is always the question: what is the use? Well from Google’s perspective it seems obvious. If a user stays on the page long enough it is an indication that they liked the article. Which means that if they go back to the search they might be interested in more from that same author, which is why they changed the results and added more by the author. In his article AJ Kohn suggests that this could be part of AuthorRank, a way to figure out if a certain author is ‘worth ranking’. He could be right on that, but there are a few questions which arise from this.
Most importantly the actual action the searcher is taking. It is hitting the back button to go back to the search it performed. What does that say about the intention of the searcher? Does it say he or she wants to read more from the author or more about the topic it searched for before? One would originally say the latter to be honest. Secondly Google always claims that in most cases people only search once on a specific sentence and don’t do that same search again. We know that 20% of unique queries are new to Google every day and it is said that people hardly do the same search again. So how often will this actually happen, that someone does a search, reads the entire article, returns to the search and then feels they should read more from the author? It could not be very often to be honest, but it is again an indication that Google is dead serious about authorship and rankings around that.
I just got a tweet from Gary Viray who tested this out himself. He however didn’t wait long before hitting the back button, which gave a different result: It now also has ‘Block all Marketingland results” in there. Which means that because he quickly returned to the search he indicates that he didn’t like the content. Google now offers him the possibility to not see Marketingland results anymore. Again, this feature already existed (as did the more by) but it showing up after a back-button hit is interesting. Note: this is about blocking a site, not an author!