Google Authorship: SEO Secret Sauce or Boring Ketchup?

What authorship looks like for this blog

Authorship in action

My geek friend Chris recently wrote a post about Google Authorship that suggested that the use of Google Authorship tags (e.g. rel=author) gave inconsistent results in the SERPs and was possibly not the SEO secret sauce that it’s all cracked up to be.

This surprised me, because I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for Authorship, including claims that use of the rel=author tag can speed up the indexing and rankings of a brand new site.

In his experiments, Chris tried searching for a specific phrase using and from an NZ IP and then both from a US IP. He was scanning the SERPs for instances of his own blog post containing the phrase, specifically noting when his rel=author tag would kick in to show his Google Profile next to his post. All searches produced different results, with his authorship profile pic only showing up sporadically, even when his blog post appeared in the top 3 results. This was in contrast to blog posts on his employer’s site, where Authorship hasn’t been implemented, rel=author tags are not used, but posts almost always show up in the SERPs featuring author profile pics.

Chris found that subtle changes to his search query (even the addition of a STOP word like *on*) had a profound impact on whether Authorship would kick in. Clearly, semantic indexing is at play when it comes to whether rel=author has an influence on SERPs. Which means that specific keyword order and word-stemming considerations should be high on the priority list for any on-page SEO undertaken.

In my experience, it seems that the authorship tag is given more prominence in some data centers than others and almost always when searching My guess is slightly different versions of the algo have rolled out on each data center, some with the *new* (July) Panda and some with the old. Authorship relevance has been tweaked in this last update, I’m sure of it, but I haven’t seen this acknowledged anywhere.

Of course, author trust / author rank is also at play – where the profile of a particular author is given more relevancy weight than others due to how prolific and widely syndicated they are. Posts from authors with more trust rank built up are pushed higher up the SERPs and are more likely to have their profile pics featured.

So have you noticed a change in SERPS relating to use of the rel=author tag since the latest Panda update? Have you observed more or less authorship profiles showing up in generic SERPs on than before Panda? Please let us know in the comments.

Embeddable Facebook Content Now a Reality

eye-see-facebookEver tried to embed content from Facebook into your web site or blog? Frustrating isn’t it? Usually you have to use a 3rd party plugin or use a messy code hack and it’s almost impossible to get it to display properly on all browsers.

Well, it seems Facebook have been listening to the sighs of Webmasters everywhere and the company is finally introducing Facebook Embeddable Posts.

What Are They?

Embedded Posts are a way to publish public posts (by a Page or person) on Facebook into your web page or blog.

The embedded post will show media attached to it, as well as the number of likes, shares, and comments that the post has. Embedding posts will let people visiting your web site see the same information that is shown on Embedded posts will even enable people to follow or like content authors or Pages directly from the embedded location.

It’s important to note that only public posts from Facebook Pages and profiles can be embedded.

How to Embed Facebook Posts

To embed a post, follow these steps:

1) Go to the post you want to embed.

2) Check if the post is public by hovering over the audience selector (you’ll see a globe icon if it is).


3) Click the down arrow icon in the top right corner of the post and select Embed Post. You will see a dialog appear with the code to embed your post in it.

fb-embed24) Copy the code that appears and paste it to your own blog post or web page

How Does it Work?

The code in the Embedded Post dialog box includes a Facebook SDK for JavaScript snippet which gets saved into your web page code. If you already include this snippet elsewhere on your page, you can remove it if you wish, although it will not cause any issues if included twice.

Currently, you can’t customize how Embedded Posts are displayed on your page because the size of the post is fixed to the same dimensions as it appears on Facebook.

If you embed a very long post, it will get truncated with a “see more” option. Clicking “see more” will display the full post on your web page.

If you embed a post and the author later deletes it or changes the post audience selector from public to private, a message will display in place of the embedded post: “The page you requested is no longer available. The post may have expired or the privacy settings may have changed”.

What Does it Mean?

This new feature provides huge advantages to businesses with a Facebook page. The Embed Post functionality will enable companies to quickly publish and syndicate their social content from Facebook on their web sites and – more importantly – allow their customers to interact with their Facebook channel directly from their main business site.

The result should be a more streamlined social media process and greater potential for more social interactivity on company web sites rather than on 3rd party social sites. The Facebook water cooler will be moving to the company office! For businesses that haven’t yet seen the value in creating a Facebook presence, this feature might just be the tipping point.

When Can I Use it?

The feature is being rolled out this week to just a handful of large media sites, including CNN, Bleacher Report, Huffington Post, Mashable and People. It will be rolled out to the general public over the next few weeks.