Google Chairman’s Predictions Hint at AuthorRank

Excerpts from an upcoming book by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt were published by The Wall Street Journal last week. In the article, Schmidt laid out his seven predictions for the future of the digital age, but for marketers one sentence stood out from the rest:

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in more users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.”

To many, this seemed less like a prediction and more like a veiled confirmation of what marketers had long suspected: AuthorRank is coming.

Great AuthorRank graphic by Mode Digital.

Great AuthorRank graphic by Mode Digital

The AuthorRank saga began in 2005 when Google filed a patent for something called “Agent Rank.” The document described how the search engine could use a number of metrics to determine an “agent’s” position within a subject area. By outlining a way to consider an agent’s popularity and authority within a given subject area, marketers inferred that Google was looking to supplement the cold statistics of search with human factors.

Traditionally, Google had not had access to enough data to warrant using social interactions as a direct ranking factor. The company found a way to solve this problem in 2011 with the introduction of Google+. With its social network providing access to a trove of qualitative data, the logical next step was to incorporate it into search. Thus, AuthorRank became a reality.

Simply put, the goal of AuthorRank is to determine the credibility and popularity of an individual and the content they publish. Many factors that will likely have an impact on AuthorRank are old-hat for SEOs, such as: the number of followers on social networks and the frequency of shares, as well as the number of links, Likes, tweets, etc. The difference, however, is that Author Rank ties these metrics to the individual who publishes the content – not the website that hosts it.

This change has huge implications in the SEO world, but the first step for anyone marketing online is to claim authorship of their content. Any content a marketer has created should be tied to a verified Google+ profile. This means an author’s Google+ profile must have a link to the pages that host their content, and vice versa. Once this is done, the long climb to dominant Author Rank begins.

Everyone in the SEO industry is anxiously awaiting Google’s Panda Update 25. It is not yet known if this specific update will further the push from Page Rank to AuthorRank, but Google is clearly headed in that direction. The web strategists at The Search Engine Guys have been preparing for the move to AuthorRank for some time. If you have questions about SEO, AuthorRank, and how to prepare your website, please contact us today.

From Page Rank to Author Rank: the Changing Landscape of SEO

author-rank2At the annual Search Engine Strategies conference in London last week, Searchmetrics founder Marcus Tober lead a session on “Meaningful SEO Metrics.” In the presentation, Tober tackled a variety of topics including the move from page rank to author rank in the future of SEO.

The presentation began with Tober explaining the importance of the “SEO visibility” metric. He said that the cumulative number of all relevant keyword rankings for a market reveal important trends. The ranking on single keywords is worth less, according to Tober, because of personalization, localization, and search history. Analyzing SEO strategies with this broader scope will allow businesses to see trends that are independent from seasonal effects or traffic spikes based on independent events.

One of the most notable moments in the presentation was when Tober directly disputed a statement made by Google Engineer Matt Cutts. When asked if Google +1’s affect a website’s ranking, Cutts answered “Not really.” Cutts claimed there was no “direct effect” on rankings from +1’s, but said Google does “have an authorship proposal.”

According to Tober, Cutts was not telling the whole truth. Tober excitedly told the audience that +1’s do indeed influence search. He explained that several experiments conducted over the last year in Searchmetrics Labs found that Google+ triggers instant indexation. He claimed that based on analysis with different unique postings, “URLs with a +1 are being indexed instantly and rank for the title as well as some longtail queries.”

These findings, Tober said, illustrate the move from Page Rank to Author Rank in SEO. He quoted Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt saying “Within search results, information tied to a verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.” Tober continued to say “the true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

Tober concluded the presentation by reminding SEOs to focus on the big picture and not get bogged down studying one metric. He recommended that marketers measure activity and outcomes saying, “understand how the business makes money, build a simple model, and remember that the best metrics guide behavior.”

Internally at the search engine guys we have been watching this closely… since May of 2012 Google+ profiles, circles and +1 (as well as other social media profiles which may factor into the author-rank equation) have become increasingly important to our SEO strategies. Please contact us to schedule a call with a web strategist if you have questions about SEO, author rank and how to prepare your website to “weather the storm” as Google continues to shift from page rank to author-rank.

22% of Web Content Now Consumed on Mobile Devices

As reported by Pando Daily, adtech company Kontera has said that smartphones and tablets now account for 22% of all web traffic.

That number is expected to reach 27% by January, 2013. Web traffic accessed through these devices has gone up 430% in year to year growth in the United States. The statistics are based on data from Kontera’s 15,000+ publishing partners. Kontera also released information showing how much each device is used for different sub-topics. For example, Android leads in the automotive and sports categories but iPhone and iPad win out in dining and health.

Internally among 250+ websites that we manage at TSEG – we see mobile usage range from 3% to 21%.

Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button has received a remodeling

Google has taken its famous “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, which takes you directly to the top search result, and has turned it into a scrolling advertisement for Google services, projects, and games. With the additions of toolbar search and Google Instant, it has become a rarely used feature. Now, if you go to the Google homepage and hover your mouse over the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, it spins to different emotions. Don’t like the emotion it gives you? Move your mouse away and hover over it again.

The “I’m Feeling Puzzled” button brings you to a Google trivia search game called “a Google a day”. “I’m Feeling Trendy” brings you to Google’s “hot searches” page. “I’m Feeling Wonderful” brings you to the World Wonders Project, which allows you to view wonders of the world from Google Street View. “I’m Feeling Hungry” brings you to a search of your local restaurants. There’s more but I don’t want to ruin the surprise.

The old feature hasn’t officially disappeared, though. When you start typing your inquiry on Google Instant, the autocomplete suggestions drop down below the search bar. If you place your mouse over one of the suggestions, an “I’m Feeling Lucky” link will appear to the right. Clicking it will work just as the old one did.

Forgotten, but not gone.


Google Purchases Frommer’s – is this a trend that will continue?

As reported by Amir Efrati and Jeffrey Trachtenberg on wsj.com, Google has purchased Frommer’s travel-guides for $25 million.  Along with its purchases of ITA software and Zagat, Google has now acquired three major travel related information brands.  The Frommer purchase will put Google in a position to further capitalize the 2 to 3 billion dollars a year they reportedly make from travel related ads.

The purchase raises new questions related to ongoing antitrust allegations that Google directs and unfairly promotes its own content above competitors’ content such as TripAdvisor and Yelp.  Stephen Kaufer, the CEO of TripAdvisor, questions Google’s move, stating that “It is puzzling to us that Google is going backwards to the opinion of one—a writer—when TripAdvisor is proof that travelers like the wisdom of crowds”.

We wonder if Google will continue the trend and become a producer of content in other industry verticals.

TSEG discusses new .xxx domains and their impact on web marketing

A new internet domain extension (“.xxx”) has been created to provide the adult entertainment industry with a unique domain extension and to help the general public to easily identify and/or avoid adult content sites when searching the internet.   This release has caused quite a stir.

Some web companies have taken an alarmist position and are instructing people to take very aggressive measures to defend themselves.   And while the possibility does exist that your business name could be purchased by “squatters” and used to host an adult content website on a .xxx domain; our position is that the risk is not any greater now, than it has always been.   The addition of .xxx domains simply adds one more extension to the already long list of .com / .net / .biz / .info / .co / .me / .mobi / .tv / etc.

Even if you purchase your existing domain name with the .xxx extension – countless variations exist that utilize dashes or additional word combinations.  A few examples of this might include:

  • www.yourfirmname.com / www.your-firm-name-office.com  / www.yourfirmname-office.com
  • www.your-firmname.com / www.yourfirm-name.com / www.yourfirmnamelawyers.com
  • www.yourfirmname-lawoffices.com etc.

There are hundreds if not thousands of combinations considering all the URL extensions and variations with hyphens.   It would be costly to fully protect against all variations.

That said, we want to inform you of this potential threat and spell out a few facts:

1.) It is possible for someone other than you to register www.yourcompanyname.xxx without your knowledge.

2.) The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has installed a system to allow companies to block their company name if the name has been trademarked from becoming an .xxx domain before it goes on sale to the general public.  If you wish to take this protective measure, you can follow these steps:

  •  If your business name has been trademarked you can block the equivalent .xxx domain from being registered during the very first registration called “Sunrise B”.  This early registration period is strictly limited to trademarked companies.  The deadline for application is October 28,, 2011, and the processing fee is $199.99.  The registration process and additional information can be found at http://www.godaddy.com/tlds/xxx-domain.aspx
  • If you have not yet trademarked your firm or company’s name, you will still be able to apply for a defensive registration once the .xxx domains are opened to the public during the “General Availability” sessions which opens on December 6, 2011, and the fee is currently set to be $99.00.

We encourage you to consult with your own legal counsel on the legal, business, financial, and related aspects of securing a trademark to protect against any possible infringements.  If you have any questions or need assistance securing an .xxx or any other domains please contact us at (512) 394-7234 to discuss this further.  Additional information about the program and registration requirements can be found here:  http://www.icmregistry.com.


Joe Devine

President & CEO

Cloud [8] Sixteen, Inc.

TSEG Contributes Small Business Tip for BusinessWeek.com

The Search Engine Guys were featured on BusinessWeek.com yesterday in the Small Business section. Every day, the publication’s web site features a tip for entrepreneurs on ways to improve how they do business. TSEG’s Joe Devine composed a tip about the benefits of search engine optimization and it was published on January 24, 2011.

Check it out here and please feel free to share with anyone you think may be interested:
Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

TSEG launches new website

Hello world. True to the cliché that “the philosopher who erects palaces of thought, tends to live in the shack next door” at any given moment our own company website is always the lowest priority especially in relation to our client’s ongoing needs. Nevertheless, we rallied and feel our new website tells a more accurate story about who we are and what we’re about. We will miss the green penguins, cows and elephants and promise, in their absence, to not take ourselves too seriously.

Another email scam..

To all of our legal clients, please view the below email with extreme caution

Name: Soon Seng Machinery & Trading Pte Ltd

Phone: 63603646

Email: tsengchia@rocketmail.com

Comments: Dear Attorney,
We would require your legal representation for our North American delinquent Customers. We are of the opinion that a reputable attorney is required to represent us in North America in order for us to recover monies due to our organization.
We understand that a proper Attorney Client agreement must be entered into by both parties. This will be  done immediately we receive your letter of acceptance.

Yours Faithfully,
Tuck Seng Chia
Soon Seng Machinery & Trading Pte Ltd
16 Marsiling Industrial Estate Road 9 #01-41,
Singapore 739172
Phone: 63603646

Bail out bill..

It is not my intention to constantly weigh in on political issues with our blog, but as a founder and the CEO of The Search Engine Guys, I feel like it is the responsibility of all small business owners to tell our side of the story.

Everything I have read states that the stimulus package will operate using the following equation: for every 1 job that is created, it will cost $300,000 in taxpayer money. This is a staggering number. If we were to cut payroll taxes, we (The Search Engine Guys) would be able to create 2-3 additional full-time jobs and 2-3 part-time jobs immediately for far less than the $300,000. Not only this have a direct impact on deserving individuals gaining employment, but we would then be able to create an even better result for our clientele, which would encourage the client to spend more dollars with us, thus allowing us to hire more people, etc… It seems like a win-win.

The key point to focus in on is the immediate impact. We can hire these folks IMMEDIATELY. These new hires would then have the descretionary income to spend in our economy, which would stimulate additional jobs. The cycle would keep repeating. I imagine the 300k that the gov’t spends will not have an IMMEDIATE impact, as nothing happens quickly in a bureacratic situation. Now, I realize 4-6 jobs is not a big deal overall. However, it is a big deal for those individuals, and if a million companies had this additional working capital, we would be talking about 3 million jobs overnight…not too bad. I encourage your thoughts and comments.


Joe Devine

CEO – The Search Engine Guys

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