All posts by Kevin Ashbridge

About Kevin Ashbridge

I am online expert, software developer and marketer, and I help people build an audience for their website. I founded "LucrativeIM.com" as the home for top quality articles, tutorials and software specifically for traffic generation and social marketing. I care about your success!

Google Authorship is Key to Your Authority Online

You must have control of the authorship of your own destiny. The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.” – Irene C. Kassorla

Google Authorship is a method of linking you personally to the content you publish online. Google say they do this simply “to help users discover great content”.

Sounds like a platitude, doesn’t it? It turns out that tracking authorship is extremely important to Google – which means it should be important to you and your business.

In fact, if you don’t set up Google Authorship for your content, you’re likely missing out on a significant boost to your Search Engine Ranking. Why? Because Google is using your authority online as one of it’s major ranking signals.

Google Authorship determines who you are

Google wants ultimately to run a Google authorship check to find out who you are, what you’ve published and – most importantly – who and how many people follow, share and interact with your content.

Technically, you set up Google Authorship through your Google+ profile, and link that to your content using a rel=”author” tag attribute. (WordPress users can simply install a Google Authorship plugin that does this tech stuff for you). When you do so, your Google+ Profile picture and other details will appear alongside the content you create in Google Search results.

Google Authorship in Search Results
Google Authorship in search results

Google Authorship is the SEO X-Factor

The importance of Google Authorship in SEO was highlighted in a recent video by Google’s Matt Cutts:

In answer to the question “Will Google be evaluating the use of rel=”author” moving forward…” Matt Cutts replied:

My brief answer is ‘yes’. I’m pretty excited about the ideas behind rel=’author’. Basically, if you can move from an anonymous web to a web where you have some notion of identity and maybe even reputation of individual authors…

There it is in black and white. The “reputation of individual authors” equates to their authority.

Cutts implies that there is a lot more they might explore using Google Authorship analytics:

I think we probably will take another look at what else do we need to do to turn the crank and iterate and improve how we handle rel=’author’. Are there other ways that we can use that signal?

Google’s research here is to use the relationship of authors and consumers for establishing online reputation and authority. Astoundingly, this may even be at the expense of the ranking power of keywords. Cutts says (with my emphasis):

 “The philosophy of Google has been moving away from keywords, ‘from strings towards things,’ so we’ve had this Knowledge Graph where we start to learn about the real world entities and the real world relationships between those entities. In the same way, if you know who the real world people are who are actually writing content, that could be really useful as well, and might be able to help you improve search quality. So it’s definitely something that I’m personally interested in, and I think several people in the Search Quality group continue to work on, and I think we’ll continue to look at it, as far as seeing how to use rel=’author’ in ways that can improve the search experience.”

If Google ultimately decide on the central role of Google Authorship as a primary ranking factor, then this is a fundamental change in the way we need to present out content.

Reputation is certainly not new to SEO. Social signals have been known to affect search engine ranking for some years now. The difference here is that Google wants to know who you are in the “real world” and use that to determine your authority online.

And where does it stop? Should brick-and-mortar businesses present their real world entity online as Google Authorship for Business? I definitely believe so. Businesses owners should not only set up Google Authorship, but a Google+ Business Page for their business as well.

Search Engine Marketing in a Google Glass world

In a recent article on Search Engine Watch Jason DeMers wondered how Google Glass will change Search Engine Marketing.

Could it be that for all our gadget drool, we’re overlooking what could be the biggest Internet marketing explosion of the decade? Or will Google Glass even make a ripple in online marketing?

It’s a good question and, with the release date of this latest must have gadget getting closer, it’s a question that high-priced search engine marketing agencies should be thinking about now. 🙂

Of course, savvy online and offline marketers, such as ourselves, can also be well positioned for a slice of the advertising dollar pie when Google Glass released in just a few months’ time.

Here’s how…

Google has stated that there are no immediate plans to advertise on their spectacles-shaped Google Glass platform. This is probably because they (a) want to bed the technology into the public consciousness before turning on its Trojan Horse advertising abilities; and (b) they may not have a clear idea of the best way to deliver ads, yet.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure Google knows (and has tested) the form a Google Glass advert will take – it has to be, by the very nature of the device, a notification placed in the wearer’s field of view:

“Peter Garety just launched his latest plug-in. Do you want to purchase it?”

It’s just that I believe delivering ads in this way will be a very delicate task, and one that requires a lot of real world testing. After all, the Google Glass wearer is by definition a person on the move; you don’t want to slam a distracting ad in their face when driving, for example. (You can imagine the law suits around that one!)

Woman wearing Google Glass
Google Glass: The vision of tomorrow.

So, how will Google Glass alter our search engine marketing strategies? What should we doing today to prepare for tomorrow?

Search Engine Marketing for Page One is gone!

From what we’ve seen of the Google Glass interface, we can throw all of our current search engine marketing tools out of the window. The wearer will not be presented with the top ten results (“Page One”) for a Google keyword search. The Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is gone, baby!

Instead, the Google Glass wearer will be shown only the most authoritative search result. And, for now, that means not even the most expensive Adwords ads will make it on to the hallowed field of view.

Another way of putting this: If you’re not the #1 ranked link on Page One of the Google SERP, you won’t feature.

Google Glass: Search Engine Marketing Basics

Jason DeMers had a few thoughts on the basics of marketing in the ‘Glass world’. He began his analysis by asking us to consider the Google Glass interface from the user’s point of view, based on what we know has been demonstrated with the device:

You’re wearing your Google Glasses, riding the subway downtown with friends. You say the words ” hungry” and “dinner,” and your Google Glasses inform you that Molinari Delicatessen is a few minutes away at the Broadway & Grant Avenue station. Plus you get a free drink for just checking in on Foursquare.

Here, Google Glass offers interaction with local businesses (Google Places), local search and social media.

Those marketers will offline clients will need to ensure they have their clients plugged well into the Google Universe, specifically Google Places, Google rich snippets, and (oh yeah) Google+:

Keep your Google+ profile robust and active. One obvious trend that will impact all things search related is Google+, along with authorship and Author Rank.

If you ask me, this is the most important bit of advice in preparing for a Google Glass world. Sticking a pin on a Google Map for your offline client is easy. Building your client’s authority, that’s the bit you need to sweat over.

Authority is the new Backlink Count (for Everything!)

You may have noticed that Google has made a lot of changes to its search algorithms lately – so much so that the entire search engine marketing definition has changed from a focus on inbound link building and on-page optimization  to the new era of ‘context, authority and social proof’.

The latest search engine marketing tips do not include lists of back-link building and text spinning services, but focus on authorship, quality content and community building on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others.

It’s the Authorship bit I want to focus on here. Thinking about it, and if Google manage to pull off stellar sales for Google Glass products, your Google Plus profile will become your most important asset.

Why? Because it, above all else, will tell Google who you are. (Or, to be more specific, what you create online).

Google+ is at the hub of Google’s identity-checking universe. By stamping your blog posts with author tags, linking your YouTube, Skype, Google Play and Gmail accounts, and adding in any other email addresses you own, Google is able to positively identify the body of the work you create. (Yes, I know Facebook and Twitter are missing from your G+ profile but, hey, they are the evil competition  Beside, Google will find you by scrapping these sites and matching the info you’ve provided. True for LinkedIn too).

With Google Glass, my guess is that Google will use your Google+ account as a major measure to gauge your relative authority on a topic (depending on how much quality, shared content you create).

So, I completely agree with Jason: Keep your Google+ profile robust and active. It’ll be more critical than you realize.

What about Content size for Google Glass?

Without wanting to put a whole lot of search engine marketing jobs at risk by removing the lucrative trade of on-page optimization, my view is that content ‘snippets’ are the new SEO. Think about it. The amount of screen real estate available for the Google Glass wearer is tiny. You’re going to need to convey nuggets of content in a bite-sized chunks. I don’t know how Google plan to do this for a majority of websites. They could try to use algorithms that can create a precis long page of text down to it “essence”. Or they could place a greater reliance on Rich Snippets (“Structured Data”).

I would get your Rich Snippet house in order.

I can’t wait to see what happens through the lens of Google Glass – the new window on our digital world.

(By the way, I do recommend subscribing to Search Engine Watch as a source of high quality and timely search engine marketing articles. I’m sure their content is going to be repackaged into an eyeball-sized presentation in just a few months from now.)

Add a Graphic Header to the Thesis 2 WordPress Theme

The new Thesis 2 theme for WordPress does not come with a ‘box’ to add a graphic header. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to add one.

The Thesis 2 Theme

Thesis 2.0 is  has one most innovative template editors ever created on the WordPress platform. It packs a lot of editing power behind a very simple drag-and-drop interface, which makes creating different templates for your theme’s “skin” very straight forward.

Thesis 2 Skin Editor
Thesis 2 Skin Editor

Thesis 2 uses the concept of “boxes”, which you drag and drop onto a template canvas to build up the structure of that template. Thesis 2 come with a number of pre-built boxes, but if you are missing some functionality it’s very straightforward to create a custom box to serve your needs.

Text Boxes can contain anything from simple text, to HTML code, to PHP programming code, so they are a great starting point for adding new HTML elements to your website, such as a graphic header.

Thesis 2 Text Box
Thesis 2 Text Box

What’s VERY cool about Thesis boxes is that developers can create a vast library of boxes, each containing a specific functionality, and make them available to the Thesis 2 user community. All you do is download the box you want from the developer’s website and upload it into the Thesis 2 skin editor.

As of writing this post, I have not found any boxes available that can create a graphic header. So, you’ll need to do it yourself.

The Missing Thesis 2 Graphic Header box

To be honest, I was a bit dismayed that a box to add a graphic header to a Thesis skin was missing from the list of standard boxes. I’d have thought that this would be a common feature most Thesis 2 theme owners would want to have.

Any how, it turns out that, if you know a bit of basic HTML coding, it’s very easy to do.

I show you exactly how, step-by-step, in the following video:

[youtube button=”1″ position=”1″ display_tube=”1″ num_display=”4″ collect=”1″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs-I-oMoIh8[/youtube]

In the video, I show you how to type the HTML code you need to create an “image tag”. Here’s that code below for you to copy and paste, and modify for your own purposes:

<img src="https://www.lucrativeim.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/lucrative-internet-marketing-banner-900x166.jpg" width="900" height="166" alt="Lucrative Internet Marketing" />

BONUS!

If you want to make this new graphic header clickable, to take visitors back to the Home page of your website (a very common shortcut), then you’l need to surround the <img> tag code with an HTML <a> tag, as shown in bold below:

<a href="/"><img src="https://www.lucrativeim.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/lucrative-internet-marketing-banner-900x166.jpg" width="900" height="166" alt="Lucrative Internet Marketing" /></a>

Modifying all your Thesis 2 skin templates

As I explain in the video, you’ll need to add the new “Graphical Header” box you create to each template of your website. The Thesis 2 skin editor will remember all the boxes you’ve created, so adding them to the other templates in the skin is now just a matter of drag-and-drop.

It wasn’t immediately obvious to me how to access these different skin templates at first. As I discovered, you’ll need to click the Large button in the top left-hand corner of the skin editor screen:

 

Thesis 2 Template Chooser
Thesis 2 Template Chooser

Make sure you save your work evert time you edit your template by clicking the big green ‘Save’ button at the top right of the skin editor window!

A Happy WordPress User

As you can see at the top of this website, I have a clickable graphic banner at the top of my theme and I’m very happy. I’m looking forward to see what new boxes, skins and ‘packages’ (skin styles) will emerge over the coming months.

Thesis 2 in a very new theme for WordPress, but it’s off to an awesome start – even if you have to roll your own graphic header for now!