19 Mar 2013

Authorship, Links, Mobile for Search plus User Experience

The buzz from SXSW regarding updates from Google’s algorithms created a stir among SEO’s but barely a stir from the usability industry.

Now, more than ever before, reputation counts. You can have the best keyword rank possible, or purchase the top spot in search results, and yet what happens after the click into a web page remains the deciding factor on whether the time and investment to get there were worthwhile.

Even establishing authorship credentials can be faked or the quality of writing less than desirable. With so many content writers developing authorship status sooner or later Google will need to figure out which author tags lead to truly credible material. One way is to track the human response to this content.

I find it interesting that not all people are counted in supporting authorship credentials. For example, Google suggests connecting your content to your G+ profile. This allows your post and commenting history to be part of your credentials. One can only assume this is intended to drive more users to G+ and for those who are not registered, tough luck.

Credibility is still vital for links. Matt Cutts feels they’ll be around for a while yet and natural linking remains the best authoritative signal. Attempts to outsmart Google with linking schemes fail eventually, and the question is, why participate in faking greatness? User experience leaves this muck to SEO’s but to me they’re missing out on opportunities to help with customer experience and mapping expectations. Links lead people to a variety of landing pages where the task is to load a document, go off-site to another site that’s related to the content or very different, offers directions to a physical place, user feedback and testimonials, print magazine subscriptions and more.

In other words, not all links are created to boost rank or keep people on one site. Many take people on paths that are harder to track and measure, and yet the user satisfaction of these journeys are just as important to conversions.

Does Google care which sites render well in mobile devices? According to Cutts, indeed it matters and will count even more as the mobile experience is counted as a credibility factor. If the sites that present your content that contributes to your authorship reputation can’t be read on all devices, this means a growing number of people don’t have access to it. The mobile user experience as it relates to search rank is going to pop in demand and most web sites are not ready or even considering preparation for this.

The data coming in from human computer research has led to branches of study and user tracking by verticals and user types (mental modes). Experience mapping can pin point the human side of abandonment points in a conversions path. The most difficult to understand are decisions made from an emotional reaction since we all react differently and make choices based on personal histories and past experiences with brands, using the Internet and networking.

No matter what Google, or any search engine, tries to improve their search engine results, the answers will always depend on user experience.

Comments

  1. twitter_rankyacomau March 19, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    Thanks Kimberly, one of the greatest search engine optimisation insights I have come across, a true understanding on running online businesses. Because I am on the same thought pattern as you when it comes to creating web pages. Providing great content for them.

    Google does take this in to account “human response to this content.”
    Mainly through bounce rate, visit durations etc.
    You know Kimberly, there are so much information on search engine optimization online (most talk about backlinks, PR Google updates etc)
    But only few understand this;

    “No matter what Google, or any search engine, tries to improve their search engine results, the answers will always depend on user experience.”

  2. T D Thirsk March 20, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    Great post on authorship. I have started using the author tag in some of my posts and have seen improved CTR. What I want to know is when Google will put a stop to shared circles that are used purely to inflate the “in circles” count?

    1. Kim Krause Berg March 22, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      “What I want to know is when Google will put a stop to shared circles that are used purely to inflate the “in circles” count?” I agree. There are many loop holes to this latest round of games from Google.

      Appreciate the great feedback from everyone. I like knowing I was helpful :)

      1. Michael Martin March 26, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        KIm,

        I also put out a POV on AuthorRank from data at Covario as well from talks with the Google team – http://www.covario.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/pov_author_rank_within_google_031613.pdf

    2. Kim Krause Berg March 22, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      “What I want to know is when Google will put a stop to shared circles that are used purely to inflate the “in circles” count?” I agree. There are many loop holes to this latest round of games from Google.

      Appreciate the great feedback from everyone. I like knowing I was helpful :)

Leave a Reply