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Whatever happened to last year's breakout stars?
I reckon Google author verification through G+ (Google Plus) is going to play a huge part in the next year. Sorry I know that’s not exactly visionary thinking right now but I want to explore the idea some more.
Google have been on a mission to sort and rank the content on the web without the help of SEO practitioners since day one; if anyone is going to optimise search engine results then it’s going to be them!
G+ is a part of the answer to this problem for Google and here’s why I think this is so in a slightly big nutshell.
Google are looking to verify relatively unknown or upcoming authors by looking at their G+ profiles (authority writers are easy to spot already suing other crawlable data). As an author to get verified you either sign up to G+ and show them the blogs that you write for in the ‘contributor to’ section of your profile – or you hide from Google and you get ignored (Eric Schmidt said as much and I’ll mention it again later).
If you do the former and sign up for G+ and fill in the necessary details then you run the risk of your links being devalued if you post on multiple blogs. Why you ask? Because through your G+ profile Google can easily work out that you are an employee – either a paid freelance writer or an in house marketing executive and then take action.
Once Google knows you are on the payroll your days of passing PageRank juice from your guest posts are probably numbered. In its simplicity the Google Algorithm being partly powered by PageRank counts links as votes so why would they assign value to all of your links/votes from your guest posts? You work for your company so you are clearly going to be biased so why would Google value every link you create?
Ultimately that isn’t the end of the World if the posts are on niche specific sites and pass referral traffic to your business. This is why links are supposed to be placed in content isn’t it? As Eric Ward once said “ask yourself if you would still want that link if Google did not exist”. If you are guest posting on behalf of a business following this mantra then it is still an excellent way to get traffic; just remember that the links will have a lesser SEO benefit once you confess to Google who you are writing for i.e. your company.
The other scenario is where you are a ‘hired gun’ with a G+ verified account working for an SEO agency or client producing guest blog posts for multiple sites on multiple topics. In this case if you have listed these sites in your ‘contributor to’ list your topical profile is going to look suspicious being littered with posts on websites for office machines, legal services, artists supplies and light fittings.
These sites you’ve posted on will include links from your content to a range of sites that appear frequently. This footprint tells Google that you are clearly a writer hired by a ‘guest posting company’ and whoring out your G+ authority – ouch. Google will also be able to collect and sort the sites you are doing paid guest posting for and penalise them too…it’s getting worse now isn’t it!
The alternative would be for authors to hide their associations with blogs they guest post on from Google but as already mentioned G+ is being used as a threat to those that try to avoid being tracked. Eric Schmidt has openly said in so many words that authors that don’t use verification won’t get a look in – although I think this is a little arrogant.
I expect the exclusion to this rule will be if the authors are well known in an industry through other means such as being published or a speaker, lecturer or whatever else can be found online that validates them as an authority within a particular niche.
Of course this whole set up relies on Google getting an awful lot of people on G+ and then identifying their ‘contributor to’ list of blogs. Google’s trump card is that the threat of anonymity in the search engine results is in the open and will get more publicity as the marketing industry spreads the importance of G+ author verification word to their clients. If Penguin 2.0 includes updates that encourage G+ verification then Google will be laughing all the way to the G+ bank (update: having analysed our links we see no indication that G+ author verified links carry more weight than non verified links).
In the meantime until they get everyone on board they can just pull the plug on author bio links that are found on low quality blogs. That alone should help build the momentum for G+ sign ups from authors who perceive that they are being unfairly targeted! (Update: we see no indication that this has happened in Penguin 2.0 and in reality a sweep like this could cause massive collateral damage to the SERPs).
The G+ author verification strategy is partly I believe a sophisticated trap designed to catch any company wishing to employ writers to post any old content anywhere they can in order to get a link. It just makes vetting content and outing guest post link networks really easy for them too so it makes sense.
So what you will have is a situation where Google gets everyone publishing quality content for its search engine but has the visibility through G+ to see who is spamming in the form of random topic articles all over the place on random blogs; and who is just honestly promoting a company in a specific niche by guest blogging.
Either way the links from both scenarios get devalued but for different reasons and both of them valid.
The only scenario I see guest post links working well as an SEO tactic if this G+ verification of content and links kicks in, is when the link profile includes links from content written by individual G+ verified authors that operate in specific and relevant niches and are not connected with the companies being linked to from the guest posts. Tough to game indeed but also a long way off from being implemented if at all.
If you haven’t already, I’d suggest taking a look at my article on post penguin link building that I published recently.
Where do you think Google will go with author verification and how will it affect link building? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
The star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” charmed practically everyone at the Oscars, where she was the youngest best actress nominee ever; she went on to film a remake of “Annie” opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen, who had 2012’s song of the summer with “Call Me Maybe,” released the fifth and final single from her debut album in January 2013. She toured the U.S. in mid-2013 -- just as Daft Punk and Robin Thicke battled to succeed her as icons of the summer.
Honey Boo Boo
2012’s biggest reality star, the young pageant contestant Alana Thompson, had a quieter time this year, with a second season whose ratings were strong but whose buzz was a bit muted. America was, by now, accustomed to young Thompson, and outraged or scandalized reactions were reserved for other TLC programming, like “The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum.”
Ocean missed out on the top Grammys for which he was nominated in early 2013; he bounced back quickly with featured appearances on albums by Kanye West, Jay Z and Beyoncé, and is at work on a new album. Things are looking up!
The “21 Jump Street” and “Magic Mike” star had a marginally less charmed 2013, with “White House Down” failing to connect with moviegoers and “Foxcatcher” delayed until next year. It may get worse before it gets better: His big 2014 sci-fi flick, “Jupiter Ascending,” looks … well, a little weird!
With their third album in 21 months hitting No. 1 immediately upon its fall 2013 release, the boy band that broke into America in 2012 would seem to be here to stay for a while. Still, they looked a bit nervous in their reaction shots during the Video Music Awards’ ‘N Sync reunion; maybe not this year, maybe not next, but eventually, the Justin of One Direction is going to break out. For now, though, things look good!
Lana Del Rey
The famously uncomfortable “Saturday Night Live” musical guest overcame endless mockery from 2012 to land her first top-10 hit in the summer of 2013 -- a remix of a year-old song, “Summertime Sadness.” As the co-writer of “Young and Beautiful,” the love theme from “The Great Gatsby,” Del Rey is such a front-runner for the best original song Oscar (last won by Adele) that there has been a direct-mail campaign to academy voters against her. The song was also played at the most romantic event of the year: Kanye West’s stadium marriage proposal to Kim Kardashian.
Wilson, who charmed fans of 2012’s “Pitch Perfect,” had a rockier 2013, with her sitcom “Super Fun Night” struggling creatively and in the ratings. Her next planned movies are both sequels, to “Kung Fu Panda” and -- hoping lightning will strike twice -- to “Pitch Perfect.”
Another 2012 music icon, Gotye won the record of the year trophy at the 2013 Grammys for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” He released no new singles in 2013, and has told the press he has been struggling to complete new material. Good luck, Gotye!
The golden boy of the 2012 Olympics, without feats of aquatic derring-do to distract the public this year, saw his always-tenuous persona completely shift from “amiable jock” into “utter dolt” with his E! reality series. Worst of all, the series was canceled.
In 2012, the young actress -- best known for her role in the indie “Winter’s Bone” and a supporting part in the “X-Men” franchise -- had marquee roles in the first “Hunger Games” film and in David O. Russell’s comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.” In 2013, she played to her strengths: After winning an Oscar, she starred in the second “Hunger Games” movie, on whose publicity tour she managed to charm everyone in America, and had another role in a David O. Russell comedy, “American Hustle,” for which she might just win ANOTHER Oscar. By 2014, she may end up running a major studio, or serving as president.
The breakout bikini model of 2012 made a repeat appearance on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue -- and got to do high-fashion spreads in Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She was cast in a Cameron Diaz comedy, too. Some types of appeal are eternal!
E. L. James
The “50 Shades” novelist now gets to help share some input into a movie adaptation set for release in 2015. She probably never needs to work again! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that … just … great?
The “Gangnam Style” phenom performed at New Year’s 2013, but will spend New Year’s 2014 flipping channels to find his pistachio ad, his goofy antics having been outdone in the past year by “The Fox” singers Ylvis. Nothing meme can stay.
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