Link building is still as important, if not more so, than it was 15 years ago. According to a SEOmoz ranking factors survey, 40% of Google’s ranking algorithm is based on linking factors. What has changed is the quality of links and who exactly is pointing to your website.
Regaining Trust in Links: Google Plus and Social Authorship
Because link building has been somewhat abused over the years by blackhat SEOs, Google and other search engines must now be able to “trust” your links. So how does Google determine a trustworthy link? Last year Google enabled “rel author,” a markup that people can use to display the author of a web page by associating it with a Google Plus profile. So more importantly than just where the link is coming from (ex: www.boomtownig.com) is who it comes from (ex: Sue McCrossin, Owner of Boomtown Internet Group). Now Google can see that the link has been manually associated with a human profile on which they already have data. The search engine can gather the author’s bio, location, company and job title, and links to other websites and social platforms that the author is involved with, all from their Google Plus profile page. Google knows that a human will most likely not claim a spam link, deeming that link trustworthy.
At Boomtown, we have been encouraging our clients to utilize “rel author” and claim authorship of their blog posts, articles, etc. The more trust you can build as a credible source in Google’s eyes, the better off your link building efforts. As an established author on your topic, the search engine is more likely to rank your pages above an anonymous author.
Google and its social platform are showing no signs of slowing down, which is apparent in the most recent Google Plus changes. Changes include a more customized interface (now very closely resembling Facebook’s new layout) and an “Explore” page that posts trending topics across the site. Although it has just been implemented, this feature working along with Google organic search could prove to be a powerful combination in how Google will continue to rank web pages and links based on authorship. If you do not have a Google Plus profile page yet, now is the time to create one – not just for social purposes, but for reputation and linking as well.