Google Author Benefits: Extra Links, More Visibility & Easy

Oct 2, 2012 • 8:12 am | comments (12) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google AuthorAJ Kohn's Why Getting Read Could Improve Your AuthorRank uncovered some new nuggets about Google Authorship that you may have not known.

I think Matt McGee highlighted one of the more important ones with Google Confirms Hidden Benefit Of Authorship: Bonus Links After A Back-Button Click.

Yes, if you click on a story from Google's search results and then eventually click back, more links from that author may be added.

In addition, the links that are added doesn't necessarily have to come from that same source.

For example, as AJ showed, I write at this site and Search Engine Land and Google shows both:


Google also may associate authorship without the markup, but that we knew.

To see the extra links added, you need to click through to an article and wait a long time, as long as ten minutes.

AJ said on a Google+ post:

The instructions to trigger this new Authorship result are to search for a specific term (usually a combination of topic with an author or publisher), click through on the first result, stay on that destination page for five or ten minutes and then use the back button to return to the SERP.

I wonder why Google requires such a long wait for this to show. Matt McGee said the magic number is a full two minutes. That is an eternity in search. Does anyone actually do that?

Maybe Google feels it takes two minutes to read a story from an author and when they click back, showing them more stories from that author is relevant?

Forum discussion at Google+.

Note: This story was scheduled to be posted on this day, but was written earlier.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: October 1, 2012


Eric Ward

10/02/2012 12:26 pm

So the next variant of signal manipulation will be to crowdspam fake article search clicks with two minute pauses. Marvelous.

Nick Stamoulis

10/02/2012 01:21 pm

New mousetrap, smarter mouse, right? Anything that can be spammed will be spammed as long as people can get away with it, as sad as that is.

AJ Kohn

10/02/2012 01:55 pm

It's really fascinating stuff. The long dwell time is essentially an indication of satisfaction. I'd have to guess Google's done some analysis and believes this shows high engagement with the content. Frasier Cain and I talked about whether Google might change the time based on the length or type of content but I haven't been able to confirm that as of yet. But for long-form content (which is where a lot of Authorship resides) I think two minutes is realistic. I still believe the multi-site nature of those links could give publishers a heart-attack.

AJ Kohn

10/02/2012 01:59 pm

That would be difficult, wouldn't it? You'd need a large number of accounts from different IP addresses finding the content with a variety of different queries that had a history of similar searches that could overwhelm the signal of real traffic.

Oleg Korneitchouk

10/02/2012 02:21 pm

I can copy/paste your reply to rent-a-coder and have it ready in a week haha The question is: it shows additional SERPs for the visitor who returned, not for others. Would there be an overall change in rankings from this factor? A certain author's style may appeal to one reader but not another.

AJ Kohn

10/02/2012 02:32 pm

Well, it's clearly experimental at this point but the fact that they show addition links from an author based on dwell time could indicate that dwell time (or engagement) on an author's content could be used to improve rankings in the future. As to personal taste, you'd simply be taking the majority view for overall ranking. Of course, it could be personalized so that authors for which you interact with are given more weight in your results etc.

Jordan Godbey

10/02/2012 02:57 pm

But won't that only change the SERP for the crowdsourced spammer? Or are you saying that will add overall benefit to the authorship value of that writer?

Eric Ward

10/02/2012 03:01 pm

I agree AJ, Google could spot fake click-n-dwells, but people will still try:). One thing I'm curious about is I often come across an article I want to read, but I'm unable to read it at that moment for whatever reason. I have a one-click send link to gmail button that I use to send that article URL to myself, and I read them later in the evening on my iPad. So I have zero dwell time. But, since I use gmail, there's another possible signal for google. The mail-to-self signal:)

Oleg Korneitchouk

10/02/2012 03:42 pm

My bet is that Google can spot fake "click-n-dwells" as easily as it can spot fake social shares. Seeing as social shares aren't given too much ranking power, my guess is that it may be a long while until the CnD rate is used for global SERPs. >another possible signal for google. The mail-to-self signal With their reach, they can use almost anything as a signal (and I wouldn't be surprised if they did and were just holding it back from the public). The trouble is people using that knowledge to spam their way to the top. My thinking is that this is purely for personalized search. As AJ said, taking an aggregate of the dwell rates may be a great signal that a specific author has good articles and should rank higher. However, it opens the door to spamming.


10/02/2012 05:02 pm

I'm guessing the reason for waiting 5 to 10 minutes is because Google assumes that if you spend any less time on the page, you didn't read it, and so you wouldn't be interested in anything more the author has to say.

AJ Kohn

10/02/2012 05:10 pm

You're right, people will try. There's no doubt about that! And I think Google would want to mine those things but I think they're hoping that you do so via a web intent. If web intents become the ubiquitous glue that holds things together Google could use those as pretty solid signals of real engagement.

Gael Breton

10/03/2012 11:04 pm

I guess the theory where bounce rate could be a ranking/ux factor is now verified :)

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