Research SEO

How 9 Out of 10 Tech Sites Could Improve their Search Listings with One Simple Fix

Late last year, Google launched its authorship program and began displaying author information in the search results to “help users discover great content.”   For author information to appear in the SERPs as shown below, websites must implement the rel=author tag and link to the author’s Google+ account in the tag.

Google Web Search result snippet showing authorship information top tech sites

Build a Sample of Top Tech Blogs

With several months passed since the debut of rel=author in the SERPs, in July 2012, we gathered the top 250 tech blogs from blog network Technorati and checked to see if they had implemented the ‘rel=author’ tag.  The list included top drawing blogs such as Mashable, Techcrunch, Gizmodo and The Verge, and also more niche players such as GottaBeMobile, Nikon Rumors and Chrome Story.

Verifying the presence of the tag required checking a ‘post’ page (e.g. as opposed to a top level domain (e.g. so ‘post’ urls were collected for all 250 sites and internal tools were used to check for the presence of the tag.

Nearly 9 out of 10 Sites Have Not Implemented “Rel=Author” Tag

Our analysis showed only 9% of the top tech blogs have ‘completely’ implemented rel=author by both adding the tag to their website and pointing to the author’s Google + account.  An additional 3% had  implemented the rel=author tag, but ultimately did not link to the author’s Google+ account.

Implementation of rel=author on top tech blogs on top tech sites

Missed Opportunity to Improve CTRs

Studies have shown that the addition of rich snippets in search results can vastly increase click-through rates, with figures ranging from a 30% to 150% increase.  Given the significant increase in click-through rates the addition of graphical elements in the SERPs bring,  content sites should take advantage of the opportunity to stand out in the search results and implement the ‘rel=author’ tag. Check out this guide for step by step instructions on how to get set up.