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Google Authorship Verification, New Requirement

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 02/10/2012

It looks like I have until 1:30 PM before meetings kick in again. Miracle of miracles. Okay, make the most of it. It’s already 11:00 AM, and the morning was spent on meetings and emails and distractions. One of those distractions is trying to get my Google Author verification to work. I thought I fulfilled all the requirements already, but in Googling, I see that there is a submission form on which there is a checkbox to confirm the following:

Please indicate if you’ve done the following markup: I have used a rel=author parameter, and a + character is added at the end of the anchor text

Now, that’s news to me. I’m using a WordPress plug-in called, descriptively enough, “Easy rel=author plugin”. I takes the seemingly nice measure of hyper-linking the Author byline, which you’re using anyway in WordPress with the Google profile link. However, it doesn’t add a + in the anchor text, which would make it read: by Mike Levin+, which is a little strange. I guess the idea is that the vast majority of people will be linking on the word Google+, and Google is looking for something even easier to key off of to identify an author link than the parameter in the anchor tag. Hmmmmm.

Google Authorship Verification

I looked under the plug-in’s settings, and see no way to do it, so I either have to edit the plugin code itself, the WordPress code, contact the plugin author, or look for another plugin. News-flash: I removed the Easy rel=author plugin, and replaced it with a plain old Text widget, in which I wrote a little “About” myself, and put the link on my name, and the plus sign in the anchor text. It’s still a little odd, but I believe it was long overdue having that about on every page of my site to put the entire site in context.

Then, I submitted the Google Author verification form which happens to be a Google Docs form. Very interesting! I have to start thinking about using those as a way to interact with my web readers. I also sent them a note about how I’m using a logo rather than a headshot in order to build my personal brand, recognizability and trust. Hopefully, they agree.

Anyway, it is now 12:15, and distractions are really nuking me. Once 1:30 rolls around, it is meetings until 4:00. Adam made a really fantastic Powerpoint for the big boss for the 2:00 PM meeting, regarding getting the green-light to make my stuff public. Reva has done a couple more rounds of revisions on the documentation site, making it more cohesive with the company theme colors. The site looks fantastic. I am really thrilled to have such support on this. Once it’s out there, I believe it’s really going to cause quite a stir in SEO circles.

What is left? How should I use my remaining time?

SYSTEM STUFF: Put the cart before the horse, and create a system architecture on my own personal Rackspace using multiple servers and a load-balancer that will be an identical architecture to what I do for the public version, except in the capacity we pay for in the servers, and the number of server instances. It will just be a few control-panel button presses away from the public implementation.

HARDENING: Scour over the code and lock-down any features I don’t want released to the public, even as Easter eggs.

MORE CONFIGURABLE: Add more of the configuration variables to the configuration program, rather than hard-wired into the code, so breaking off new instances only requires running a program and answering questions, rather than editing files with a text editor.

UPDATED VIDEOS: Writing a new script for how to install the Tiger bookmark, and shoot new video for each web browser. This project has the nuance in that the sites where the app is going to be hosted for the public don’t exist yet. DNS entries need to be made, but I could edit my local host file and make it look like I’m working off of those sites. I would have to figure out how to edit the local host file for Mac OS X, because that’s where I figure I’m going to make the videos, and figure out the best screen capture to use on the Mac.

Well, with only an hour to go before meeting-hell begins again, I had better make my decision. Time to cut the journal entry.

UPDATE: This article isn’t the beginning and end of the things I did to make sure Google Author Verification actually worked. There turns out to be an “old approach” and a “new approach”. The old involves pointing your articles to an author page and the author page to your Google Profile page, and your Google Profile page back to your author page. The problem with this is that the Author page is somewhat arbitrary. It’s a page linked to from your articles with the rel=author attribute in the anchor text, and can be your WordPress auto-generated author page that summarizes your articles OR it can allegedly also be your About page, if it’s a one-author website. Determining WHICH page is your author page, and then working out the rel=publisher, rel=me, and all those other possible attributes turns out to be quite confusing, so Google decided to eliminate the need for the intermediary Author page, and allow you to link directly to your Google Plus profile page from your article pages, so long as you use rel=author in the link, and a “+”… yes, that’s right, a plus sign… in the anchor text, meaning the link either needs to look like” +Mike Levin, Mike Levin+ or Google+. It’s very interesting that they’re insisting on this being in the visible anchor text rather than just an attribute of the anchor tag or a parameter on the URL. They are forcing something to be visible on the article page. I believe Google is trying to “own” the + sign on the Web.