New study reveals UK publishers, journalists and bloggers losing out to US in battle to generate more Google traffic
London – 30 April, 2012 – A new study suggests that in 13 per cent of Google UK searches at least one of the top 100 results incorporates new author profile information, including an author thumbnail image and links. However the majority of these are from US based sites, meaning UK journalists and publications are missing out on increased visibility, traffic and potential advertising revenue.
The author profile feature, known as authorship markup, is something that Google has been rolling out since last year. It helps news and other online publications and blogs generate more click-throughs while helping searchers find more articles by the same author. These author profile integrations appear in organic search results when a writer has produced an article which Google deems relevant to a searcher’s keyword query.
Currently journalists and bloggers who write about technology, medical and food topics are among those that are most visible in author profile integrations according to the study by search and social analytics company, Searchmetrics, which analysed Google UK search results relating to 1 million popular keywords.
UK writers in Searchmetrics’ list of the top 20 who most frequently appear in Google.co.uk author integrations (see table underneath) include Charles Arthur, the Guardian’s technology editor and Edward Chester, reviews editor at TrustedReviews.com.
“More writers from US based sites are appearing in the top 20 because authors generally need to have a profile on the Google Plus social network to be displayed in author integrations – and we assume more writers for US sites are on Google Plus and also Google has possibly encouraged some US sites to set up their articles for author integrations,” said Marcus Tober, founder and CTO of Searchmetrics.
To appear in the author integrations, the authors’ articles need to be linked (using specific web tags) to the authors’ Google Plus profiles.
“In an increasingly competitive market, author integrations are an opportunity for media sites, blogs and content creators to generate better visibility and traffic because more people click on a result when they see the author’s image in this way. This feature also introduces searchers to more content by the same author and allows them to connect with the author on Google Plus,” said Tober.
“It was surprising to see more than one in ten of the results tested are showing author integrations because this is still a new feature – it’s much higher than I expected,” added Tober.
The dominance of writers from US based sites in Google UK author integrations means there is a big opportunity for UK journalists and sites to get onto Google Plus and make themselves more visible using this new type of search entry suggests Tober.
Top 20 Author Profile Integrations on Google.co.uk
|Author||Writes for (includes)||Topic||Page 1 integrations*||Total integrations**|
|Elaine Lemm||NYT, About.com||Food||581||1989|
|Dr. Melissa Stöppler||WebMDNetwork||Medical||545||1412|
|Alison Doyle||About.com||Job search||438||1442|
|Dr. William Shiel||WebMDNetwork||Medical||403||866|
|Dr. Ben Wedro||MDDirect.org||Medical||328||877|
|Dr. John Cunha||WebMDNetwork||Medical||328||790|
|Cathy Wong||About.com||Alt Medicine||316||839|
|Laura Porter||Visit Britain, About.com||Travel||281||1929|
|Luke Westaway||CNET UK||Technology||254||1292|
|Laura K. Lawless||French.About.com||Languages||218||705|
|Richard Trenholm||CNET UK||Technology||200||1931|
*The number of times a writer appears in author profile integrations displayed on the first page of Google.co.uk search results in Searchmetrics’ study
**The total number of times a writer appears in author profile integrations displayed in Google.co.uk search results in Searchmetrics’ study
The author integrations feature is part of Google’s ongoing drive to improve searches by eliminating poor and duplicate content according to Tober, as well as being another way that Google is trying to get more users for Google Plus.
 In Searchmetrics’ study which examined Google UK search results for 1 million popular keywords, there was at least one author profile integration displayed in the top 100 positions for 133,887 of the results.
 When searchers click on the author’s image in an author profile integration, they are taken to a Google page displaying more articles by the same writer. If searchers hover over the author’s byline name in an author profile integration, they are given the opportunity to connect with the author on Google Plus. Searchers need to be logged into their Google accounts.
Further background about the author profile integration can be found at these locations:
About the Searchmetrics Study
The Searchmetrics study analysed the search results on Google.co.uk for 1 million popular keywords. The data was collated in w/c 23 April 2012.
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