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5 Rules to Keep Your Sanity When Dealing with Google

You may have seen last week that Google abruptly — and almost offhandedly — announced it was terminating a key element of its future strategy for ranking content.

The Authorship program, which would let Google rank content according to the authority of the person who created it, was nuked on Thursday afternoon at the end of the business day on a Google+ thread.

It’s not really new behavior. Google is abrupt, secretive, and dismissive of the time and energy it encourages its users to put into its various programs.

Google giveth, and Google taketh away. With that in mind, +Sonia Simone wants to share five rules for keeping her sanity when dealing with Google:
If the termination of Authorship caused you more than a few moments of irritation, you may benefit from shifting the way you think about Google's programs.
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This is a fantastic article, and one that hits on a point that's irritated me for a long time about my colleagues in #contentmarketing  : Google is a for-profit corporation that is constantly doing exactly what we all should be doing in our own businesses - experimenting, optimizing, and looking ahead.  Just because they happen to control the (current) biggest opportunity out there to be organically discovered online doesn't mean those of us who want to be found have any right to dictate what they can or can't do with their search engine or any other tool they provide (mostly for free, btw!)
Thanks, +Sonia Simone for laying this on the table.  I'd love to see just once when Google makes a logical business decision and 900 of my colleagues DON'T jump up and down on their digital soapboxes waiving their fists in the air and ranting about how unfair it all is!  :-)
Last week I signed up for the +Copyblogger subscription and certification program. The value is that someone will not only keep me informed about things like this, but will tell me what, if anything, I need to do to respond. So thank you, +Copyblogger.
That's a great approach, +Copyblogger - I love the first point. You always need a backup plan because you simply never know.
I agree with this post 1000%. I hate it when someone lives and dies by Google - it's simply asking for trouble. But, and I say this with all due respect, isn't +Copyblogger doing this by pointing people to continue the conversation on Google+? This service could shut down next week, and even if you've still got Twitter to continue the conversation, you just lost thousands of comments to the big G. 
+Jane Weber Brubaker Soak up every minute of the certification program. Having gone through it already, I can tell you that it was worth it. I signed up primarily for the badge, but got genuinely educated and inspired. 
+Jason Unger we talked a lot about that when we switched comments over.

It's really a philosophical point -- I don't see comments as "assets" that I need to keep, I see them as an experience that I get to have. I benefit from the conversation, and then it's finished. If G+ implodes in a cloud of smoke tomorrow, that's okay, because I've still had that experience and it has still informed me.

That's not how everyone sees it, it's just how I see it. :) 
+Jason Unger I don't think so, because as soon as Google blows up Google+, the conversation will just switch to Facebook or Twitter, or back to the +Copyblogger blog comments, if necessary.  This falls right in line with taking advantage of the tools while they're here, not living and dying by Google. 
Don't live or die by the g. If they create a service that is awsome use it. If they kill a service. find a different one, don't wine for years that they kill your RSS reader. Just move on. There not killing things for the fun of it. You have to look at things at scale.
The Authorship program never had an impact on your ranking. This would be an "Author Rank", which was never confirmed by Google and could be easily achieved without any Authorship, just by processing the content, relationships, attributes, signals, markups, semantics, ... cc: +Sonia Simone 
+Bernd Rubel The rel=author markup seemed to be the mechanism by which they would have been able to implement Author Rank (or agent rank, as they called it in the patent applications), but they've indicated that they will not be attempting to use that markup to calculate content rankings after all. 

I don't agree that it can be easily achieved by Google without the Authorship information to keep a handle on the inevitable gaming, but they may surprise us. 
+Sonia Simone The authorship property is still an element in and all other schemas. Nothing has changed, just our profile pictures disappeared. This has no impact on any plans regarding an "Author Rank". Regarding search and ranking we always talked about authority, not about authorship.

The semantic progress, the identification and valuation of "authority" in general, make rel=author completely unnecessary. The "connection" is made on another level, that's all.
This article is right on target. I've been writing my whole life but only active in content marketing and, blogging in the last couple of years. I seem to have missed the days of wild west SEO - gratefully. I just apply the same principles to writing on line that have writing for clients for the last 20 years - I'm not breaking any records, but I've seen steady growth. I'm a little annoyed that I put time into Author Rank - but it didn't really reflect quality content - just those of use who took the time to sign up. 

 As fas as I can tell, this move by Google is consistent - rewarding quality content on its own merits. I'm sure they found that some content was receiving undeserved higher ranks.  Authentic, quality, content should rise above the rest - certainly that's the message I've heard from copyblogger

Best, Sam. 
+Bernd Rubel What you're saying is exactly what I said in April of 2013, in the article Sonia links to in this piece. So everyone is saying the same thing, really. ~ Brian
+Jason Unger Echoing Sonia's answer, I don't understand the mentality that regards comments as some sort of content asset. You have conversations and you learn from the feedback of your audience, but that's it. And in that regard, the conversation is happening in social media in general, regardless of whether this particular outpost continues to exist or not.
I love rule #2: Google owes you nothing. Also this quote: "Google giveth, and Google taketh away"
+Copyblogger Ok, now this makes sense. See, people start to mention Reader and the near death of G+ here - i thought it could be important to emphasize that small profile pictures have no meaning at all ;-)

Thanks for your hint.
+Brian Clark The conversation can happen anywhere - of course - but clearly there's value in those conversations, or else people wouldn't have them (and you wouldn't ask people to have them). Google+ is getting a lot more love from me today than it ever has because of your post, where otherwise you could have had more traffic, more searchable text and hosted (hopefully) an informed conversation that helps explain to your users why you thinking pointing people to Google+ isn't the same thing as relying on Google for other aspects of your online presence. You obviously have good reasons for pointing  people offsite to continue the conversation (and it doesn't affect me one way or the other), but if one day you ever want to go back and figure out who helped contribute to the conversation started by your post, and Google+ is gone, you won't be able to. 
+Jason Unger This is similar to the discussion we have about "Owned Media", that mostly results in #linkdumping  because all webmaster think that they have to lead their followers to their page asap, where the content can "convert".

Content and discussions "convert" in your and your followers brain, not on a platform. If your conversation was "successful", you will remember the persons who contributed. You will be connected not only on G+, but also on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, perhaps you already have their mail adress or their phone number.
+Brian Clark But surely comments have more value than that?

Yes you have the conversations and learn from feedback, but those comments can spur other people to join in, they can provide a sense of weight or importance to a piece of content, and are in themselves a form of user generated content that could end up benefiting a blog post if those comments remained on the page. I feel that a blog post would lose something valuable should all of its comments disappear tomorrow.

What was the primary reason for switching comments over to Google+? And why didn't you choose to use the Google+ comments feature where it's integrated into your own website?  
+Jason Unger This is the very same concern I had when Copyblogger moved comments to Google Plus. Copyblogger has excellent business reasons for doing so, but if Google should ever discontinue Google Plus, I will be very very depressed because all those great Copyblogger discussions will be forever lost. I like all the copyblogger discussions, because with them I could  develop about a thousand mega guest posts a year for copyblogger and other relevant blogs and keep everyone on social media sharing them 24/7/365. If we lose all the great copyblogger discussions because Google discontinues Google Plus, we will have lost a once in a lifetime valuable resource forever.
It will be interesting to see where G+ is a year from now. Without authorship, there is much less reason to spend a lot of time here. Personally, with their new publisher interface, LinkedIn might be a better place to take these comments and conversations.
+Chris Esty You know, I'd forgotten I had ever made that analogy (mean high school girl) but Brian mentions it from time to time, which got it back into my brain. 
+Chris Esty there has always seemed to be something missing in the G+ interface that has kept me from fully engaging. I've joined groups, but they seem to die rather quickly. With authorship, Google had a great bribe going to create content here. Without it, other social media is more compelling.
+John Richardson One of the only reason I stuck with Google+, for myself and my clients, was authorship. I struggle to see the value in this platform anymore. I know there is still an audience on here, so that's enough for some businesses to give it a go, but it's hard for me to recommend businesses use it when there are more important things to be spending time and budget on. 
I agree +Peter Meinertzhagen. They don't even have layered comments, so I'm not sure they are the best bet for a conversation. Personally I like LinkedIn much better for my business related audience.
Rule 1 - See 5
Rule 2 - See 5
Rule 3 - See 5
Rule 4 - See 5
Excellent article!  Google hasn't made any abrupt changes that affect my business, but I use adsense and analytics.  It's always good to have a well tuned backup plan for what to do if Google yanks the features I use.  As you wrote in the article, Google doesn't owe me anything, so while I can use their tools in my business, I shouldn't rely on them without having a clear Plan B.
Google kicked me off Adsense. Had just starting to see results. Google took my little and I Still haven't recovered...:-(
At the end of the day: Don't let Google intimidate you.
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