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Improved Clicks Data In Author Stats?

As many of you may have heard, there was an update today in "Search Queries” data in Google Webmaster Tools. The update now shows exact data points, not round numbers e.g. click on “Top Pages” and you’ll notice  improved keyword data for your pages.

When viewing my Author Stats, I also noticed that I was receiving new clicks data for posts that weren't showing clicks earlier in the week. 

Has anyone else in the community noticed a similar change in their reports?


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Digital Signatures and Cross Contamination

+Pedro Matias and I had a discussion earlier this week, and were hoping to get some feedback and opinions about Google Accounts and reputation scores associated with those accounts. The discussion came about after Pedro asked for my thoughts after reading/watching a whiteboard Friday video from +Ian Lurie on the Ideagraph:

One of the basic ideas behind the idea of authorship and an author rank style of reputation score is that you are connected to the content that you create through the use of a Google Account that uniquely identifies you as yourself.

But, there are other tasks and other uses behind that unique account identifying you as yourself. These can include managing Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools accounts for a number of sites, including those owned and run by clients.

Sometimes clients have run afoul of Google and have incurred problems being impacted by Panda and Penguin updates, and may have come to you for help. As part of the process of helping them, you ask for access to their Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools account, and you use your Google Account email address to gain access to those.

Given the fact that your account is the key to your unque digital signature that something like your reputation score might be based upon, might there be some risk of harm in associating sites together that you might only manage Webmaster Tools and Analytics accounts for, and sites that you create content for? 

Do the affinities that you create between the sites by your relationship with them create a possibility that you might negatively impact sites related together only by your relationship with them?

My response to Pedro was that since you aren't claiming authorship over the content at these sites, you aren't claiming control over the content that appears upon them in any way, and you aren't connecting them together in a manner that could possibly negatively impact them.  I have worked with some site owners who have come to me because they needed help after losing traffic because of Panda and Penguin. I also am connected to successful sites that haven't shown any problems, through Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics access. I told Pedro that I didn't think that there was any risk of cross contamination based upon those connections.

But being asked to think about the possibility makes you start to question it, and Pedro told me that he thinks there's a possibility that it might. I suggested that we bring the topic to this community, to see if we could elicit responses and thoughts from community members, including from +AJ Kohn, +Mark Traphagen and others like +Ammon Johns, +Gianluca Fiorelli, +Ian Lurie. If someone from Google has some thoughts on the topic, such as +Othar Hansson or +John Mueller or +Matt Cutts, we'd appreciate hearing your thoughts as well       .

Using digital signatures to connect authors with content that they've written, edited, reviewed, or commented on (all roles mentioned in the original Agent Rank patent) does seem to make sense. But Google Accounts are used for other purposes at Google as well, including email addresses, Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics access, and more. By making connections with others through those, are we possibly creating a risk of cross contamination between websites?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions.

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Someone +1'd your post on Google+. What does it mean?

Most social networks provide users with a means of content appreciation. You can like a Facebook post, you can favorite a tweet, and you can love an image on both Instagram and Pinterest.

Google+ uses the +1 button. Like the other networks, clicking the +1 button on a post can indicate that you appreciate the content. But, the +1 count is much more than that.

+Dustin W. Stout demonstrated through his social experiment last year that the +1 count outside of the Google+ network reflected more than just the number of people you pressed the +1 button. The +1 count also increased when someone linked to the blog post within Google+ and when someone reshared the Google+ post. (You can read more about his experiment on social signals here: +Ben Fisher confirmed this and further observed that user comments also increased the +1 count. (You can see Ben's full article here: The +1 count outside of Google+ is not just a tally of appreciation. It is actually a reflection of total engagement.

So, what does a +1 communicate within the Google+ network?

I've been thinking about this lately because I was going over the way I personally use the +1 button. I realized that, while I'd like to think that everyone follows the same thought process I do, I know for a fact that they do not. While checking notifications like '[User] +1'd your post', I caught myself thinking:

I know what I mean when I +1 a post, but what do they mean?

The +1 button is different than other social network appreciation buttons in that it's less explicit. Whether they're used exactly in that way or not, a Facebook like implies that you 'liked' a post; a Twitter favorite implies that you rank that tweet as among your 'favorites'; an Instagram love implies that you 'love' that photo.

But, +1?

That's not even a word.

+Ryan Hanley described this ambiguity perfectly when he mentioned in a recent post that, for a very select group of people who consistently produce quality content, he sometimes +1's a post without reading it in it's entirety. (See Ryan's post here: Some people who responded agreed with him. Some understood his perspective but noted that they didn't normally +1 posts that hadn't read. Some even thought that this particular practice hurt his credibility.

I thought I would find out from all of you. How do you use the +1 button? What do you mean when you press the +1 button?

These are my own +1 practices:

→ I +1 posts that I've read and have found useful or helpful to me.
If I've +1'd your post, it means that I've read the whole thing. In this, Ryan and I differ, but for a very good reason: I circle fewer people than Ryan, and fewer people circle me. This makes a big difference in available reading and response time which means that Ryan probably can't read every post he would like to.

→ I sometimes +1 posts I disagree with
While I might not agree with an argument put forth, if it's well-formed and thought-provoking, that is still very useful to me.

→ I'm more likely to +1 GIF or photo-only posts without comment
While I think this follows for most people, the reason why I +1 a GIF or photo post is generally obvious from the post itself and does not need further explanation.

→ I don't feel the need to +1 posts I simply 'appreciate'
Because my personal focus on Google+ is conversation, I'm less likely to +1 a post if I don't feel I have anything useful to add. I think this is where I differ from the majority of Google+ users. I don't really use the +1 button as a validation tool. I appreciate a lot of things on Google+, but I don't +1 them all. As over-the-top as it might seem, I prefer that my +1's carry a heavier meaning. If I +1 your post, you can safely assume that I've received your message, and I thought it was communicated well (unless otherwise noted in a comment).

→ EXCEPTION: I +1 all comments on my posts as soon as read them
These +1 'rules' do not apply in the same way to people who leave comments on my posts. Because I want to acknowledge that I've seen your comment, I +1 all comments I read (unless it's obvious spam).

In the end, I think that the +1 is purposefully more ambiguous than appreciation indicators on other social media networks. There's no one 'right way' or 'best practice,' but it's good to consider how we communicate. At least in my personal experience, the ambiguity of the +1 encourages me to engage in a more specific way (i.e. comments, reshares). This leads to better conversation which is what I love about Google+ in the first place.

How do you use the +1 button?

EDITED TO ADD: +Ben Fisher mentioned a great post by Gplus Expertise that's called '50 Things a +1 Could Mean' that complements this post well: +

#GooglePlus #engagement #socialmedia #communication

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Probably already quoted in this group : a very good video workshop about state of the art in authorship although I noticed a consequence between rel=publisher and publishing the company logo that is not so true nor so easy to do I guess (?)

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Google Authorship. What it is, what it isn't, where we've been and where we're going. This Authorship resource includes many high quality links for the most important aspects to Google Authorship.

We also cover the recent reduction in Authorship, what that means and why it happened courtesy of +Mark Traphagen's research.

No discussion of Authorship would be complete without a mention of Author Rank, and we cover that as well. Author Rank is not yet confirmed, but there is strong evidence to suggest that Google is working toward understanding author authority.

h/t +John Dietrich and +Matthew Jackson 

#googleauthorship   #googleauthorrank   #thinkblogpost   

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Quick Guide to Scaling Your Authorship Testing with Screaming Frog

+Kane Jamison has put together a great process for detecting if Authorship markup and rel=publisher is working on a page using two tools some of us use already: Screaming Frog and The Structured Data Testing Tool.

While you could quickly crawl a website to detect if markup exists on a page using custom filters, as we all know, sometimes there can be varying issues with implementation that will prevent Authorship from working on a page.

Kane has provided a downloadable custom Excel template in his post which contains a formula that will run all of the URLs you've included through the SDTT tool and organizes the responses for you in the custom text filters you'll set up. 

Read Kane's full post on +Moz here:

It's a creative process, and Kane provides a few ideas to expand the concept using search volume, current ranking position, etc., so be sure to read the full post.

Even though Google may  now be looking beyond Authorship markup to assist it in evaluating authorities and entities, implementation still provides value and is beneficial for the following reasons:

-> Can increase CTR for your result
-> Can provide you with Author stats 
-> Still may add credibility and trust to the content you publish


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Is Hummingbird the Key to a Real Author Rank?

By +Bill Slawski 

Is Hummingbird the key to understanding the expertise of an author for things like In-Depth articles, and a possible future Author Rank? With content from an author considered using a concept-based knowledge base, it’s quite possible.

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The Author Rank Building Machine Infographic

A spectacular animated inforgraphic from +Vertical Measures (ht +Arnie Kuenn) that shows how to build author-subject authority online.

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