Disclaimer: This post is not everything you need to know about social media and search engines. But is about where search engines are headed with regard to verifying the identities of authors.
At WSJ, in The Future According To Google’s Eric Schmidt: 7 Points, Tom Gara shares a quote from an interview with Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt:
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
Information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification.
But this is not news. There has been speculation and predictions about the impact the social web for years. Even I tossed a hat into the web 3.0 prognostication ring.
Side note, which social profiles do you think Google is likely to give the most weight? I have some hunches...
As AJ Kohn notes, Google revealed that it gave $1.2 million dollars in awards to those undertaking social computing research:
We know that interactions on the Web are diverse and people-centered. Google now enables social interactions to occur across many of our products, from Google+ to Search to YouTube. To understand the future of this socially connected web, we need to investigate fundamental patterns, design principles, and laws that shape and govern these social interactions.
We envision research at the intersection of disciplines including Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Social Science, Social Psychology, Machine Learning, Big Data Analytics, Statistics and Economics. These fields are central to the study of how social interactions work, particularly driven by new sources of data, for example, open data sets from Web2.0 and social media sites, government databases, crowdsourcing, new survey techniques, and crisis management data collections. New techniques from network science and computational modeling, social network and sentiment analysis, application of statistical and machine learning, as well as theories from evolutionary theory, physics, and information theory, are actively being used in social interaction research.
We’re pleased to announce that Google has awarded over $1.2 million dollars to support the Social Interactions Research Awards, which are given to university research groups doing work in social computing and interactions. Research topics range from crowdsourcing, social annotations, a social media behavioral study, social learning, conversation curation, and scientific studies of how to start online communities.
But it's always fun to see predictions come true. But as AJ notes:
I believe Google wants to use Author Rank but I also believe that it’s far more difficult than we think. Focusing solely on Author Rank may blind us to tracking Google’s progress and building what is truly important. Authority.
We're (read Google's) not quite there yet. But we know that's the direction they're moving. And we know that it will have an impact on SERPs.
But the great point is that instead of focusing on how to "game" Author Rank, you need to focus on building your authority. Which means real law firm stuff (#RCS).
Which is why one of the most important SEO questions you should be asking yourself is:
What are you doing offline that people are likely to talk about online?