There are many different tech blogs online, with varying profiles and readerships. You would assume that the people responsible for running them would be relatively aware of, and familiar with SEO and other techniques that can help to drive traffic.
However, a new study published last month found that just nine per cent of tech blogs are actually implementing Google’s authorship information service, in order to make their sites more visible and improve clickthrough rates from SERPs.
In order for the ‘rel=author’ tag to operate correctly, it must be implemented on individual posts as well as being linked to the Google+ account of the writer in question, which seems a relatively simple way to improve engagement from search users.
However, the ‘rel=author’ tag remains a relatively under-used feature, with figures gathered in July 2012 suggesting that more than 90% of tech blogs are either ignoring it altogether or failing to implement it in its fullest form.
The benefits of using this tag have been proven in various studies, with some suggesting that CTRs can be improved by as much as 150%. Even the most conservative estimates suggest that proper authorship attribution using Google can increase CTRs by 30%, which is hardly to be ignored.
Part of the reason that CTRs are increased by the use of the author tag is that it adds an extra graphical element to the search results, creating a more eye catching and thus appealing link which is going to encourage users to click it in preference to the standard links which surround it.
Of course the counterpoint to this argument is that the tech blogs that bother to implement the author tag are only likely to see benefits for as long as adoption remains low. If SERPs end up cluttered with author information and Google+ profile pictures, it will once more become harder to stand out from the crowd.
Whether or not this new information will cause a flurry of new ‘rel=author’ activity and a reassessment as to how tech blogs implement it remains to be seen.
It certainly makes sense for any tech-oriented sites out there to make themselves as visible as possible, particularly if by doing so, sooner rather than later they will get the edge over the competition and improve CTR.
With competition for first page organic listings becoming ever more intensive, any tactic that can improve visibility and CTR should be appealing.