Eric Schmidt: Identity will be vital for content to rank in Google

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Verified profiles could be a crucial Google ranking factor in future: after Eric Schmidt underlined the importance of trusted authors in his new book.

The Wall Street Journal has printed a series of excerpts from the Google chairman's book, The New Digital Age, detailing his thoughts on authorship, identity and search engine ranking.

One particularly significant excerpt reads: "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."

By building a presence through Google's authorship service, users will be able to boost rankings higher as they produce quality content.

This will present firms specialising in quality content as part of their Internet marketing services more opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

It has been said for several months that linking content to an authorship profile can help boost rankings: with more and more author images being displayed in the results, especially in news searches.

The presence of an image is also said to help boost clickthrough rates - as users are more likely to click stories with the author details shown.

Content writers will have to use the rel+"author" attribute to credit the writing to a real individual.

By doing this, the usual snippet in the search engine results page is changed slightly and rankings can then be altered by Google based around the authors' connections and Circles.

Google+ in essence will act as an identity verification network, as Eric Schmidt had previously outlined in a Q&A session at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International TV Festival in 2011.

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