Even though Hummingbird and the semantic web are working to rule out any attempts to game Google’s carefully engineered system, there isn’t still a temptation to try tricks and shortcuts to increase traffic and click-through rates. However, Google wants those attempts to be actual best practices that improve user experience, hence the importance of in-depth articles on page ranking.
As Brafton reported, Google’s Matt Cutts has emphatically stated AuthorRank, a theoretical technology that could assign authority to certain writers is not being used to rank content just yet. On the other hand, Authorship is at play, but it only gives weight among in-depth articles.
Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller recently came forward to address the question in a Webmaster Help thread. He confirmed it still only applies to in-depth pieces, stating:
“My recommendation is not to focus too much on your competitors, but rather to work on making your site the by far absolute best of its kind – focus on your users, don’t focus on your competitors’ sites.”
UX reigns supreme over nearly everything
User experience has to be the single-most important aspect of any branded website, period. Metrics are only as good as marketers’ ability to judge UX and customer satisfaction, and any features that purport to help search rankings only do so because they make finding information simpler. Case in point: Schema markup.
Schema isn’t the easiest change to implement for most content marketing teams. While about a third of Google search results incorporate Knowledge Graph results, only about 1 percent of websites have actually integrated the markup code. However, more instances of Schema integration are popping up every day. Bing, for instance, has added thousands of new entities for foods, ingredients and medications to its info cards, providing a richer experience for users on the hunt for relevant information.
Brands should be conscious of this tendency on the web. They may not want to make all of their data available for search engines to display, but the more websites embrace this richer definition of the internet, the more accustomed users will be to clicking on carousels for location-specific results At a minimum, enriching a site with video, pictures and other media will ensure that businesses are more visible in SERPs.