Google has an author search. Did you know that? We’ve been talking about author authority for some months now, and in earnest for about the past five or six. When rel=author was announced back in June, the SEO world went nutso talking about “SEO is dead” and “The Era of Linkbuilding is Over” and “We all have to go in-house now” and all sorts of craziness.
I’ve always been a fan of author authority. During a recent discussion, a trusted friend brought up that it’s now interesting that people are moving away from the authority of a site, and now moving more towards reading content because it was written by a certain author. I certainly think that is true. I at least am more inclined to read a post on certain sites if I know who wrote it, instead of just the title. Knowing the author helps to weed out the noise that is prevalent in the SEO/online marketing industry.
But back to the point at hand. Authors. In search. We all know that when we search for a topic, sometimes we will see someone’s face staring right back at us, like so:
But there is also this nifty little link that was pointed out to me last week by a coworker:
When you click that “More by (author)” link, you get taken to a page where you see all of the posts written by that author for that topic. Pretty awesome, right?
That’s cool and all, but how can we take it further? Lucky for you, I did a little digging (it wasn’t too hard, to be honest) and found some cool learnings that we can use for many different reasons, not the least of which being link prospecting.
The other day I found a way to pull all of a Google verified authors posts by manipulating the URL. To make your life easier, I have created a bookmarklet for you to use when you are on someone’s Google+ page.
Get the bookmarklet:
Here’s the TL;dr (too long; didn’t read) steps for you. If you care more about the technical details, read on below these.
Technical: What this bookmarklet does is first search for the person whose Google+ URL you are on:
It then brings up a custom search for that person:
Type in a query for that person:
And you get all of the posts for that query written by that person on the sites they are verified on, like so for Danny:
Here is a video about how to use it:
Once again, get the bookmarklet:
Deconstructing the URL
Let’s get slightly technical for a minute. If you are an SEO, you should be able to hang with this.
What this bookmarklet does is pull the person’s First+Last name and Google+ ID. It takes you to a custom search for that person. You enter the query and you are returned all of the posts that the person has written on sites that they are verified for. At worst, you’ll find a bunch of results where they’ve been mentioned. Not bad, right?
Let’s deconstruct the URL and I will show you the important parts of it that you must change in order to use Author Search for your needs.
Here’s the URL for a search for “43 answers to questions about seo rand”, once I have clicked on the above highlighted “More by Rand Fishkin” link:
There are three key parts that you need to know about:
- The search query section;
- The author’s Google+ ID;
- The Author’s name
Here you see how the query is constructed:
As you can see, the query begins with “&q=” then has the query, with each word separated by a +.
Next, we find the author’s Google+ ID, as seen here in the above URL:
And finally we find the author’s name, which is in the format of “First+Last”, with the first and last names capitalized:
So now we know the different sections of the URL that we need to change. Remember, the Google+ ID and name come from their Google+ account.
Why You Care
The reason I just walked you through that little tutorial of the URL is because you can now change these variables in the URL so that you can find articles written around a topic by any author whose authorship has been verified by Google. Like this guy:
This is HUGE. Check it out.
When I manipulate the above URL to Danny Sullivan’s name, his Google+ ID, and the search query set to search engine optimization, I get this:
As I am sure many of you are thinking, this could be awesome for linkbuilding, especially guest posting, because now you can know posts that the author has written around the Internet (if they are verified for multiple sites, like Tom Critchlow is for Moz and Distilled) and can tailor your pitch to them.
Here are some more examples:
Once again, to make your life easier, I have created a bookmarklet for you to use when you are on someone’s Google+ page.
Get the bookmarklet:
See the steps listed in the first section about for how to use it properly.
I hope this is useful to you. I’d love to hear thoughts you have about other ways to use it.