Google Shows Circle Counts for People In Search Results

Circle count comes to authorship markup

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Google Shows Circle Counts for People In Search Results
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Lately, Google has been placing a lot of emphasis on the importance of who you are on the web. That’s why they want you to use your real name on Google+ (or more broadly, your Google Profile).

This thinking certainly applies to search. This year, Google introduced authorship markup, which helps Google associate various content from a person with that person in search results, and ultimately gets that person’s profile prominence in Google search results. If you ever see a little image of a person off to the side of a search result, which is clickable (leading to that person’s profile), this is likely what you’re seeing.

It’s good for authors to gain exposure, and it helps readers establish some level of trust by simply knowing where a result is coming from (regardless of whether or not they actually trust any specific author). In fact, Google is so concerned about this, it doesn’t even want authors to have profile pictures that are the least bit unprofessional. For example, I know a guy who was using a picture of himself in his Halloween costume for his profile picture, and a Googler actually contacted him and asked him to change it. There was nothing bad about the picture, they just wanted a regular picture of him for his profile pic, presumably so people wouldn’t see anything goofy in the search results, and hurt the perception of Google’s rankings, even if the content it showed up next to was perfectly legitimate.

Google recently posted a pair of videos explaining how to implement authorship markup, if you need a bit of guidance:

It would appear that Google considers how many people have you in Circle on Google+ to be some indication of who you are now.

The Next Web says an unnamed source confirmed that the next step of Authorship Markup is to show the number of Circles you’re in on the search results pages. You can already see it in action for some people.

Circle counts in search results

This actually makes the whole Circle limit thing a little more interesting. If you can only have so many people in your Circles on Google+, you’re not going to want to add just anybody right? In an article this week, we called for Google to get rid of Circle limits because it limits our access to information through Google+, but is this the mindset Google has here?

The bigger names on the web are going to have more connections, so if they can’t put every one of them into a Circle, they’re only going to want to put their top connections in there. I don’t know if this is the way Google is looking at things, but it raises an interesting point, especially with the attention that Klout has been getting (and now its new competitor Kred).

While we don’t know that the number of Circles you are in is a search ranking signal, it seems very likely. Remember, when Google was talking about authorship markup, they said they want to “get information on credibility of authors from all kinds of sources, and eventually use it in ranking.” It seems pretty logical that circle count could play a role.

If I’m wanting to get more Google search respect, I’m trying to get in more Circles.

Google Shows Circle Counts for People In Search Results
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  • Chris Picanzo

    Well it seems to be a good thing for anyone that writes their own content on a website or blog. It would give a sense of authority to the author and seemingly aggregate more traffic to that space. I would feel more comfortable clicking an article with a name and face connected to it than I would just a random URL. As someone who writes content for my own site I am all for it! I do hope that google don’t limit the numbers in your circle as that may harm some people that could gave a large legit following.

  • http://www.CaptainCyberzone.com CaptainCyberzone

    So, put me down as Captain Cyberzone … they can go to my site and see a picture of me.
    The problem I have with this “circle” is that more and more Google, like Facebook, is trying to milk every bit of “profile” (personal information) out of everyone and I know, and hopefully so do the others, that it’s mean-end is not to make my search more acurate and plesant but rather for “power & money”.

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  • http://www.v3nu5reload.wen9.net henvenus

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  • thierry kauffmann

    Since when does Google know anything about authorship, ranking of a person, or the kind of picture you want on your profile? Numbers as measure of importance? There is no substitute for content, meaning, relevance. What would have been Mozart’s ranking in his time?

  • http://www.ivdisplays.com/ Vinay Menon

    I actually was surprised to see my image in Search Results for the Blogs I have been writing, now I understand the reasoning behind such feature. Circles is another feature which will definately have some bearing on Search Results, I hope they restrict this to Authorship.

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    I marked a ton of my content the way Google said to — videos and articles all over the internet, literally hundreds and hundreds of pieces of content. I though that these were supposed to show up in my list of +1s but so far I’ve seen nothing. Any experience with this or any ideas as to why they haven’t? Or, am I right thinking that they’re supposed to show there at all?

  • http://www.accentudate.com Paul Smith

    I agree with the idea but with a name like mine for instance, making it stand out can be difficult. Just google “paul smith” and you’ll see what I mean.

  • http://www.owendaniel.com Owen Daniel

    I finally managed to get my site and blog authorised and linked to my G+.. I like the new features but I do think this opens G+ up to be a place for spamming and gaining followers regardless to boost SEO, rather than an organic and genuine social media tool..

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