My church tells me that the only way to get into Heaven is for the Lord to recognize you, to know you by name. Likewise, with Google's latest algorithm update, Hummingbird, Google now demands that you trade your anonymity for a spot at the top of Google search.
Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird. Oh my!
In Panda then Penguin and now Hummingbird, Google has finally decided to put road-blocks and checkpoints on the Information Superhighway (or, at least the toll road known as Google) in order to foil misbehavior and to tamp down as much of the wonton manipulation of search, Google has implemented authorship associated with real names, real identities, reputation, track record, share-worthiness, popularity, true organic behavior and patterns of deep impact and authentic penetration.
Google is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with its winnowing fork.
In doing so, Google is not preventing anonymous content from existing online, it's giving preference to verified, identified and vouched-for content. It's a tacit tiering of the internet: real-name-verified authored content and everything else.
The image in my mind is the Registered Traveler at the airport: There's the CLEAR lane and then there's everone else. Personally, I am in the clear. It's blue skies for me, because I am an open book. I am verified and cross-checked and author-ized and associated with well-reputed and serious publications. I also rock a 78 Klout score (maybe that matters to Google? Maybe they're maintaining a "Glout" score on me, Chris Abraham, even if they're not tapping a reputation service) and am active on a majority of the social media and networking platforms including Twitter, Facebook, reddit, StumbleUpon, Tumblr and even Google+ (yes, Google Plus!).
Of course, there's always been first class, frequent-flyer programs and the like. Clear me, Google, Clear me! Now, all you have to do is jump through all the hoops that Google has put before you well in advance and you'll be good to go (and don't forget to share as much about you as you can -- and even more than you think and are comfortable with.)
Registering your true name, your authorship, with GoogleHere's what do you need to do to in order to get started.
- Join AdWords, even if you don't plan to advertise.
- Join AdSense, even if you don't plan to host ads on your website.
- Join Google Webmaster tools and add and verify all of your sites.
- Join Google Analytics and fully implement tracking software on all the sites you have access to.
- Be sure to register for Google+
- Fill out everything about yourself, especially everything Google asks your Google Account page -- everything, don't be shy or try to rush through it.
- Make sure you connect all of your blogs, published and social accounts at Google Connected Accounts.
- Head over to Google Authorship to make sure you're on your way to becoming completely G-Verified.
- If you're especially canny, you can take the bold step of submitting your blogs to Google to be considered as a news source for Google News.
Whether this verification is in any way associated with ad buys on AdWords is still to be seen, though why wouldn't it? Porn sites have always verified age and real name through running a credit card, right? What better way to verify your right to exist than spending lots of money on Google ads? This is conjecture (this, and everything else I have ever written: conjecture and experience).
Google rewards you for opting-in to a real name, authorship, model
The Google Authorship system rewards you in direct proportion to how much you share about yourself, your demographic, your professional experience, your education, the things you love to do and the places you love to go.
Not to be cynical but this is a value for value model: Are you willing to flesh out all of your own personal and demographic details in direct trade for preferred organic results on search? This is partially a trade but it's also based on the assumption that if you don't have anything to hide, you shouldn't mind being more upfront about who you are and what your agenda is. And because, of course, black hat SEO link farms have been taking advantage of the anonymous nature of the Internet forever.
You want to make sure that when -- not if -- your site is "pulled over," and Google asks for your ID, you have current, stamped and legal papers to proffer. In the new verified world of Google Hummingbird, you really want to make sure you stay on the righteous side of the wall.