Yesterday Google made another change to search. It started included authors in the search results, taking the data from the Author Authority markup which it introduced a few weeks ago.
The idea is that if you search for an author by name or even the name of their blog, you will see in the search results other content written by them.
At the moment it is too early to tell if being a great author for one site will actually lift the others in search for phrases which are not directly related to your name / brand. However, this could well become a feature in the search index in time.
It really does seem that Google is trying to move away from the “simple” PageRank system of ranking pages based on links (which SEOs have been exploiting for years) and moving to a more social networking, quality content and reputation ranking. Sites will rank best when people like them.
Although that begs the question, in years to come, how will new sites get a foot hold at all? Maybe off-web marketing, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook will all play a much larger role.
An example that Matt Cutts (Google search team) shared yesterday was that if you search Google for “Daggle” you should see Danny Sullivan’s image to the right of the result. Below his photo is a link to Danny Sullivan’s Google+ Page.
So far I have not seen this work, but then I am not linking to my Google+ page but to my other author pages. Maybe it only works when you link to Google+, as in the case of Danny Sullivan it is his Google Profile pic that is showing.
I will have a play later and see if linking to my Google+ profile will get my face in the Google results pages.