At the end of September, Google confirmed that there would be additional benefits for those with authorship status. One of the benefits mentioned was additional sitelinks (the additional links that appear under the main listing in the SERPs) for those who have begun using the rel=”author” tag to connect their Google+ accounts. Some blogs were reporting seeing this phenomenon in the wild, but sadly we were one of the unlucky ones that had yet to see it with our own eyes, until a few days ago.
Although we’re not having much success replicating this on our desktops or laptops it appears that they’re unveiling the feature on mobile devices and it’s something we were able to see, and replicate.
Here is a quick Google search using Safari Mobile on iOS 6.
When you scroll down the page and find Graham Charlton’s photo the search result starts as a single link. The links below don’t appear until you’ve visited the website, and then clicked back on the browser to the search results. Upon returning to the search results page, we’re met with three additional links to articles that Google deems relevant to our search term. It shouldn’t be a surprise to know that the three additional links (two new links – one additional link to the same article we originally clicked) were also authored by Graham Charlton.
It seems that not only is claiming authorship good for the website you’re writing for, it’s also beneficial to the author as it showcases additional work from said author that Google thinks you’ll find relevant to your search query.
The interesting thing here is that it seems the extra sitelinks aren’t just appearing after you click off to the site and return back to the search results. It appears that time on site figures into the equation somehow. It seems there is a magical number of seconds you have to spend on the site before clicking back to the search results if you expect to see the additional sitelinks.
When writing this post, I attempted to get a few more examples but it appears that the search queries in which we discovered this phenomenon were no longer allowing us to replicate the original results, and we received no luck with new search queries either.
It appears that this feature is still in the testing phases and we may or may not see more if it in coming months. That said, it might be time to give some thought to connecting your Google+ account to the content you create. Authorship appears to have its advantages.