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Why Writers Should Be On Google+

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Forget about the ghost town label that’s been stuck on Google+. And it doesn’t matter if you won’t actively use Google+ (perhaps Twitter, Facebook and what else are sufficient for you). You should still create a Google+ account. Why? Because Google can display your author information, which it obtains from your Google+ profile, in its search results. This can boost your image… literally.

The search result page is no longer just hyperlinks any more. They now come with small square author pictures and the authors’ names below individual search results. It’s nifty. Plus it also gives readers the option to visit your Google+ profile straight from a search page from which they may even start following you and click on links you post or read other articles you’ve written. Readers also have the option to filter their search results to only show other articles you’ve written.

To include author information to search results, Google has to match your Google+ profile (it has to be public) with your articles. It’s not difficult to set up, as shown by this tutorial, and does not require any genius computer or coding skills, thankfully.

Author information in search results is still a Google pilot project but a quick Google search will clearly show that a number of people have already adopted it—especially bloggers. To be honest, I don’t know if author information gives you an advantage (e.g. pulls in more clicks) over others in the search results battle. From my own experience however, I find that I click on those results with author information more often, even if I’ve never heard of the authors.

In any case, it is becoming increasingly important to market yourself. You have to be out there networking and you have to work on your online presence and visibility. Perhaps having Google show your author information under articles you’ve written is a box you’d want to tick.

Khalil A. Cassimally About the Author: Khalil A. Cassimally is the Community Coordinator of The Conversation UK. He's also a science blogger. He hails from a tropical island and is a happy geek. Subscribe to his updates on Facebook and Google+. Follow on Twitter @notscientific.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. paigekbrown 7:50 am 07/12/2012

    Interesting Khalil… I wonder if you are giving up some freedom in your Google search results doing this though … goes Google then try to match your own search results with your profile info? I find that selective media filter bubble deal a bit scary.

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  2. 2. notscientific 8:26 am 07/12/2012

    Paige—You are right that writers (and others) should factor in the filter bubble effect and giving Google even more data before opting to sign up on Google+.
    Google uses info that it’s accumulated about you from all its myriad of products to tailor search results for you specifically. It does so even if you don’t have a Google+ profile (of course, a profile provides Google with more info about your person). What more is that I don’t think you can turn off social search results from Google any more. So, yes, clearly Google is making you live in a bubble. And so does Facebook. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, I agree.

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  3. 3. Bora Zivkovic 10:19 am 07/12/2012

    There is an excellent article about filter-bubbles, if you are interested:

    Also, G+ is a ghost town if you follow randomly, which means you are following the wrong people. If you follow the right people, there is tons of great discussion there.

    Link to this
  4. 4. notscientific 2:31 pm 07/12/2012

    Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble is an eye-opener. My review of the book is unfortunately behind a paywall but I think Paige’s read it as well (perhaps explains why she’s hesitant about the whole G+ thing).

    Link to this
  5. 5. ccaviness 4:50 pm 07/12/2012

    Three things:

    First regarding being able to turn off social search, of course you still can. It’s right there at the top.

    Second, Bora is absolutely correct. Google+ is what you make of it. If you join twitter and don’t follow anyone, _it’s_ a ghost town. Follow some interesting people. There are tons of great shared circles – Fraser Cain’s science circle is probably a great start for this crowd.

    Third, the “About the Author” blurb only mentions Facebook and Twitter. Oh cruel irony!

    Link to this

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