Key Points from Interview with Sagar Kamdar
This interview transcript is from the March 13th, 2012 conversation I had with Sagar Kamdar, who heads up the authorship program at Google. This provided some simple, straightforward clarity on how it works, and some of the various scenarios for implementation. Here are some of the key points from the interview:
- Google sees the authorship program as a way to connect authors and readers who are a fan of their work.
- The original 3 link method is still supported. This is documented in detail in the main interview, along with a graphic image of how it works.
- They came up with the 2 newest methods because people were having trouble executing the 3 link method, in some cases because it was too confusing.
- The 2 link method only requires that the content on the site link to the author’s Google profile with a ?rel=author parameter, and the Google profile lists the site in the “Contributor To” section of the profile. This is documented in detail in the main interview, along with a graphic image of how it works.
- The email method only requires that your email address be verified and use the domain name of the site where the article is published, and that the email be included in the attribution for the article. This is documented in detail in the main interview, along with a graphic image of how it works.
- The email method was created because some authors do not have the ability to add a link as specified in the 2 link method.
- It is OK to put sites in the Contributor To section (provided you contribute to them) even if you don’t get rel=author links back.
- The Authorship Request functionality has been retired, though there is a simple form there now for verifying an email for the Email method.
- Anyone who properly implements rel=author is eligible for participation. It only requires that you have a high quality photo in your Google profile.
- When you first show up depends primarily on crawling and indexing time. This may take days or weeks depending on your site.
Full Interview Transcript
Eric Enge: Can you provide us an overview of your background and your role at Google?
Sagar Kamdar: Sure, I am a product manager on the search team. I have been at Google for about four years, spent most of my time on search, spent my time on a variety of projects like real-time search, and webmaster tools. Actually, my first project was external evangelism with search engine specialists and most recently I have been focused on authorship and some of our social search efforts that you have seen out in the wild.
Eric Enge: There has been this longstanding problem of people who are the original author of content not necessarily being the first to show up for their content, and I think that it is really great that we are starting to have a method by which authors are identified. Can you provide some thoughts on what the authorship program is all about?
The main thing that we are trying to address is the faceless nature of the web.
Sagar Kamdar: The main thing that we are trying to address is the faceless nature of the web. For many years people have been clicking on content not knowing who created it, and not knowing who commented on it. What we are seeing is that users really want to know who created that bit of content. Users know who their favorite authors are, and we’re trying to make it easy for them to communicate with those author(s).
We want to make it easy for authors to get setup and then for searchers to be able to find the content they create. So if they search for “iPad” and they like David Pogue, they are more likely to see what David Pogue has written about the iPad. Authors benefit as well because they get attributed to their content and also they can engage with the users in a way they haven’t before.
Eric Enge: I think it is particularly interesting when you look at it because many well-known authors are published on many different sites.
Now we have this feature where users can say show me all content by Ben Parr, for example.
Sagar Kamdar: It is actually one of the coolest features we have for authors. We have all these people that are publishing on five or six different publications and their own blog and users can’t keep track of all that content. Now we have this feature where users can say show me all content by Ben Parr, for example.
Editor: This is how it looks in Google’s search results:
Editor: Here is the Author Page for Ben Parr on Google: