With Google+ being released for some time now (launched mid-2011), Google search results have changed forever by showing author information in particular, the faces of authors of items of content for search queries. I’ve used myself as an example below:
At first only available to the US, these rich search snippets are now available globally and are quite easy to setup. This feature gives authors the ability to distinguish and validate web content they have written within Google search results essentially being able to associate a “face to a name” on content they’ve created. In this blog post, I will detail how exactly to do it as well as talk about some advantages
- Dramatically increases CTR (click-through-rate) of your website in the search results which could result in more traffic + sales for your business!
- Allows you to “claim” your work and solidify your authority within your industry essentially serperating yourself from duplicate content (yay!)
- Connects readers and authors
- Promotes your Google+ profile to allow people to much more easily connect with you
- Builds credibility for yourself as an author
- Makes you feel good!
Setting it all Up!
- Option 1: Link your content to your Google+ profile via email
- Option 2: Linking your content and Google+ profile together via HTML
Whilst the first option may be easier for some people, the second option creates better exposure as it forces you to link your site to your Google+ profile and vice versa which is why I always recommend it. It’s also what we’re going to do here:
Linking your website and Google+ Profile
1. You need to link to your Google+ profile from your website, like this:
Replace the random string of numbers with your Google+ id (it can be found by visiting your Google+ profile page as shown in the screenshot below) and my name with yours!
2. You need to add a link back from your Google+ profile to the above site you just updated.
- Edit the contributor to section of your Google+ profile
- Add a custom link and enter your website URL
- Click save
Authorship and SEO (Authorank)
Whilst there is currently no direct link of having authorship setup and an SEO benefit, it is quite an obvious benefit to both users and Google in understanding content better. Matt Cutts (Head of Web Spam at Google) and Othar Hansson (Principal Engineer at Google) both hint at it becoming a possibility in the video below.
“We’re excited to think about how to we can use Authorship to improve rankings. If you think about it, if you have a scraper vs someone who has really got a lot of credibility, I love the idea of seeing the scraper not ranking and the real person rank” – Matt Cutts
“Just having an author photo next to results, will have a huge psychological effect on users. Even if they don’t click on it, they know that that’s an article where they can find the auhor and interactive with them and find out more about them.” – Othar Hansson
My feeling is this will change the game completely as this markup gets more traction and HTML5 becomes standard we’ll see many more authors in the SERPs (amongst other rich snippets) and content will become even more important. There are several articles out there talking about AuthorRank already and I think it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a ranking factor in the ever growing set of metrics that Google looks for when ranking a site.
In conclusion, to stay ahead of the game (or even stay in it at all) it is imperative that you setup Google Plus Authorship for yourself and your business as soon as possible! You should also make an effort to engage with other Google+ users by sharing content and “+1″ing things, making Google aware of your social accounts by pointing to them in your Google+ profile, and most importantly create great content and share it – everywhere!
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts/feedback/comments on this post as well as the direction of Google+/Authortship in general. Don’t be shy!