Incorporate Google Authorship Today
Running a business blog can be a great way to grow your audience of potential customers and your authority as an expert on the web. However, the internet is far more competitive than it used to be, and these days it’s not enough to simply upload your written work and wait for the masses to discover it.
On the Internet today, people want to know who wrote the article, what that person does for a living (or at least what they are good at), and maybe even connect with them. Putting an identity to the writer in question is very important to a lot of readers nowadays. Google’s answer to this problem is Authorship, which not only helps your readers connect with your blog’s writers but can also help when it comes to search results.
What is Google Authorship and How Can It Help?
Essentially, Google Authorship is a way of putting a face to a name on the Internet. Google is developing a ranking system, aptly named Author Rank, which is already starting to influence search results in small ways. Under this system, building authority as an online writer will result in higher ranking in the search results – and the price of anonymity will be irrelevance, as your articles fall lower than those built up by a stronger author.
With Google Authorship set up and working properly, you will gain credibility for your work, you may appear higher in the search results, and your Google+ profile picture will appear beside the results. This might not sound like much but having a picture next to your article in the Google search results will make it stand out, and inevitably improve your click-through rate. This way, your articles feel more welcoming than other articles in the search results and look a little friendlier. For example, if you ran a blog for a private rehab centre, a searcher would be greeted by the friendly faces of your staff.
Google Authorship revolves around Google’s own social network, Google+. While Google+ is nowhere near as popular as Facebook and Twitter, it’s important to your search traffic and has slowly been gaining a larger audience.
How Do I Set up Google Authorship?
Before you do anything, you’ll need to have a Google+ account. That means, if you have multiple writers, all of them will need to have their own Google+ account. Be sure to upload a profile picture – this is the photo that will appear in search results, so make sure it’s a nice one! Cyrus Shepard wrote a great post for Moz a year or so ago about optimising the photo for better results; how obsessive you get about trying different photos and colour combinations is up to you. Either way, that’s the first and easiest step out of the way.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to add a special link to the profiles or bylines of each one of your authors’ profiles. If you’re using WordPress, this can simply be done from the back end of your website. You’ll need to have the writer’s Google+ profile URL, which will look something like mine:
Remember to use your own Google+ URL! All you need to do is link to that profile in the writers’ bylines. You’ll need to add “?rel=author” to the end of it, so it looks like this:
Typically, in my bylines, I will link my name to my Google+ profile with the rel=author markup, but you may prefer to link your name to your personal website or blog. That’s no problem – you can instead include a line like “Adrienne can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+” and put the link there. As long as it’s somewhere where it will appear on every one of your articles, you’re good.
Here’s some sample code (again, remember to use your own Google+ URL!):
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/109654446375621919755?rel=author”>Adrienne Erin</a> is a marketing writer.
Once you’ve done that, head on over to your Google+ page – or instruct your writers to do so – and add the domain name of your website to their “Contributor To” section in their profile. You’ll find where to do this under the “Links” part of their profile.
Finally, drop the link to your blog post in Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. If your smiling face appears beside the result, congratulations – you’re on the path to building up author rank!
That’s how things work in a nutshell. If you want to get a little more involved, you can apply authorship in other ways. If you are the only writer on your blog, and that is not changing anytime soon, you can add the authorship attribution to the header of your template, where it will appear on every page of the site. This is the code you would use (remember to change the URL, since this is an example):
<link rel=”author” href=” https://plus.google.com/u/0/109654446375621919755/”/>
Some sites that allow Google+ sign-in have also incorporated “automatic authorship,” but this is still a really new feature only in use on a few sites.
Adrienne Erin is a social media marketing writer who has been building up her author rank for the past year. Her work has been featured on MarketingProfs, Content Marketing Institute, 12 Keys, Muck Rack, and Search Engine People, and she is always seeking out new opportunities.