With search, your goal is to get found, right? So, you optimize your site with competitive keywords, you write compelling titles that attract clicks, and you make your content easy to share on social networks. But, can you do more to stick out in Google?
Allow me to introduce Google Authorship. For anyone who publishes content on the Web under their name, Google Authorship allows your name and image to appear alongside your online articles in SERPs (search engine results pages). For example, if you write for a blog, if you publish articles on online news sites, or you write news releases for your business’s site under your name, then you qualify for Google Authorship.
Though Google Authorship is nothing new (I’ve personally used it since late last year), it’s implications for search ranking are. Over the last few months, bloggers and industry insiders have speculated about the potential rankings Google Authorship will provide to websites. It makes sense, too. Google wants to deliver relevant, trustworthy information to its users; therefore, showing real, authentic authors next to articles in SERPs is an important factor for Google’s overall success.
For instance, doesn’t this look more trustworthy…
Get Started Setting Up Google Authorship
There are two methods of setting up Google Authorship for your website or blog. For both, you will need a Google+ profile, which you can set up here.
Your email @domain.com matches your website
If the email address you used for your Google+ account has the same domain as the website under which you’re writing, then you simply need to verify your account through Google Authorship. Simple, yes?
Your email @domain.com does NOT match your website.
If you’re like me and the rest of the bloggers at AristotleBuzz.com, then you’ll need to jump through a few more hoops. If you have a little HTML know-how, you should find the process simple.
Step 2: Now you need to tie your website to your name on the website itself. This is where it will help if you know a bit of HTML. On every page of your website where you have published content, you will need to have a link back to your Google+ profile page with a piece of code tagged to the link.
For example, at the bottom of this post, you will see my byline. In that byline, I link to my Google+ profile page so that Google’s search crawlers can make the connection. However, I have to go a bit further and add ?rel=author to the end of my Google+ URL. So my URL looks more like this
See the difference?
Best Practices for Google Authorship
To make sure you get the most benefit from Google Authorship, make sure you follow these best practices.
Have a Professional Profile Picture
Now that your profile picture will be appearing next to your content, which may or may not represent a bigger entity than yourself (you know, like your job), you need a professional and attractive photo as your Google+ profile picture. This isn’t the place for Instagram or Facebook photos. No snapshots with a camera phone where we can see your arm extended out of frame as you hold the phone!
Update Your Google+ About Section
As Google will be tying your Google+ profile with your website, you need to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. Maybe you haven’t visited Google+ since it opened up nearly two years ago. Well, head back over there and update your interests, your job credentials, and anything else pertinent that will describe you as an authoritative thought leader.
Become an Active Google+’er
I know, I know. You’ve been pushing Google+ into a corner because all the cool kids are still on Facebook and Twitter. I get it. But if you want your name to have value in Google’s SERPs, Google needs to see your Google+ profile acting as a strong contributor to the community. Start sharing those great thoughts and ideas you have on Google+. Join Google+ Communities. Become a valued member, and Google may repay you back with high SERP rankings.
Want to take advantage of Google Authorship but not sure you can set it up correctly? Let me know. Aristotle has a team of in-house programmers that can solve just about any programming issue you have. Give me a shout in the comments or drop me an email, and we can get started today.