Anyone who uses Google has surely taken notice of the little photos next to different entries. They’re more appealing and they really pop off the page. This is known as Google authorship and, in a nutshell, authorship is helping to give a real voice to the authors behind the entries you see on a Google SERP, and it’s helping connect users with other things written by that author.
If the idea of more clicks because of a picture isn’t working for you, consider the fact that it can also improve your SEO. Google is beginning to put more and more emphasis on social connections when it comes to rankings. While link building is still an important part of their algorithm, it makes sense to move toward a method where you let Google know what authors you trust, by putting them in your Google circles, and then Google gives you results based on that information.
How Google Authorship Works
The cool thing about Google authorship and those little pictures you see next to an entry is the fact that it’s more than just a picture of the author. You have a few different things going on in the entry:
Google also recently announced a few more advanced features regarding Google authorship including the idea that authorship should only be used for real people (not a business), when there is one author, and should not be used for product description pages. You can learn more in this article if you’re still confused about when to use authorship.
Why Google Authorship Matters
This is extremely beneficial for businesses not only because it helps increase your clicks, but it gives readers an opportunity to stay in touch. If someone reads your content, they can connect with you and read more content, which will hopefully spiral into a domino effect of connections and improved search position.
Moral of the story: Authorship is something you can do once and then continue growing your business in the meantime. If you’re working in a home office trying to get your business off the ground, authorship is something you can do right away that will make a difference in your online visibility. Management is incredibly easy, and it isn’t going to go away or stop working.
How to Get Started with Authorship
Getting started with Google authorship only takes a few minutes and does not take much management once you get going. Consider the following steps:
1. Verify. Make sure you have a personal Google+ account (not for the business, but for the author) and then connect an email address associated with your business. You can go to your Google+ profile and click “edit” to enter in your email address, and then hit “verify.” If you just have a generic email (without your domain attached to the end), just follow these alternative steps.
2. Contributor To. This section can also be found on your Google+ profile. Click “edit” to add all of the websites where your content appears. You will ideally want to add in your author page if you have one, but just a link to your article will work.
3. Authorship Markup. Of course, you have to add the authorship markup to any author bio you send a website where you’re submitting a guest post.
The authorship markup tag looks like this:
So my authorship tag would look like this:
<a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/113948183183915741351/?rel=author">Amanda DiSilvestro</a>
Once you’re done, authorship should work on your own website. When it comes to guest blogging, just make sure that you’re consistently updating your “Contributor To” section. If the other website has authorship setup, you’re set to go.
Photo Credit: bluepointinteractive.com
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility.com, a nationally recognized SEO firm that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country.