by Ian Cleary, RazorSocial

Delivering great content is increasingly important, especially if you want it to be found by others in Google search results. The world’s most influential search engine rewards authors of great content with improved search result listings. And, most recently, they’ve rolled out Google Authorship, a new feature designed to connect authors to their content in Google search results.

If you are writing content on the web, it’s essential that you know about Google Authorship and how it could effect your business. Let’s take a look at what it’s all about and how to set it up.

What is Google Authorship?

Google Authorship allows you to connect your blog posts, videos, and other content you write to your Google+ profile. When implemented correctly, Google Authorship ensures your photograph will be displayed alongside Google search results containing links to articles you have written on your own blog or elsewhere on the web.

 

Google also displays additional information related to your Google + account as part of the results, such as the circles to which you belong. If you click on a photograph of the author displayed in your search results, Google will display a list of other articles written by the author that is linked to their Google + account.

This is great for branding and to improve the click-through rate on any posts displayed within search.

Does your search position improve because of this?

At the moment there is no evidence to suggest that Google ranks this content higher than other types of content, but your click-through rate on the content will be better, so you will get better results. If authors produce great content on the web, it makes sense that Google would start to rank content produced by these authors higher than content from authors that are not as popular.

Similar to how Google ranks pages on the web through page rank, there are plans to rank authors based on author rank. Details about this functionality have not been released yet, but it’s likely we’ll see this later in 2013. When author rank is introduced, it will be very important that you produce high quality content rich with comments from the social sphere, linked to discussion groups and communities, and shared across the web. Authors who are ranked highly by Google will attract more attention. You’ll want to ensure that these authors are the ones you invite to author guest blog posts and articles on your web properties.

How do I set up Google Authorship?

There are 2 ways of setting up Google Authorship:

1. Linking via e-mail

If you have an e-mail address that uses the same domain name as your website you can link your e-mail to the content (e.g. ian.cleary@razorsocial.com and www.razorsocial.com)

Visit Google Authorship. Sign up (provide your email address).

For this to work make sure you have the following:

a). Nice, recognizable photograph of yourself as part of your Google + profile
b). Your name on your Google + profile matches the name you use on your blog posts
c). Your blog posts start with the words ‘by’ followed by your author name (e.g. by Ian Cleary)

2. Link your content to Google+ Profile

You can create a link to your Google+ profile from your blog by linking it directly to your content.

The link: <a href=https://plus.google.com/u/0/109282987970727189991?rel=author>Google</a>

Of course, your link will not include the URL I used above. Yours will include a link to your Google+ profile. This is obtained by copying the link displayed in the browser when you have your profile selected in Google+.

What about guest blog posts?

If you write a guest blog post, you need to let Google know that your name should also be associated with your content on that blog. You do this by specifying details in the contributor section of your Google+ profile.

When I guest blog on Social Media Examiner this is how it appears:

What if I have a Google+ company page?

If you have a Google + company page you should link it to your website or blog and vice versa.

  1. Link from your website to your Google account.
  2. Include a link similar to the following:
    • <a href=”https://plus.google.com/[yourpageID]” rel=”publisher”>Find us on Google+</a>
  3. Link your Google page to your website
    • Go to your Google page and edit your profile. Click website and then type in the home page website address.

How to Verify that Google Authorship is set up correctly?

Google has provided a structured data testing tool which allows you to test a website.

 

In the preview field, I entered my URL, RazorSocial.com. There is an option for entering in my Google + account details to verify authorship is set up correctly.

 

When I enter details and click verify authorship the following is displayed.

Google has associated my Google + account with my website and posts so it will start displaying my image.

Final thoughts

Google authorship is relatively easy to set up and you can benefit significantly from having in place. I strongly recommend that you and your team set this up as soon as possible.

Have you set this up already? Have you seen any benefits? If so — or if not — I’d love to hear your feedback.

About the author

Ian Cleary is the social media tools guy. He provides social media training on social software tools through his site RazorSocial. Follow Ian on twitter @iancleary.