Ever search for results on Google and found faces next to them on the left hand side? This is no random coincidence. Those photos are placed next to those results because they’re the authors of the content. When an author is credited and linked to a specific blog post, or website content, then their picture shows up beside it.
Google Authorship looks like this in the results pages. I decided to use my friend, Vancouver marketer, Kelvin KC Claveria, as an example.
What are the Benefits of Having Google Authorship?
Google Authorship Establishes Trust:
Since we are such visual creatures (look how big Pinterest has grown), any time we see a face in the middle of a sea of text, we’re most likely going to look at the photo first and not the text. Throughout human history, we’ve always had a subconscious trust when seeing a human face. Placing a human face on products and brochures have been known to increase the purchase intent for a service or product, compared marketing material that don’t use faces.
When we see a photo next to our search results, we often automatically give it credibility. This face next to the website gives it an extra boost in the trust factor.
Helps with Click Through Rates:
The benefit of Google authorship is that it allows search results to stand out and increase click through rates to your particular site compared to one without a Google Authorship photo.
One informal study done by Cyrus Shephard, showed how using the right photo for Google Authorship (which is linked to your Google + account) can increase click through rates for a website by 35%.
And you can easily see why with the example below, if your eyes are scanning, which ones are brought to your attention first?
It Helps with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Results:
Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, was quoted saying this:
““Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
It May Play a Role in AuthorRank
AuthorRank doesn’t exist yet, but there has been a lot of buzz about AuthorRank. The concept is the same as PageRank, in which a webpage is assigned a numerical value for its authority and relevance to users of the Internet. For example the Wall Street Journal has a high page rank compared to my local newspaper the Vancouver Sun, because the Wall Street Journal is seen to have more authority than the Vancouver Sun.
It’s believed that Google AuthorRank will play a role in the future, in the sense that authors that are tied to specific content and have established authority through writing for different sites with high page ranks, or have a lot of social activity, will be a factor in ranking higher for search results. At the time of the writing of this blog post AuthorRank hasn’t been implemented, but this shouldn’t hinder anybody from signing up for using Google Authorship.
How to Implement Your Google Authorship:
Step 1: Verify Your E-mail Address
If you don’t have a Google Plus profile, then you need to set one and up go through all the necessary steps. You can learn how to set up your Google + profile here with a step by step guide by Wordtracker.
The first step to starting your Google Authorship is to ensure that you have a verified e-mail address for the website that you are writing your content on. Mine is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ensure that the name you use for your Google Plus account is also the same name for the byline author of the content you create. You don’t want to have the dreaded, by “Anonymous” tag in your content. The name you use should be consistent across all the content you create across the web.
To verify your e-mail, make sure you are logged into your Google Plus account and then visit this site and follow the steps: https://plus.google.com/authorship
Step Two: Add Your Websites to the Contributor Section
When you’re logged into your own account, click on “Home” and then right below it you should see “Profile.” Click on that, and then on the top bar near the left hand side you should see the “About” tab. Click on this. Scroll down to the section titled, “Links.” When you click on it, a pop up will appear. Go to the middle of the “Contributor To” section. This is where you can add custom links and tell Google what websites you write content for.
What if you don’t have a verified e-mail on the domain?
It’s important to add the websites that you are a contributor to mentioned in Step Two. If you don’t have an e-mail address at that website, then this can easily be solved by using the rel=”author” tag.
If you write a blog post, then ensure somewhere on the blog, or in a designated author box, that you link back to your Google + account. When you do link, you want to include the rel=”author” tag and so your link back to your Google Plus page should like like this.
The numbers will be your profile ID.
A common practice is to put the link in the author box, so that you don’t always have to do it manually. An example is in the picture below.
If there are two rel=”author” tags on a page, Google will only take the firs one. I’ve had this problem guest blogging, and since mine is second, my picture won’t show up in the rich snippets of Google.
Also if you are guest blogging for a site, you need to add the specific blog post added to the contribution section. This is probably the best way to guarantee you will receive credit for the work. The downfall is that you can have a very lengthy list if you’ve written a lot of different content.
For more info, or to find another helpful guide to authorship, feel free to visit our friends at MKG Media, their blog post, Google Authorship: A How-To Guide.
If you need to test out to see if it works then visit Google’s rich snippet testing tool to see if what you’ve implemented now works.