Do you create content? Yes? Are you officially a Google Author?
If you create any kind of digital content as a marketer, social media manager, small business owner, writer, video-maker, freelance, consultant or blogger, then you need to be a Google Author.
Why? Because it will make you stand out from the crowd in search results (SERPS). And it’s likely to give you a push up the rankings.
There’s just one hitch. You have to ‘claim’ your Google Authorship. Don’t worry. It’s not too difficult. I’ve curated the best information from around the web to help you.
Before we get started let’s see why this is good news for content creators.
Google is on a mission to identify quality content creators and banish spammers and content farmers. If you’re a genuine writer, podcaster or video maker, you should create your Google Author profile to identify you as a maker of quality content.
Let’s imagine you’re a food blogger who reviews restaurants. Your Google Author profile will look like Laura Porter’s does in these in SERPS.
Looks good, doesn’t it?
And, according to SEO experts, there’s another bonus. Google Authors will increasingly rank higher in SERPS in future. Content creators who haven’t set up the magic profile could be banished to the back of the class.
What exactly is a Google Author?
A content creator who is clearly identified in search results by their photo, their website name, how many Google Circles they are in and (sometimes) a “More by…” link (all of which is known as an Author Rich Snippet).
You can see the information from my Google Author profile in these SERPS.
My Google profile makes me stand out on this page and I’m second in the search results for one of my specialist topics out of 204,000 results.
But how much does it really matter, you may well ask.
I am not an SEO expert, but people who are say it matters. A lot.
Mike Arnesen is a ultra-geeky SEO specialist. This week he explained the background to the Google Author programme on SEOMoz’s Daily SEO Blog. For years Google has wanted to exclude spam content from search results and has been playing with the idea of AuthorRank, aka Google Authorship.
Mike said that as time goes on search will focus less on PageRank and more on AuthorRank.This is how he put it.
I’m certain that Google is going to begin incorporating AuthorRank into their ranking algorithm in the not-too-distant future. I’d put good money on it.
All the signs point to it: Google’s emphasis on social, Google Authorship, their ongoing efforts to measure site trust, and their progressive devaluation of raw links as a ranking factor.
People want to read content written by credible and knowledgeable people and using AuthorRank as a major part of their search algorithm just makes sense.
Mike says AuthorRank will take into account many factors aside from Google Authorship. Factors like PageRank, how many Google Circles you are in and how many Google+1s you get. Check out his article for more on that.
Certainly this is a good development for writers.
How many authors out there would appreciate earning some institutional authority for their consistent excellence in writing?
With authorship markup, your Google Profile is your digital identity base. You’ll use your profile to both link out to your online content and create links back from that online content. That closed loop, when done right, is intended to ensure you and only you are identified as the content’s author. And once that circuit is established, Google will likely use that data to help establish a form of author rank for your content.
The quality of your past content will affect your author reputation ranking, and your author reputation ranking will affect the ranking of your published online content – including future posts.
So what next?
Google needs to complete a circuit of verified trust between it and an author’s published content. For you to participate in this program, you need to have two things:
- A verified digital identity owned by Google that links to your published content (a Google+ profile)
- Your published content needs to reference you as the author and link back to the verified digital identity.
The first step is to set up Google Authorship.
You’re going to need a Google Account, a Google+ profile and access to your user profile on your blog or website.
Depending on whether you write for your own simple WordPress blog, or a more complex site, there are different methods. They range from the easy to the bit-more-complicated. In some cases of multi-author websites or blogs, it is probably a job for a web person.
Fortunately, helpful people like Mike and Rick have written very clear tutorials or made infographics or videos.
I set my profile up using this very easy tutorial from Google Webmaster tools. So if you’re a blogger on your own blog, or a small business owner with a simple blog or website, this should work for you.
If it doesn’t, then check out Mike Arnesen’s tutorial at Swellpath. It’s very clear and straightforward.
And if that doesn’t do it either, you’re going to need help from Rick deJarnette. He outlines 3 different methods in The Definitive Guide to Google Authorship Markup. They should cover all eventualities.
If you need even more help, check out this infographic from Blueglass.
It’s pretty clear from looking at an average page of SERPS that many, if not most, content creators haven’t yet set up their Google Author profiles. So do it now – get ahead and stand out!