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The Blogger’s Guide to Google Authorship

This guest post is by Tom of make-a-web-site.com.

At the 2011 SMX Advanced event, Matt Cutts announced the Google initiative to support authorship markup, or more simply, to give you ownership of your content in the search results.

Let’s start with a definition.

Authorship, in this context, refers to Google’s parameters for making a verified connection between a person’s original web content and their Google Plus profile.

Google created Authorship by developing the HTML markup rel ” author”. When content owners apply it correctly to their content, Google can create the connection with their G+ profile.

Google will then display your profile picture next to your content in the search results. If you’ve set Google Authorship up properly, your search results should look something like this.

Search results

What is rel = “author”?

You’re probably very familiar with the standard linking practice for web content.

link1

Traditionally, the href in a link refers to the attribute or location where the linked content exists.

If you add the attribute rel = “author” to links to your own content, it will associate your ownership—or “authorship”—with the content on the linked page.

This is the first step in telling Google that you are the owner and original publisher of that content.

The new anchor, with Authorship applied, will look like this:

link2

The new markup HTML code rel = “author” is changing the game of search as we know it.

Why is Authorship important?

Google has made it quite clear with the development of Google Authorship that it’s moving away from regarding pure link-building as a factor in web page authority. Your value as an author will come into play more as Google dials down its dependence on basic links.

Another possible effect is that Authorship may increase Google search clickthrough rates. You probably feel that you are naturally drawn to a search result with an image beside it. According to one study, adding Authorship to links increased Google search CTR by 150%.

Implementing authorship on your website

Adding Authorship when making your blog should be standard practice for all webmasters. These are the recommend steps.

  1. Make sure you have a Google + profile. If not, sign up here.
  2. Make sure you have confirmed the email address within your profile. Google wants to make sure you aren’t a robot.
  3. Link your Google Plus profile to your content.The Contributor link

Now, to create the Contributor link in your Google+ profile follow these steps:

    1. Log into your Google+ account. On the home page at the top right, you’ll see the Edit profile button. Click that.Edit profile
    2. In editing mode, click on the About tab on your profile.The About tab
    3. On the About page, scroll down the the Contributor to link, and click on “What pages feature your work?”Featured work
    4. Click Add custom link.Custom link
    5. Type in either your root domain or the page where you content is posted (see the Note below), and label it accordingly.Contributor to

Note: if you are identifying your authorship of the content on your site, link to your root domain name. So in my case it is http://www.make-a-web-site.com.

If you are claiming authorship of a guest post, add a link to the guest post. So, for this guest post example the link would be http://www.problogger.net/google-authorship-get-your-photos-in-the-search-results/.

Finally, let’s link your content to your Google + profile.

Google+ profile link

Make sure you are use the rel = “author” markup in the code of your guest post bio to verify that you are the original owner of the content.

The HTML will look something like this, but make sure you place you Google+ profile address in between the quote marks.

link2

What about guest posts?

For guest posts, it’s important to make sure you have the correct HTML in your bio box. Make sure you are using the rel = “author” markup. No markup, no snippet!

Then, link to that post from the Contributor section in your Google+ profile as I outlined above. The only downside is that you are going to have a lot of links if you are a serious guest poster.

How to test it’s working

To check whether your website or content has been linked to your Google+ profile, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

From the image below you can see that my Authorship of my website content has been verified by Google.

Verified by Google

What Google has to say

Google has posted publicly about this topic. See Google’s head of webspam team Matt Cutts and software engineer Othar Hansson discuss Authorship in the video below.

They provide a very concise introduction to what Google Authorship is, including a whiteboard demonstration, how it works, and what the benefit is for webmasters. They also cover the basics of using authorship for SEO.

Conclusion

Building good relationships is the backbone of good SEO. Authorship allows you to make the most of the high-quality, original content you produce—it allows you to become an expert in your field not only in the eyes of your readers, but in the eyes of the Google algorithm as well.

Although this project has initially been launched as a way to allow your profile photo to show up next to your results, I believe it will become a larger ranking factor in the future. That’s why it is important to start implementing good habits now.

This guest post was written by Tom of make-a-web-site.com. Naturally this article has been rel= “author” to Tom on Google +.

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Comments

  1. This post has answered one of my long disturbing query. Thanks to you i now know how to go about it. I was following along with your instructions.thank you so much for the knowledge.

  2. I am a ghost blogger. Is it possible for me to do this same thing and link to my business Google+ account instead of a personal account?

  3. Ben Troy says:

    Greate,Installing the rich snippet Author can help add to your blog credibility and visibility. By creating these power user accounts it adds value to your blog and becomes a safe signal for Google. The increased belief that Google plus and author authenticity will play a significant role in future organic ranking should move you to make the necessary changes to your blog today.

  4. Howie Nguyen says:

    I definitely saw an increase in organic clicks after implementing this. I highly recommend everyone to do this even if you don’t actively use Google Plus.

  5. Daniel says:

    This sounds like a great Idea, Tom..

    A very interesting read.

    I am not on Google + at the moment, though, after considering how much extra weight implementing Authorship could do for a site, I am now seriously considering joining up……

  6. I like the information! Thanks.

  7. I actually did not know about some of this things. Thanks for the info.

  8. Shelby Roth says:

    You are right Tom. I have been seeing this on Google+ but didn’t have such a great idea about authorship. I think I will active on this even though have been not actively using my Google plus. Thanks a lot for informing us this. I find it so helpful, keep up!

  9. Reed Nixon says:

    I am also reiterating on the use of Google plus; it is diversified and it can also connect your blog to the Google search engine thus enabling you to be found easily.

  10. This is the best Tom. I think I have been following your instructions here about authorship and I found it so helpful especially to those who want to join up Google plus. I’m one of them but I never had such idea. You have really saved me. Thanks a lot!

  11. This was really helpful to someone starting out with their blog. Thank you very much – I had no idea how to properly take advantage of authorship, but do now! Cheers.

  12. Ferb says:

    I’ve been trying Google Authorship for a long time but still couldn’t solve it and your post helps solved my problem. Thank you

  13. Arbaz Khan says:

    Nice post Tom.
    I have already got a Google Authorship for my blog and I have even set up the authorship for blogs where I regularly guest post. That’s a very easy way Google has provided to get authorship.
    Thanks for the post :)

  14. Well explained! I’ve also implemented this system in my blog. And now my picture is showing in the search result.

    Thanks.

  15. Donald says:

    Hi,

    I’m glad to become a part of this article…

    You post a really informative article and its help me almost in every step.I really want to say you thanks! and please keep posting.

  16. Daven says:

    I tried Google Authorship for a time last June and it was a disaster, though it seems like most people have a positive experience. In my case, I don’t really publish on any but one site and have a website that gets tons of search traffic (10K+ visitors per day at the time last June).

    The day after I implemented Google Authorship, my search click through rate dropped dramatically. I can’t remember if my search impressions stayed the same or also dropped; I think they were about the same, but I’m not positive on that (been a while). The bottom line was, though, that overall my search visitors per day dropped about 40%.

    I let it stay for about a week or so with the same results, then removed my authorship stuff. It took a couple weeks for Google to register it, but once they did, my search traffic went back to what it was before.

    I’m no Brad Pitt, but I’m also not Sloth from the Goonies. (I’m kind of average-ish looking). So I don’t see that it would have been a problem with the profile shot turning people off. Just seems like either my search visitors were less likely to click through when a thumbnail was beside the link or Google thought less of my website when their algorithm knew I was the author of the majority of the content.

    As I’m really only promoting my stuff for one site and not multiple sites, there was no real benefit for me if it was going to drop my search traffic.

    I might try it again at some point, but just thought I’d share that it isn’t always a positive to implement authorship, though from blogger accounts I’ve read, most people have had the opposite experience as me.

  17. Very insightful content! This makes the process so much easier.

  18. Prime Aque says:

    Hello Sir, this is a great post! Actually I have been so busy and I run out of time checking some important update about Google+ and thanks for this one. Just today I have linked my blogs to my G+ profile to claim ownership! This is a great prevention for plagiarism too, isn’t it? And yes, I usually clicked search results with profile pictures!

  19. Hey Tom,

    Excellent post. Google Author ship is really necessary for all bloggers. it has been see that if you are using a good author ship markup on your all content pages then you can get a good rankings.

    Thank you :)

  20. Salman says:

    That’s really a great share Tom !

    Was looking for some easy tute to add G authorship and this one ends my search…

  21. Raymond Duke says:

    Thank you! I have been putting off doing this for my site for a long time – don’t ask me why because I don’t know. To anyone reading this comment who has not done this for their site, do it; it only takes 5 minutes, and it will definitely make you stand out in search results!

  22. Alison says:

    Tom,

    As I read this post I realized I need Google authorship for sure. My weakness is HTML and to know which file to put the code in in the first place, never mind where in the file. More than anything, this post will probably spur me on to finally get some basic knowledge, rather than fumbling about in the dark.

    Thanks.

  23. piyush says:

    Hey Tom,

    Excellent post. Google Author ship is really necessary for all bloggers. it has been see that if you are using a good author ship markup on your all content pages then you can get a good rankings.

    Thank you :

  24. Angela Neal says:

    Great post, with some real how-to advice to implement. (Although can I also add the importance of taking part in discussions in the comments whenever you guest post?)

  25. Thanks for the tip but I’m struggling a little bit :-\

    I’ve followed your advice step by step but the link to my own website blog page comes up as “unverified” in the structured data thing, and the guest posts I’ve linked to on other people’s sites also has the same problem.

    Am I doing something wrong?