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How to Optimize Your Content for Authorship Success

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 11.35.19 amThis is a guest contribution from Jaclyn Freeman.

Who are you?

Don’t fret – this isn’t philosophy class and no, we’re not trying to steal your identity.

One of the most important things you can do in 2014 as a content creator, is identify who you are as a personal brand by monitoring how you come across online. As a writer, it is essential that you are taking advantage of every opportunity you have to turn yourself into a developed brand. 

Twitter, that always-on social network that is constantly abuzz, and Google+, a social network claimed to offer incredible SEO benefits, offer two incredible ways that complement each other to solidify your digital presence. But how, you ask?

Through digital authorship.

Introducing Your New Best Friend: Google Authorship

Everyone is talking Authorship, and with good reason. Google Authorship is a revolutionary function of Google that allows you to identify content you’ve produced, as well as the publishers you’ve produced content for.

The purpose of Google Authorship is to help segment out true quality content from the plethora of content living on the web. Executive chairman of Google Eric Schmidt wrote in “The New Digital Age” that the true cost of remaining anonymous may be detrimental one’s overall search position:

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in the in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

Google Authorship helps to further the notion that all content is not good content; rather, writers must have a) verified content and b) a solidified niche subject matter that they consistently produce original content about. Google Authorship helps to bridge the gap between the casual writer, and the professional content creator.

AuthorRank – Myth or Legend?

While AuthorRank is tough to concretely define, its origins can be traced back to 2005 (pre-historic in digital terms) and as Brian Clark puts it:

“Author Rank is the idea – supported by patents filed by Google – that who creates a page of content (and links out from that page), based on their historical reputation for creating content people actually like, would become one of the signals Google relies on when ranking relevant results of a particular topic.”

While AuthorRank hasn’t officially been implemented by Google as a ranking factor, the idea behind it has already been implemented across digital marketing platforms universally. How do we know? One such sign that has the digital world up in arms is the removable of the pictures next to bylines with Authorship correctly set-up. Some are foolishly associating this cosmetic tweak with the demise of Google Authorship – which couldn’t be farther than the truth. It actually represents the opposite! Google is continuing to acknowledge content produced with semantic markup as higher quality content than content without Authorship, pictures or not. Change isn’t always a bad thing.

Even if AuthorRank never officially occurs, it really doesn’t matter in terms of SEO. Why? Because quality content will continue to reign supreme, and those with their authorship set up, who continuously produce content in their particular field will become obvious authorities. We don’t need AuthorRank to tell us that.   

While Authorship may have lost that visual touch, this minor change was done in an effort to improve mobile search results. Your authorship markup still lives, even without a face, and still has a heavy role in distinguishing you as a credible author on the web, so take advantage.

Set Up Your Authorship

Setting up your authorship is relatively easy, and requires a few lines of code in the backend of your posts, as well as a link to the publication on your Google+ profile. Google provides a step-by-step guide to authenticating your authorship here and as outlined below:

You can link content you publish on a specific domain to your Google+ profile.

  1. Make sure you have a profile photo with a recognizable headshot.

  2. Make sure a byline containing your name appears on each page of your content

  3. Make sure your byline name matches the name on your Google+ profile.

  4. Verify you have an email address on the same domain as your content. (Don’t have an email address on the same domain? Use this method to link your content to your Google+ profile)

  5. Submitting this form will add your email address to the Work section of your profile, which by default is viewable only by your circles. You can keep your email private if you wish. It will also add a public link to the domain of the email address to the Contributor to section of your profile.

  6. Sign up for Authorship.

Cross-Checking Your Google Authorship Code

Once you have your authorship set up, you’ll want to ensure:

  • Your content has true semantic Google authorship <a href=”https://plus.google.com/G+ID? rel=author”>Google</a>

  • Your content’s  @href contains a G+ profile link and @rel=”author” or @rel=”me”

  • Your content’s @href contains a G+ profile link with the [?&]rel=author query parameter and @rel DOES NOT contain nofollow.

  • Your readable author bio pages inlcude<a href=”[profile_url]?rel=author”>Joe Smith</a>

While you’ve likely heard more than enough about how to optimize your Google+ profile, have you given any consideration to your Twitter account for personal branding and authorship success? If not, you should.

Twitter for Authorship? YES!

In the same way that Google+ and authorship serve as an indicator of your online brand, Twitter works as a constant source of credibility via conversations.

Appearance: Twitter recently unveiled a new design that is big on content and visuals. Much like the Facebook design, the new Twitter profile boosts a larger header image and profile photo. In order to have a uniform appearance across the Internet, make sure you choose a profile photo that displays your face clearly, looks professional, and is used across your various personal social properties.

The new Twitter layout also highlights your tweets that get the most engagement, which brings me to our next point…

Verbiage:First, create a Twitter bio that is filled with your subject matter expertise — and hashtag them to create added virality in your profile. Next, add your website, LinkedIn profile, personal blog, and tag any publications that you frequently contribute to.

Beyond the content you post, your website is the only direct lead-generation tool that exists on Twitter profiles. Leave that field blank, and those viewing your page will not have an easy way to learn more about you and your content.

Another great new feature is the ability to pin tweets to the top of your page. Choose a pin that not only received a good amount of engagement, but that personifies you as a brand. Keep it fresh by switching up your pinned tweets every few days!

Sharing is Caring

Who you follow is almost as important as what you post. Find people that are influential to your particular field, as well as publications or companies that you admire, to follow. Engage with the people you follow by commenting and retweeting, in addition to posting relevant, new information.

Convince and Convert suggests that the sweet spot of curation (non self-promotional) vs. self-promotional linking to your site 25-50% of the time generates the best results. Always socialize the content you produce, but make sure to include a healthy mix of re-Tweets of informative, inspiring, and relevant content.

Metadata on Twitter

Twitter Cards enable you to attach media to Tweets that link your content: It’s social’s all-important metadata. Whether that be a summary, a summary with a photo, gallery card, app card, player card, a product card, lead generation card, or website card – Twitter cards enhance the appearance of your Tweets and add to your overall prominence on social.

To set up your Twitter card, add a few lines of HTML to the backend of your site, and voila! Popular content management systems like Hubspot and WordPress offer social plugins, making this step even easier.

Users who share your content will have a “card” automatically added to said Tweet, that will be visible to all of their followers.

Twitter offers more information on how to set up your very own Twitter card here:

  1. Review the documentation for the type of card you want to implement.

  2. Add the pertinent meta tags to your page.

  3. Run your URLs against the validator tool to be approved.

  4. After approval, tweet the URL and see the Card appear below your tweet.

  5. Use Twitter Card analytics to measure your results.

Content Attribution

Lastly, you’ll want to look for the following metadata on each piece of content you produce to make sure it’s properly attributed to you:

  • Authorship is valid if: meta[@name='twitter:creator'] tag (@content is a valid twitter handle [0-9A-Za-z_]{1,15}).

  • Authorship is valid if: <a> tag @href is a Twitter profile URL and @rel is “author” or @rel is “me”.

  • Your readable author bio page on Twitter includes an on-site rel=”author” link in your author bio.

Why Social Optimization Matters for Writers

So, why am I yelling at you about everything from your philosophical identity to coding? Well, because, as a writer, this stuff matters.

Establishing credibility as a content curator in an aggressively digital age is tough, and while you may have your authorship and Twitter perfectly optimized, there is no sure-fire way to know that you are an influential writer to your particular niche… Or, is there?

Recently launched, ClearVoice is a new metric for your voice. It acts as a representative of your content’s authority and showcases your publication’s power. By using a first-of-its-kind algorithm, Clearvoice generates a score for writers based on:

  • Your Twitter and Google authorship markup

  • Where your content lives

  • How many articles you’ve published

  • How many domains you’ve contributed to

  • The social virality of your content

Beyond the funky look and ease of use, ClearVoice offers the ability for writers to claim their profile. Once claimed, writers will have a unique URL that will act as a constantly updating portfolio, chronicling not only all the content you’ve produced, but how well it performed socially. In addition, authors can cross-check proper authorship implementation and troubleshoot with engineers if there are any issues.

ClearVoice can also organically help you score jobs, as publishers can search the platform to discover writer’s who are qualified in a particular field.The ClearVoice score offers an unique view into individual writers influence, as well as offers an unprecedented way for writers to be discovered.

Jaclyn Freedman is the Community Manager for ClearVoice. She promotes and market brands by identifying and representing their unique voices across digital platforms.

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Comments

  1. Moad says:

    Google authorship is very useful and powerful when it cames to SEO,it makes you more trusted & it gives the chance to the users to know more about you.

    what i wasn’t aware of is the twitter for authorship.thanks for your detailed informations!

    • Jaclyn Freedman says:

      Hi Moad,

      Yes, Google authorship is supremely powerful but the lesser known Twitter authorship is equally important in conveying that sought after attribution! Are you planning on using Twitter cards now? With the new ad setup on Twitter, they are easier than ever to set up. Good luck!

    • sam says:

      This post is amazing!
      Just have a few questions:
      1) If I understood correctly, Google doesn’t show photos of authors anymore in Google search results?

      2) Can I link my website to my Google+ Business page instead of my personal account?

      Please I need help with this?

  2. Jon Snow says:

    Really helpful and straight forward tips for improving your autorship rank, thx for sharing. Too bad Google deleted aythor photos from web search.

    • Jaclyn Freedman says:

      Hello Jon Snow!

      First, may I say what a fan I am! Way to defend the wall!

      As for Google deleting author photos… The photos were pretty and all, but were never essential to the value of authorship. When proper semantic markup is used, author names are still being attached to the articles, pictures or not. The person behind the content is still important from a search engine’s perspective—as it is to the user.

    • Jaclyn Freedman says:

      Hello Jon Snow!

      First, may I say what a fan I am! Way to defend the wall!

      As for Google deleting author photos… The photos were never attached to the true value of authorship. When proper rel=author code is enabled, author names are still being attached to the articles, pictures or not. The person behind the content is still important from a search engine’s perspective—as it is to the user.

  3. While Authorship may have lost that visual touch, this minor change was done in an effort to improve mobile search results.

    I don’ think that’s the only reason. Come on, Google knows how to differentiate between mobile and desktops.

    The main reason was that the profile pictures were grabbing the users attention, thus lessening the chance of them clicking on the ads. Google removed the visual feedback to fix this glaring mistake they made.

    • Jaclyn Freedman says:

      Hi Salman,

      This is another very possible motive. Thanks for sharing your insight!

  4. Great guide, I have been using Google Authorship for a little while now and I wish I had a guide like this when I was trying to get it all straightened out. However, like Moad, I was not really aware of the opportunity to claim Twitter authorship as well, so that is definitely something I will need to take a closer look at!

    • Jaclyn Freedman says:

      Hi Kostas,

      Awesome, glad we could provide a useful resource! As I said to Moad, Twitter cards are easier than ever to integrate, just go to analytics once signed into Twitter and set them up! Good luck!

  5. Hi Jaclyn,

    Super post here and ditto on twitter Authorship opportunities.

    I still need to link up to a handful of guest posts I’ve written recently. Doing so now. Google gives us a wonderful opportunity to show off our blogging chops but we need to seize it to make it work.

    Good content will always get noticed, whether through SEO channels or through networking channels. I like that point Jaclyn. Many throw in the towel when they don’t rank for their keywords, or when they feel Authorship is not creating as prominent spot for them as it should in search engines.

    Big mistake. Each creative act is prospered. The more good, helpful, creations, the better, and when you link up to other bloggers through guest posts and follow the Authorship protocols shared above you’re beyond golden.

    Thanks for the helpful share Jaclyn.

    Tweeting in a bit.

    Ryan

    • Jaclyn Freedman says:

      Hi Ryan,

      Have you tried using a plugin via the backend of your blog, so that your Authorship is automatically set up on your site? If you’re guest blogging, it is also relatively easy to just pass on your unique code, to ensure it gets included.

      Glad you enjoyed the piece! Often, people think they will see immediate results as soon as linking up their authorship, which happens to be a bit of a circular argument, as alongside with having your authorship set up, you need to be posting relevant, compelling content.

      Thanks again for reading,

      Jaclyn

  6. I have been using Google authorship for a while now. It is long overdue for authors to identify content we have created. I like the idea, but I am not sure how effective it is. Let’s face it. Google is still very important, but it is not controlling everything online.

  7. Erik Smith says:

    What if there’s only one author, in this case considered the publisher. Will a “publisher” meta tag serve the save purpose?

  8. Excellent article. Google Authorship makes it possible for the reader to know the author before even reading an article. One thing I am sorry to hear is that Google removed the Authorship profile photo.Google claims it is only for visual effect and doesn’t affect the rank of sites.

  9. Chandran says:

    Good article on Google authorship, it give me a new vision. Thanks for sharing this excellent article.

  10. Drewry says:

    I’m wondering if having posts from your G+ profile’s RSS feed autoshared on social networks help to create do-follow SEO backlinks, now that you’ve mentioned optimizing content for Authorship success. Do you think so?

  11. Sean says:

    Does John Mueller’s statements made yesterday render this entire article moot?

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JohnMueller/posts/HZf3KDP1Dm8

  12. Sada Salim says:

    Worthy article google authorship is one of the best tool to get recognized by user whenever they go for searching in search engines

  13. Drewry says:

    I’m unfamiliar with Google Authorship, but just optimized and added more contact information and social links to my Google+ profile, so people can e-mail me with internet marketing related questions and build my loyal reading audience. Google Plus is a page every serious blogger and marketer must have, because it’s believed that G+ profiles do create “Do-follow SEO” backlinks when your content is shared there.

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    This is really a wonderful post. While doing this you are in win win situation. You play and enjoy and

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  15. wasim says:

    I have been using Google authorship for a while now. It is long overdue for authors to identify content we have created. I like the idea, but I am not sure how effective it is. Let’s face it. Google is still very important, but it is not controlling everything online.

  16. wasim says:

    The main reason was that the profile pictures were grabbing the users attention, thus lessening the chance of them clicking on the ads. Google removed the visual feedback to fix this glaring mistake they made.

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