By Jeff Kline


5 Ways Google Authorship Will Boost Your SEO

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Have you ever performed a search in Google and noticed on the results page several articles with people’s pictures next to them? If so, you’ve probably been wondering how these people got their pictures to appear.

Google Authorship rich snippet

No, they aren’t ads, and they didn’t pay for it. But it’s no fluke, either—these people very intentionally set up their blog articles to appear in search results accompanied by their profile pictures. So how did they do it?

They claimed Authorship.

What is Google Authorship?

Google Authorship is difficult to define, because it’s not really a tool or a feature. It’s more of an action—the act of claiming your work, and proving that you were the person who wrote it.

Launched in June 2011, Authorship was developed by Google as “a way to connect authors with their content on the web” and to assist Google in the process of compiling all of an author’s writings. There are two methods for claiming authorship:

  • You (the author) can add your valid email address to your Google+ profile under the “Contributor of” section.
  • You (the author) can insert a link on your blog that creates a connection between your content and your Google+ profile.

Once the connection—or “claim of authorship”—has been made, every time your content appears in search results it will be accompanied by a “rich snippet.” The rich snippet will include your Google Plus profile picture, your name, and the number of circles you’re in.

5 Ways Google Authorship Will Boost Your SEO

Google has always been pretty tight-lipped when it comes to discussing their search algorithms, and they’ve made no exception with Google Authorship. I can’t tell you that claiming your authorship will make your pages rank any higher in search results, because that information hasn’t been made public. But I can assure you that Authorship has some significant SEO power when it comes to optimizing for people and getting them to click. (In fact, one study found that adding a rich snippet to a listing increased the click through rate by 150%.)

Here are five ways Authorship will help you optimize your content to receive more clicks in search:

1) You’ll stand out from the crowd. A rich snippet takes up more space than the typical plain snippet, and your profile picture will stand out against an all-text background.

2) You’ll establish a personal brand. Even if you have a common name like John White, your profile picture will distinguish you and make you recognizable.

3) You’ll earn trust by proving that you’re a real person, not an anonymous employee at some company.

4) You’ll gain credibility. Because Google (a credible site itself) is endorsing your content as something worth reading, users will perceive you as a credible source.

5) You’ll build a positive reputation. If someone reads one of your articles and loves it, it’s almost guaranteed that she’ll click again the next time she sees your photo show up in search results.

Instructions for Setting Up Google Authorship

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you claim authorship of your content.

Click here to download!

Google Authorship Setup Guide

Up Next: A Clear-Cut Explanation of Google Places and Google+ Local

Google’s local business directory is currently in the process of transitioning from Google Places to Google+ Local, a more social and interactive platform. Unfortunately, inconsistencies in branding have left users mystified—is it Google Places? Is it Google+ Local? What’s the difference between the two?

Next week, I’ll explain—in plain English—everything you need to know about getting your organization placed in Google’s local listings.


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