If you’ve performed a Google search in the past few months, you may notice that some of the top search results have an author photo included with the link & description. This is known as Google Authorship (GA) and is actually a valuable tool for increasing your rankings in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). If you have yet to venture into the world of Google Authorship, you are missing out on a valuable search engine optimization technique.
Here are some real examples of how we are using Google Authorship for our clients:
This keyword search for the same client shows an Organic GA result for “cabinet painting in ct”
Here’s a little background on what exactly GA is and how you can utilize it for your business.
Google Authorship is a way for the search engine to identify the author of content to factor it as a signal of content quality. Essentially, this means that if you continuously produce quality content and claim authorship on it, the links that contain your content will gain better ranking in SERPs, and your links will have more visual appeal in the search results. In fact, one study has shown that when this “rich snippet” is added to the SERPs, the number of clicks increases by up to 150%! While it used to be a long and confusing process to claim authorship on your content, Google has stream-lined the process for those who are not “tech-savvy”. This SEO tool is definitely not one to ignore, and if you are unfamiliar with the process of claiming Google Authorship, we have put together a quick step by step guide.
How to get your picture to appear next to your search engine link results:
1. Create a Google + Profile- Include a recognizable Head Shot as the profile photo.
2. Make sure all the content/webpages that you want your picture to show up next to has a byline. These should all be consistent with how your name appears on your Google +profile. If the name you used for your Google + Profile is “Jonathan Doe”, your byline line must be: “By Jonathan Doe” and not “By Jon Doe”.
3. Go to https://plus.google.com/authorship and verify an email address that is on the same domain name as your content. (i.e.- your company website is http://www.123.com, you’ll need to verify an email that contains @123.com like firstname.lastname@example.org )
Note: if you do not have an email on the same domain, you can take these steps:
First, create a link on your webpage (or webpages) that goes back to your Google+ Profile and contains a ?rel=author parameter. (Example: <a href=”profile_url?rel=author”>Google</a>)*** Replace profile_url with your Google + profile URL.***
Next, go to your Google + Profile >About Page>Links (edit links)> Contributor To section>Add Custom Link. Add the URL(s) to the webpage(s) where you just created the Google + link. (Click Save)
If you want to see if you’ve set up the account properly to display your picture, you can check how it will appear here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets
Have a WordPress Website?
If you use WordPress for a blog or company website, there is a plugin that you can install to make claiming Google Authorship a breeze. We still recommend doing Steps 1-3 above if you have an email on the same domain as your website content, however if you do not have an email that qualifies and are unfamiliar with adding a ?rel=author parameter link to your webpages, you can use the SEO by Yoast plugin on WordPress to claim GA instead. Once you install the plugin, follow these steps to add your Google + Profile information. This is a one-time deal, so once you complete it once, you won’t have to do it for every post or page you make.
- First, add your Google + Profile URL to User>Edit Profile>Contact Information>Google + field.
- Next, go to SEO>Titles&Metas>Home Tab>Author Highlighting Field and select the author to include in all posts/pages. You can also add your Google + Business Page in this menu (just remember to link back to the site in your Business’s Google + Profile too in the next step).
- Finally, go to your Google + Profile >About Page>Links (edit links)> Contributor To section>Add Custom Link. Add the URL(s) to the webpage(s) where you just created the Google + link. (Click Save)
Voila! In the next few days, your picture should begin showing up next to your search engine results. It is important to note that Google doesn’t guarantee that your photo will show up next to search engine results even if you do set up GA, but don’t get discouraged. The more steps you take to increase your search engine optimization can only help your company, and this is one tool not to neglect.
Here is another example of one of our clients that does well with the search question “what is the white stuff on my chimney” with their blog post that has GA installed.