In June of 2011 Google made waves in the SEO community (easy to do, huh?) by announcing its authorship program. Since that time, SEOs have been trying to figure out if, and when, they should use Google Authorship, how it affects search results, and exactly how to use it. Of course, the markup wasn’t made for SEO, and the program’s real use (as far as Google is concerned) is to create relationships with authors and searchers – my opinion is that it gives someone a reason to actually have a Google+ account. If you aren’t sure how to set up Google Authorship follow the steps on this page.
Once granted authorship, the pages that feature your content and Google+ link will show up in the SERPs with a headshot of yourself, a link to the page, a link to your Google+ profile, and a link to a = pages that features more of your work. This might seem silly or tacky at first, but this can be a huge boon to your SEO endeavors.
Internal SEO Benefits
- A Picture Says 1000 Words
That thumbnail picture of your ugly mug on the SERP stands out more than you might think. Even if it’s not ranking as number one, the aesthetical improvement of the link adds a sense of credibility to the link and the click through rate (CTR) is drastically increased.
- Extra Links on the SERP
If a searcher clicks on an authorship link, reads the article, and backs out back to the SERP, Google gives you additional links underneath the original! This is one of the strongest reasons to use Google Authorship internally since it can redirect someone back into your site after they’ve left. For a more in depth look at how this works check out this great post by Matt McGee.
External SEO Benefits
- Guest Posting
This tactic is a great way to build back links to niche blogs and Google Authorship can help you do just that. By using the rel=author code in your guest posts to hyperlink back to your Google+ account you can list your contributions to any site you get published on. This helps you build your name as an authority figure which in turn helps the chances of getting guest posts. To read more about Google Authorship and guest posting check out this SEO blog post.
- Open Lines of Communication
If you are participating in Google Authorship internally and externally, search queries that highlight your guest posts have multiple avenues to direct someone to your site. If they visit a guest post of yours they can clink on the backlink there, or can find more of your work through the Authorship SERP results.
Google is revitalizing a project that it’s had in the works since 2005. Originally called Agent Rank, Author Rank is a way to have actual people influence search results and Page Rank outside of direct SEO tactics. Author Rank will be factored by a number of factors like Google+ involvement and PR of publishing sites. This means that an author with high rank that contributes to a site will actually be able to boost the sites authority. This is a great idea on Google’s part for a few reasons. First of all, it means the hard work you do to generate content has tangible benefits other than getting followers or generating ad revenue. Secondly – and more importantly for SEOs – it will influence link builders to adopt more natural ways of link building in order to increase Author Rank, the hope being that sites would actually start fighting for you to write a post for them. And, as I said before, it really strong-arms people into using Google+ which has never fully gotten off the ground as a viable social media outlet.
If you haven’t started using Google Authorship yet then you need to jump on the bandwagon now. The sooner you do, the better odds you’ll have of increases CTR on the SERPs and having a leg up on Author Rank when it begins.
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This post was submitted by Thomas McMahon.