Written by Aaron Charlie– Fri 13 Jan 2012
UPDATE JULY 2014: Google has now withrawn authorship photos from SERPs. We still recommend implementing authorship as results will still have a byline and your content will rank better for your Google+ connections.
Google have just announced that they are going to start showing author information in search results. This is great for author awareness and can help Google raise the rankings of pages written by authority figures. It is also great for SEO's who are worried that al the great content they are writing is getting ripped off or assigned to the wrong author!
Even better, Google are replacing 'rel=author' and 'rel=me' tags and are instead automatically linking your Google+ profile to content you have written. All you have to do now is add the URLs of the sites you write for to your Google+ profile, and then when scanning those sites, Google will attribute any posts with your author name to you. Then when those posts appear in search results they will come with a 'Written by' box including a link to your G+ page. It should end up looking like this:
So why the need for this new change when Google first announced author tags last year?
At the end of 2011, Google Webmaster Tools revealed that you could link your Google+ profile to your website simply by adding a link to the site on G+ and a G+ badge to your site. Or, by adding the following link manually using your profile ID:
It has been suggested that by connecting your Google+ profile and website, Google knows that what you write was written by you and ranks your content above duplicate content. This is another step towards providing the best search results. Blog posts by real authors who are authorities in their field in place of content spinning websites that use fake authors and steal content.
However, complications arise when the site has more than one contributor. This is the case for most major blogs, especially the ones that are worried about duplicate content or the wrong attribution. Google's solution is to use 'rel=author' tags, added to each author page, to determine which author to link to which Google+ profile.
Immediately, problems arise for anybody who doesn't have author pages set up, who doesn't have access to the HTML of the website they write for, or who doesn't know how to edit HTML. The whole thing seemed too complicated and a lot of people just ignored it.
Now, anybody with a Google+ account can do it. Google say that the three attributes to connect are:
It appears that is the order of importance. Name is crucial, email helps and photo is a nice afterthought.
Firstly, make the author clear on your blog posts. Every post should have a name clearly attached, preferably attached to an email and with a photo. If using WordPress, make sure your email and photo are attached by editing your user settings. Log in to your WordPress dashboard, click users, then edit and add information in the appropriate fields. Also, make sure you are displaying your full name publicly.
For example, here is how post I have written appears:
As you can see it has my name and my photo and I have made sure I have an email attached to the name (mandatory on WordPress anyway).
The next step is to link your Google+ account. Sign into G+ and edit your profile. Add the email addresses you associate with writing under 'work email' and add the URLs of all the websites you write for in 'Contributor to'.
You are now prepared for Google to start attributing your name to the content you have written. When your articles appear in search results they should come with a 'written by' box that links to your Google+ profile. This should also have a ranking effect as you are proving to Google that you are a real person. This is also great if you write a lot of articles on one subject as searches could bring up many articles written by you. Searchers will see your name all over the SERP and recognise you as a source of information in that field.
Since Google+ rolled our Search plus Your World, building a strong presence on G+ has become critically important. At the moment, the new 'personal search' only uses Google+ (which has angered Twitter) but if (as is likely) Google start to implement more social networks into S+YW then it will be vital for writers to link their content to their social profiles. Then, when you friends search using Google Search plus Your World, they will see articles you have written and know that you have written them!
This is a step towards Google showing how important content marketing is for SEO. Great, linkable content, properly optimised for SEO and shared effectively through social media should not only gain you great links from authority sites but also help your ranking! Make sure you are fully trained with our SEO Training and Social Media courses. Book them together and save £145!
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