Google+ may not get as much attention as Facebook and Twitter, but if you produce content, setting up a profile on Google’s social network is essential.
If you blog or if your byline appears regularly in an online publication, connecting that content to your Google+ profile using Google’s authorship markup may help increase your visibility in Google search results.
The authorship markup sends a clear signal to Google that your content is from a credible, high-quality source, aligning with a general trend towards trust and authority as increasingly important factors in search engine algorithms. Plus, authorship allows your photo to display next to your content in search results, which should improve overall click-through rates as users tend to trust content that’s associated with real people.
In order to see authorship information next to your content in Google and Google News search results, you first need to create a Google+ profile and then associate it with the content you produce.
Step 1: Create a Google+ Profile
Like we mentioned in our previous post about the value of Google+ for local businesses, Google+ (the social network) is a great way to teach Google (the search engine) about yourself, so be sure to fill out your profile as completely as you can.
- Make sure the byline that appears on your content is the same as the name on your profile page
- Upload a clear headshot
- Fill out the “about” section in as much detail as possible, using keywords associated with your industry
- Hyperlink phrases in your introduction/bio section to your publications and blogs
- Unlike other social media networks, Google+ encourages you to promote all of your social channels in your profile. Check out my Google+ profile below:
Step 2: Verify Your Email Address
If you have an email address that has the same domain name as your blog, be sure to verify it. You can do so here. This will add your email address to the Work section of your profile, which by default is viewable only by your circles. Once your email is verified, a checkmark will appear next to it on your Google+ “about” page. (According to Google, if your byline appears on the content then this is all you need to do to install authorship, though we suggest completing the remaining steps.)
Step 3: Link to Your Content from Google+
On your “about” page in Google+, there is a “contributor” area that allows you to link to the blogs/publications you contribute to. You can do so by selecting the “add a custom link” option. If you have a bio page on your blog/publication, link to that. Otherwise, link directly to a post. Below is a screenshot from my “about” page:
Step 4: Link to Google+ from Your Content
This step is optional if you’ve completely the first three, but it can’t hurt. On your blog or publication, hyperlink your name to your Google+ profile using the rel=”author” link, such as <a ref=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/102129021059190311311/posts?rel=author”> It’s best to do this from your bio page, but if you don’t have one, you can hyperlink your byline from each post. If you are guest blogging, ask the blog to hyperlink your byline using the rel=author code, and then add a link to your guest post in your Google+ “contributors” section.
Step 5: Test It
Using Google’s rich snippets tool, you can test how your post/article will look in Google search results by entering its URL. If authorship has been successfully implemented, you should see your photo next to the search result. You can also check out the “authors stats” section in Google’s Webmaster Tools to see how often your content is showing up in search results.
Now, when someone searches for a topic you’ve written about, your photo should appear next to your article, encouraging people to click on it. Check out the search results below; though my article is not the first result, it is the one your eye is drawn to because of the photo, byline, and extra Google+ information.
Once you’ve set up your Google+ profile, get stats on how it’s performing at AllMyPlus.com, and the search engine optimization report in Google Webmaster Tools (under the “Traffic Sources” tab).