Google can be a harsh mistress. Sometimes it seems that just as soon as you’ve figured it out, Google goes and changes all of the rules yet again.
While Google Authorship is not necessarily a new concept, it is one that has gained a great deal of clout in recent months. On the surface it might appear simply as a link to one’s Google Plus profile, but when searches through Google’s engine are taken into account, verified content becomes much more than an author’s photo next to a search result.
In a time when Google is actively clamping down on spam and seeking to verify legitimate content on the Web, Google Authorship is much more than a ploy to push Google Plus as a social media platform. Like it or not, if you publish Web content it’s in your best interest to attain this authorship label, as it might soon be impossible to see your site at the top of the search results list without it.
We’ll look at the origin of Google Authorship, what it means for the future of SEO, and how you can climb aboard the author verification bandwagon.
What Is Google Authorship?
Google Authorship is not a new concept, but more an old concept with a new name. In 2005 Google secured a patent on what was then referred to as Author Rank. This was intended to put into practice the theory that authors who had been deemed experts on a given subject deserved a higher search result rank than someone who lacked the title of expert.
This tactic worked for a while, but it became clear that Google needed a way to actually verify the identities of the experts in question. Thus the Google Plus platform was established.This enabled users to verify their own identities and manage their own content, which allowed Google to grant the authorship titles and improve overall search results.
On the surface it might seem that Google Authorship is nothing more than a perk granted to those people who have successfully navigated the waters of Google Plus, but it is much more than that. With Google Authorship, creators of Web content can link their work to their Google Plus profile, which immediately alerts the search engine that the content is legitimate and verifiable. With this step alone, your content is deemed authentic and will find its way to the top of a search result list more easily.
How Does Google Authorship Affect SEO?
The point of using SEO practices is to increase your rank within a search engine result. Google Authorship facilitates this in a number of ways.
First, once your content is established as genuine and you are verified as the author or creator, your site is almost guaranteed to achieve a higher rank than it had previously. However, Google Authorship goes a few steps further to increase the rate of click-through on your site, and this is where the human factor comes in.
It’s important to remember that while search results are displayed via computerized search engines that crawl over the Web for content, it is a human who sees the results and decides where to click. When a search result is displayed with a photo of the author, this lends instant credibility and indicates to the reader that this is a trusted link.
Lastly, establishing authorship means that Google will index your content more quickly. This means that your content is likely to show up in search results before the competition, which can be a boon for any company that relies on their Web presence for increased revenue.
How to Attain Google Authorship
Some of the most attractive aspects of Google Authorship is it’s easy to set up and it’s free. The first step is to set up your Google Plus account, which will be tied to you Gmail account if you have one.
A photo is required — not to mention highly advised — and you’ll need to update your author information on the pages that you create to include a link to your Google Plus profile. Then it’s important to update that profile to reflect the sites for which you want to claim authorship. Detailed instructions can be found here.
Once the steps are completed, your picture will show up beside search results for the content that you’ve created. To take the process a few steps further, it’s important to expand your Google Plus network to increase your credibility. Readers are more likely to choose content created by someone who has a significant presence in Google Plus circles.
By establishing and implementing authorship criteria, Google has taken great strides to provide search results that include more quality content by verified contributors and less spam or plagiarized material. This has leveled the playing field for many writers. Take advantage of this incredible opportunity to increase the visibility of your brand and watch your online presence soar.
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