This guest post is by Tom of make-a-web-site.com.
At the 2011 SMX Advanced event, Matt Cutts announced the Google initiative to support authorship markup, or more simply, to give you ownership of your content in the search results.
Let’s start with a definition.
Authorship, in this context, refers to Google’s parameters for making a verified connection between a person’s original web content and their Google Plus profile.
Google created Authorship by developing the HTML markup rel ” author”. When content owners apply it correctly to their content, Google can create the connection with their G+ profile.
Google will then display your profile picture next to your content in the search results. If you’ve set Google Authorship up properly, your search results should look something like this.
What is rel = “author”?
You’re probably very familiar with the standard linking practice for web content.
Traditionally, the href in a link refers to the attribute or location where the linked content exists.
If you add the attribute rel = “author” to links to your own content, it will associate your ownership—or “authorship”—with the content on the linked page.
This is the first step in telling Google that you are the owner and original publisher of that content.
The new anchor, with Authorship applied, will look like this:
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/”>Tom on Google +</a>
The new markup HTML code rel = “author” is changing the game of search as we know it.
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/” rel=”author”>Tom on Google +</a>
Why is Authorship important?
Google has made it quite clear with the development of Google Authorship that it’s moving away from regarding pure link-building as a factor in web page authority. Your value as an author will come into play more as Google dials down its dependence on basic links.
Another possible effect is that Authorship may increase Google search clickthrough rates. You probably feel that you are naturally drawn to a search result with an image beside it. According to one study, adding Authorship to links increased Google search CTR by 150%.
Implementing authorship on your website
Adding Authorship when making your blog should be standard practice for all webmasters. These are the recommend steps.
- Make sure you have a Google + profile. If not, sign up here.
- Make sure you have confirmed the email address within your profile. Google wants to make sure you aren’t a robot.
- Link your Google Plus profile to your content.
Now, to create the Contributor link in your Google+ profile follow these steps:
Log into your Google+ account. On the home page at the top right, you’ll see the Edit profile button. Click that.
In editing mode, click on the About tab on your profile.
On the About page, scroll down the the Contributor to link, and click on “What pages feature your work?”
Click Add custom link.
Type in either your root domain or the page where you content is posted (see the Note below), and label it accordingly.
Note: if you are identifying your authorship of the content on your site, link to your root domain name. So in my case it is http://www.make-a-web-site.com.
If you are claiming authorship of a guest post, add a link to the guest post. So, for this guest post example the link would be http://www.problogger.net/google-authorship-get-your-photos-in-the-search-results/.
Finally, let’s link your content to your Google + profile.
Make sure you are use the rel = “author” markup in the code of your guest post bio to verify that you are the original owner of the content.
The HTML will look something like this, but make sure you place you Google+ profile address in between the quote marks.
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/123456789″ rel=”author”>Tom on Google +</a>
What about guest posts?
For guest posts, it’s important to make sure you have the correct HTML in your bio box. Make sure you are using the rel = “author” markup. No markup, no snippet!
Then, link to that post from the Contributor section in your Google+ profile as I outlined above. The only downside is that you are going to have a lot of links if you are a serious guest poster.
How to test it’s working
To check whether your website or content has been linked to your Google+ profile, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
From the image below you can see that my Authorship of my website content has been verified by Google.
What Google has to say
Google has posted publicly about this topic. See Google’s head of webspam team Matt Cutts and software engineer Othar Hansson discuss Authorship in the video below.
They provide a very concise introduction to what Google Authorship is, including a whiteboard demonstration, how it works, and what the benefit is for webmasters. They also cover the basics of using authorship for SEO.
Building good relationships is the backbone of good SEO. Authorship allows you to make the most of the high-quality, original content you produce—it allows you to become an expert in your field not only in the eyes of your readers, but in the eyes of the Google algorithm as well.
Although this project has initially been launched as a way to allow your profile photo to show up next to your results, I believe it will become a larger ranking factor in the future. That’s why it is important to start implementing good habits now.