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Google Authorship and Its Role in Better SEO Rankings

Posted on the 24 July 2014 by Shellykramer @ShellyKramer

Google Authorship and Its Role in Better SEO RankingsThere was a time not so long ago when getting to the top of the search rankings was a matter of hiring an SEO expert and spending a bunch of money to ensure you “owned” certain keywords and appeared high in search results. Google changed all that (long story short) with its Panda and Penguin updates and today, rewards sites producing fresh, relevant content with higher placement in search results.

Good content is important, but it’s certainly not enough on its own to ensure high placement in search results. That’s especially true today, with so many people and brands focused on content marketing (with most doing a poor job of it). In the simplest possible terms, Google’s mission is to provide searchers with relevant answers to their queries in the quickest, most effective manner possible.

That’s why Google Authorship is an important part of any SEO strategy. As a  content creator, you should consider taking a few simple steps to make sure that you get recognition as an author in the search engine results page (SERP), which is a listing of results returned by search engines in response to a keyword query.

The Google Authorship Back Story

Google first started to support Authorship by way of the rel=author markup back in mid 2011. In the intervening years, Google has been tweaking its algorithm such that author data began to play an increasingly important role in search rankings. That process originally culminated in the appearance of the author photos showing up in search results attached to content created by that particular author. As is the norm with The Goog, as soon as we got used to that and started preaching the importance of Authorship, Google changed it up again.

Where Authorship is Today

Last month, Google’s John Mueller announced that profile photos and Google+ circle counts would be removed from search results. He stated that their internal tests had shown that CTR would be largely unaffected by the change, a point on which there is some disagreement if you take a look at the comments to his announcement. Search results now show only an author byline linked to their G+ page (if authorship is in place) although you may still see a photo for a result that shows a Google+ post by an author who is in your circles, if you are signed into Google when you search.

As ever, this change has sparked much speculation about Google’s motives and future intentions, with the conspiracy theorists seeing this as another step towards the death of Google+. I prefer the more considered conclusion of one of my favorite and most trusted resources, Mark Traphagen over at Moz, who thinks that Google authorship does still matter and that “Google remains committed to author authority as a search factor.”

What to Do Now

There’s a million different points of view on this, but to our way of thinking, it’s always better to just settle down when Google changes something up and just wait to see what happens. So many people didn’t pay attention to Authorship anyway, that it’s not a huge issue to people other than those of us in the business. And since it’s always better to be safe than sorry, I think that it’s important to implement Authorship on your corporate blog or other places you contribute content and stake your claim to your content than to not do it.

How to Implement Google Authorship

Google Authorship is pretty easy to implement, and here’s a step-by-step guide to walk you through it:

  • Create a Google+ profile or make sure your current profile is up-to-date.
  • Set up the “Contributor to” section linking to your content on your own and on other sites.
  • Add authorship to your content, which will link to your G+ profile, using the rel=author tag, email verification or, if you use WordPress by way of a plugin.
  • All of your content, no matter where published, should contain an authorship tag – if you are a guest on another blog check their policy and make sure it’s there.
  • Test authorship is set up correctly using the Google Rich Snippet Testing Tool.
  • If you’re not already using Google+, it might be a good idea to start. And try sharing your content there, which will likely help with indexation. There are many who claim G+ is dead or dying, but until it happens, it just doesn’t make sense to us to ignore it.

If you would like to dig a little deeper into improving your author rankings, try taking a look at and ClearVoice, both of which provide some good resources and information to give you a clearer picture of how authorship is benefiting your SEO strategy.

Encouraging more visitors to your G+ profile can enhance your reputation as a reliable provider of content. More comments and +1’s, together with the opportunity for new visitors to find your other work can not only improve your visibility, but also improve search optimization for your current and future content.

For me, authorship remains a relevant and effective method of enhancing SEO for content creators and equally as important, claiming your content across the web. With some 237ish million blogs out there, and that number growing on a daily basis, doing what you can to augment your reputation as a thought leader in a particular area is important. And Google Authorship is one way you can do that..

Over to you – do you use Authorship on your blog? Do you think it’s helping your SEO efforts? Do you think the removal of photos has or will impact its effectiveness for you? I’d love to hear what you think.

Other resources on this topic:

The Eradication of Google Authorship Photos
Tips to take Advantage of Google Plus for SEO
SEO Is Not Dead: But It Just Might Kill Your Website

This article was originally published on LinkedIn

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

Google Authorship and Its Role in Better SEO Rankings is a post from: V3 Kansas City Integrated Marketing and Social Media Agency

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