*Update: As of April 2, 2019, Google+ will no longer exist. Learn more.
What is Authorship?
Authorship is essentially linking your Google+ profile to content that you have produced on the web. When it is done properly and your content appears in Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) it will look something like this.
What does Authorship DO?
Authorship helps Google determine Author Rank. Author Rank will be another tool that Google will use in its algorithm to help determine quality relevant search results and reduce spam. Prior to Authorship when you would perform a Google Search you would see titles, snippets (descriptions) and URLs to help determine which content you would like to read. Authorship provides users with the last missing piece by letting users know who wrote the content they are about to read. Think about this in a real world example. If I asked you to go into a book store and pick out a book based off of a small snippet of text, the title and the publisher would it be very easy? You might grab a book published by Doubleday and end up with a science fiction novel by Isaac Asimov, or a horror novel by Stephen King. In the world of search results Authorship solves a problem that we didn’t know existed by answering the question, who wrote what I am about to read?
The What’s in it For Me?
Authorship provides many benefits to many people; here’s a quick list of those benefits.
For those that write, Authorship provides you with some very interesting insights and a new level of understanding of your content. If you log into Google Webmaster Tools with the same Google account that is linked to your Google+ page, Google will provide you with statistics for your content no matter what site it is published on (provided you are the verified author). Seeing statistics like Click Through Rate and average position in SERPs will help you craft better and more relevant content, or maybe reinforce that you are as awesome as you think you are.
- Quick Tip- Set up Authorship sooner than later. Studies are showing that early adopters to Authorship are benefiting from an increased Click Through Rate. It’s my opinion that as the practice becomes more widely used that benefit will decrease.
Readers and Google Users
Authorship will help Google Users and content readers by answering that big question, who wrote what I am about to read? But more importantly Authorship provides Google with another indicator of quality relevant content. This will only improve the search experience and reduce spam in the search results.
Google benefits in a few different ways. As I’ve stated a few times above, Authorship will improve search results and the search experience which improves Google as a product. The controversial benefit to Google is the benefit that Google+ receives. There are two major battles in the Internet marketing world. The battles are on the social front and the search front. Google is winning the search front, however on the social front Google is in a less favorable position. Some see the Authorship push as a way to force users toward Google+. This might very well be the case, but I don’t care and neither should you. My opinion for almost everything, “is mind your own business.” And I don’t mean in the elementary school definition “of mind your own business;” I mean you should do what is right for you and your business. The benefits that you can receive from building an Author Rank far outweigh any philosophical statement that you can make by avoiding it.
Tips You Can Use
- Claim a Google+ page, if you don’t have one already.
- On every site you own, set up Authorship. If you Contribute to a site and they have not yet embraced Authorship share this post with the webmasters and encourage them to get on board.
- If you don’t know how to set up Authorship and you use WordPress with Genesis you can read my post on setting up Authorship, or do it the hard way and follow directions provided by Google
- Power Tip- If you have a website that produces content without an identified author you can link that content to a companies Google+ page. This is not yet featured in search results, but it is a safe bet that establishing your site as a Publisher will be just as important.
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