Benefitting From Google Authorship on Your Blog

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So it looks like this series is finally winding down. I’m simply running out of topics to write about.

For previous blog tips posts I could simply ramble on about topics that I’d already learned a lot about. This week’s post is actually going to require some research and learning. That’s all well and good, but I just don’t have the time for it 🙁

If you’re new to this series, check out some of the previous blogging tips posts:

For this week’s post I wasn’t quite sure what to write about. I happened to be talking to an advertiser the other night who brought up something that a lot of bloggers were missing out on.

Google Authorship For Your Blog

If you’ve been searching Google lately, you may have noticed that many blog posts now show a headshot photo of that blogger. Some of you may have been wondering why it only shows up for some blogs and how you can setup something similar for your blog.

This search results feature is called Google Authorship. It is essentially Google’s way of drawing attention to legitimate content producers that likely have a higher level of credibility. They figure that if a blogger is willing to connect both their name and photo to their content, they are putting their reputation at stake. It is less likely to be content that is mass produced overseas for $2 per article. It also probably isn’t content that is spun a hundred times and published on dozens of websites.

Sure having your photo in search results is cool, but there is a lot more to it than that. I’ve been reading about click through rates increasing by 15-50% when a blog is using authorship. That can be a substantial increase in Google search traffic. There are also rumors of a planned Author Rank system which would help push up content from authors that produce favorable user metrics. At the very least I could see this helping a website’s Trust Rank. In short, Google will likely reward you for standing behind your content.

So if you’re not blogging anonymously, it is highly recommended that you take the time to setup Google Authorship. It is well worth the small amount of time it will take.

How to Setup Google Authorship

It seems that Google is working on making it easier to setup authorship. Previously you had to link to your Google+ profile with a special link attribute for each post. According to Google’s website, that isn’t the only verification method anymore.

In case Google changes their setup, please refer to this page for current instructions. That is also the page that you can use to verify your e-mail address. They detail 4 steps to “link your Google+ profile to the content you create”:

1) “Make sure you have a profile photo with a recognizable headshot.” I’ve read that not using a proper headshot photo can prevent your authorship from showing up. I’m not sure how they detect this, but they have safeguards against people using logos, cartoons, mascots, etc.

2) “Make sure a byline containing your name appears on each page of your content (for example, “By Steven Levy”).” I was a little hesitant to make this change myself. I don’t mind people finding my full name if they dig a bit, but for someone reason I didn’t want it all over my blog. In the end I decided to go ahead and make the change.

3) “Make sure your byline name matches the name on your Google+ profile.” This could be a little awkward for some finance bloggers who forced their blog name into a first & last name on google+. I can’t guarantee that they will accept your site name…that is if there is any kind of manual approval process on their end.

4) “Verify you have an email address (such as stevenlevy@wired.com) on the same domain as your content.” Use the form here to submit your e-mail address once done steps 1, 2 & 3. This could be a hiccup for all the bloggers who use a gmail account instead of an e-mail address with their blog’s domain.

For people who don’t have an e-mail address matching their domain, you can still setup authorship by linking your content to your google+ profile. This is detailed here. This makes it possible to use authorship when you guest post or staff write on other blogs.

I’ve read that it can take quite a while (possibly months) for your authorship photo to show up in search results. I wouldn’t be surprised if more established bloggers get priority processing. To ensure that you’ve set everything up correctly, just enter your google+ profile url here.

As promised, that wasn’t too difficult. I think I’ve got it all setup on my end now. So what are you waiting for? Have you setup your Google Authorship yet?