Not long after the launch of Google+, Google allowed users to connect their blogs to their Google+ profile using a technique known as “Authorship”. It’s long been assumed that this would have a noticeable affect on search results, which was recently confirmed by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt a few weeks ago when he said:
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
What does this mean for you? It’s time to get your Authorship configured.
Love it or hate it, Google+ is at the core of the concept of Authorship. You connect your blog with your Google+ account so that Google will attribute those blog posts your Google+ profile. It’s really just a two-step process:
1 – Connect Google+ to your blog: Edit your Google+ profile, go into the “contributes to” section, and add a link to your blog.
2 – Connect your blog to Google+: Make sure you link your blog over to your Google+ profile using the “rel=author” tag. If you use WordPress, a plug-in such as this one will do the job. If your blog happens to be running a StudioPress-powered theme, it’s now built into it. Just edit your profile in your blog to include a link to your Google+ profile and you’re good to go.
Once you have it set up you can verify it by putting a link to one of your blog posts in the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool. It will quickly tell you whether or not it’s set up correctly, though it could take a few weeks to start appearing correctly in the search results.
What will this do for me?
Once it’s set up correctly (and given time to propagate), your Google+ profile photo will show up next to your blog posts in Google search results. It doesn’t seem to affect ranking very much yet, but that’s likely to increase as the year goes by. If nothing else, having a photo next to your post will help it to stand out among the other results.
What about my business?
The key right now is that this only works for personal Google+ profiles. While your business should certainly have a page on Google+, you can only connect Authorship via your personal account. There are rumors of this changing soon, but no official word yet from Google. If you white label or ghost write for a company, it makes Authorship difficult to implement right now.
What about Links?
It’s always important to think about ways to get more links pointing to your website, though the importance of those links is continuing to drop. Still, always be on the lookout for ways to build more links as we touched on in a post last week.
You can read more about Authorship and how to get started on Google’s official Authorship page.
Have you set this up for your site yet?