Chances are you’ve come across a search result with the author’s name and photo next to their search listing. Users tend to gravitate towards these results as they stand out on the crowded page. Yet few businesses have taken advantage of this feature. The internet is saturated with content similar to yours and having your author information appear is a simple (and free) way to add prominence and credibility to your search listing. According to a recent article by Search Engine Land, only 1 in every 5 Google searches shows Rel=Author (a.k.a. author markup) in the top 100 results, so it’s the perfect time to jump on board before your competitors do.

Author markups enable the author of the webpage to link their content to their Google+ profile page (which has to link back to the site for 2 way verification). Doing so shows a rich snippet of their Google+ profile (your image, name and link back to the profile) next to their webpage in the Google search results. Be warned, however, I have seen some instances where Google hasn’t accepted someone to participate in this relatively new experiment, but the benefits far outweigh this possibility.

What Benefit Does Author Markup Offer My Business?

In case I haven’t sold you enough on the idea, according a recent study on the impact of rich snippet markups on traffic, the number of clicks increased by 150% once the rich snippet was added.

Let’s take a closer look at why click-through rates increased dramatically. Author markups:

  • Highlight your listing. For free, I might add. It now stands out from the 4 out of 5 results that don’t have an author markup attached.
  • Anyone can see it. Even users who aren’t logged into their Google accounts or their social media accounts will still see the rich author info and photo.
  • Provides credibility. Info for rich snippets is taken from a verified Google+ profile.
  • Increased exposure. Your name is hyperlinked with your Google+ profile URL so if people like your article they can easily visit your profile.

Author Markup And SEO Benefits

Cutts previously featured in a Google Webmaster video discussing the introduction of author markup. In this video, his colleague Othar Hansson alludes to author markup having SEO benefits. “It’s early days, we hope to use this information, and any information as a ranking signal. We want to get information on credibility of authors from all kinds of sources to use as ranking signals,” Hansson says.

Now SEO professionals are speculating about Author Rank; the idea of assigning a higher level of trust and authority to content created by verified authors. In other words, the better the content is, the more trusted the author becomes and the more trusted their future content becomes.

While the SEO benefits have been widely debated, it does make sense. Who seems more trustworthy? Content created by verified authors who have created previous quality content over less reputable writers appearing in the search results? Google is aiming for an SEO-less world where content ranks based on its quality, rather than how well optimized it is. Associating a verified and trustworthy author to content and having it as one of the ranking signals will help Google determine quality content. The best SEO software in the world can’t give you this kind of exposure on the search engines!

How Do You Implement Author Markup?

It’s a little daunting when you’re not an SEO professional but it’s a lot simpler than you think. Basically, you just need to link your Google+ profile to your blog (which has to link back to the site for 2 way verification). Follow Google’s instructions on author markup listed here and reference step 1 and 2 below for further clarification for Google’s instructions on verifying your email address and how to find the “Contributor to” section on Google+.

If you encounter any problems, try following all the instructions I’ve detailed below:

Step 1. Create a Google profile or a Google+ account

Use an email address with the same domain as your blog and verify the account using the email they send to you after you sign up. Once you view your profile, under the heading “Work” you can add your email address and you will see a grey circle with a tick next to it to show it has been verified.

How To Implement The Google Rel=Author Markup

Supposedly as long as you post on the same domain as your email, and the posts have the same byline as the name on your Google+ account, this is sufficient for Google to link your articles to this account. But just to be safe, I wouldn’t stop at this step.

Step 2. Link your Google+ profile (through the “Contributor to” section) to your blog

What Is The Google Rel=Author Markup

On the right hand side panel, click on “Profile”.

Click on “Edit Profile” just on top of your cover photo.

Scroll down the page and find “Contributor to” links.

Click on these words to open the edit box.

Now just enter in your blog URL.

Step 3. Link your blog to your Google+ profile

In each article page, there needs to be some reference to the post’s author in order for this to work. Placing this link in your “About me” or author bio is best. I could include a paragraph in my bio page requesting readers “Visit me on my Google+ Profile for more Google+ tips and tricks” with “Google+ Profile” pointing to this your Google+ profile URL. Here is the general code:

<a rel=”me” target=”_blank” href=”[Your Google+ Profile URL]”>[description of what the link points to]</a>

4. Link your individual content to your Google+ profile.

Now that its implemented, when you write an article, simply link your name in your byline (your hyperlinked name that appears under the article title) or author box (often at the bottom of the page with info about the author) to your blog author page with the

Rel=Author code.

Here is the general code:

<a rel=”author” href=”[Author page URL]”>[Name]</a>

Tip: If you use WordPress, there are plugins, such as Author Box Reloaded, that will add the markup for you automatically. They will also add your image and icons to all the social networks.

5. Test this connection

Google provides a testing tool to verify your author markup and simulate what your webpage would look like in the search results. But be warned that this tool can indicate false errors.

There you have it. Now go and link your old blog posts to your Google+ profile. While this has been clearly implemented for Google’s own self interest (forcing you to use their social network) author markup provides anyone who creates online content, particularly small businesses to get their content to stand out.

Siv Rauv is a Marketing Coordinator at Apex Pacific Internet marketing software. involved in all aspects of internet marketing from SEO software  and social media marketing tools to email marketing and PPC. Internet marketing can be confusing so in my spare time I like to write internet marketing articles to help businesses make the most out of their internet marketing efforts.

 

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