A beginner’s guide to Google Authorship

business woman working at her officeGoogle Authorship, to most people, is still something of an elusive beast. Many brands will have heard rumours about it on the content marketing circuit, and know it’s becoming more important – but the majority of them don’t really know what it is, or how it can help them.

Fear not – Write My Site is here to help. In this guide, we’ll talk you through what Google Authorship is, how you set it up, and the difference it can make for your brand. Dig out your finest profile picture, because your business blog is about to get personal …

What is Google Authorship?

Google Authorship, on a basic level, is a new way for Google to identify the authors of specific pieces of content (e.g. articles on company blogs). It works by the author setting up a Google+ profile and linking it to all the websites and blogs to which he or she contributes. As Google builds up a pattern of the sort of content the author tends to write, it can start to give priority in the search results to content written by that person.

How do I claim Authorship for my blog?

To set up Google Authorship, you need to have a Google+ profile – and the more established and active it is, the better. You’ll need a (reasonably professional) profile picture – no drunken escapades or zany holiday snaps, please! – and details about who you are, where you work, and links to any relevant websites for your brand. Search for people you may know and add them to your circles; the more contacts you have, the easier it will be to make Google sit up and take notice.

Once you’ve completed the basics on your Google+ profile, you’ll need to follow one of Google’s two procedures to link your Google+ profile to your blog and claim Authorship.

When this is done, you should start noticing your name and details appearing next to your posts (like this):

Authorship results snippet
What are the benefits of being identified as the author of my content?

Once you’ve set up your Google Authorship, Google will be keeping tabs on the frequency, popularity and general success of your posts, and it will quickly begin to recognise whether you’re a credible, reliable source of information in your industry.

If you can establish a strong enough presence on Google through Authorship, you’re likely to notice a number of benefits – first and foremost, that your blogs and articles stand out in the search results.

Google is constantly on the lookout for genuinely helpful members of any particular community, and if they see you contributing in a positive way, ultimately they’re more likely to prioritise your content – giving you extra recognition and an impressive boost in traffic.

However, whilst the SEO boost is an obvious perk, Google Authorship also has a number of lesser recognised benefits. The use of a face and a name makes content produced by brands a lot more personable and relatable – consumers find it easier to engage with a recognisable figure than a corporate logo. It also protects against plagiarism, as it allows you to take ownership of your work and prevent underhanded duplication.

From Authorship to AuthorRank

Google Authorship leads to a concept called Google AuthorRank, which, as you might imagine, refers to the ranking of content based on the credibility of its author – in the same way PageRank used to organise websites in the search results based on how many links they managed to attract.

It’s important to note that, at present, Google has not confirmed the existence of AuthorRank – it’s a term being used within the SEO and content marketing industry to describe the likely next step in search technology.

Authorship and AuthorRank are still relatively new concepts, but given that they’re at the coalface of the world’s largest search engine, they need to be taken seriously. Google is the most dominant online presence in the world, and you want to be doing everything you can to get your content featured in the search results, before your competitors beat you to it. Authorship is so simple, but incredibly effective – and if you’re not already using it, believe us when we say that the sooner you start, the better.