Today's post is for anybody who has ever looked at their Google search results and wondered, "Now why does that guy have his picture beside his content and I don't?"
The answer is, that guy has successfully set up Google Authorship for the content he shares online. In a nutshell, Google Authorship is a way for people searching for content to immediately see who wrote an article, identifying them by their name a photo.
If you have a blog and are consistently creating posts as part of your content marketing strategy, you have a huge opportunity to do something relatively simple that can have big benefits for you and your small business. What kind of benefits, you ask?
- Google Authorship is good for your business
One of the best ways to grow you your small business is by increasing the traffic to your website. There are lots of SEO (search engine optimization) strategies out there for doing this, and among them is a great blog. We've talked a lot lately about content marketing, which drives traffic to your site by way of blog articles your audience finds when searching the web. One way to maximize the benefit of these pieces of content for your website is by adding your Google+ author information.
As CIO points out, Google CEO Eric Schmidt 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."
Because the content you're providing is relevant and engaging, they're probably going to stay awhile once they click instead of 'bouncing' right away, which will signal to Google that your page is a good one to rank more highly since people find what they're looking for.
- Google Authorship is good for your personal brand
If you blog regularly, you have the potential to create a name for yourself within the industry you write about. If you have Google Authorship set up properly, people who regularly perform searches around a certain topic will start to recognize you, and will (hopefully) start clicking on your content instead of someone else's because they already know they trust your advice. Names can be hard to remember, so even if you've actually read several articles by the same person, you might not even know it without their photo beside the name. On an even more basic level, posts with a photo just plain stand out more and are more likely to get clicks:
The more authority you gain, the more people will click your content and link back to your blog - which lives on your website. They'll begin to associate you with authority and relevance, and those associations will be transferred to your brand and your business.
Google Authorship might sound a little technical on first pass, but it's actually pretty easy to set up. You just need to take the following steps:
1. Set up a polished and robust Google+ profile for your personal self (not your business - although you should have that too)
2. Get a professional-looking headshot of yourself that you don't mind having plastered all over Google
3. Met sure your blog is currently set up such that each entry displays a byline with your name on it (and that that name is the same as your Google+ profile)
4. Make sure your byline name matches the name on your Google+ profile.
5. Verify that you have an email address on the same domain as your content. I.e., if you blog at mybiz.com, you have an email address like [email protected]. (If you don't have this, you can still do authorship. It just requires these additional steps.) There's a verification tool on this page, in addition to other helpful info.
6. On your Google+ profile, ensure that you're linking to your blog(s) from the Links section. List whatever you consider yourself a Contributor To.
It will take a few days of posting and Google crawling for everything to take effect, but be patient - it's worth the wait!
And now for that infographic we mentioned in the title. Created by Internet Marketing Inc., it's a great visual explanation of everything (and more!) we've talk about today.