If you're blogging and creating quality content that is ranking well in search engine results, then your inbound marketing strategy is paying off. Good for you!
But if you've noticed the list of blue links that make up that Google search results page, you may also have noticed some that stand out from the rest because of the author's mug shot. These little thumbnail headshots are the result of Google Authorship.
This photo of the content’s author makes its Google search engine listing more eye-catching to the user, and can increase click-through rates. While this reason alone should be enough for marketers to set up this free service, there's more going on behind the scenes that helps Google provide better search engine results.
Why Google Authorship Matters
Google Authorship makes it easy to identify the author of the content that displays in the search result. It ensures that the information posted is a) from a person, and b) tied to that person's digital reputation through their Google+ account. Google Authorship is one way Google combats low quality content and websites in search results.
How to set up Google Authorship
With Authorship, content creators build authority and trust. This signals to Google (and users, too!) that a web page is highly credible. But in order to see an author image appear in Google search, you need to have "authorship." Here’s how to do it:
- Make sure your Google+ profile page has a profile photo that is a recognizable headshot. A good quality head shot can increase CTR as much as 35%.
- Make sure you have an email address (for example, email@example.com) on the same domain as your content (yourdomain.com). If you don’t have an email address on the same domain, Google has an alternative method for linking your content to your Google+ profile.
- In the "About" section of your Google+ profile, add that email address so it’s easier for Google to associate your Google+ account with your domain.
- In addition, make sure each article you publish on that domain has a clear byline identifying you as the author (for example, "By John Doe" or "Author: John Doe").
- Furthermore, make sure that byline name matches the name on your Google+ profile.
- Visit Google's Authorship page, and submit your email address to Google. Regardless of the number of articles you publish on this domain, you'll only need to go through this process once.
- In the "About" section of your Google+ profile, make sure the profile discovery box, "Help others discover my profile in search,"
Once Google approves your authorship request, your Google+ profile will update with the domain on which you’re a content contributor in the "Contributor to" section of your Google+ profile. By default, it will also automatically make your email address visible to the public (though you can change this setting).
You may also receive an email confirmation from Google once your request for Authorship has been approved.
Google Authorship improves Google's search results by connecting you, the author, with the content you publish, using the information you provide in your Google+ profile. In fact users can click to your Google+ page from the search listing. So remember to keep your visitors engaged with more posts and links to other relevant content.