If you’ve done a Google search recently (and who hasn’t?), you may have noticed thumbnail photos appearing next to search results like this one:
These photos are the result of Google’s support of a feature that exist in standard HTML5 (rel=”author”) and their mission “to connect authors with their content on the web.”
Launched in 2011, Google Authorship has recently become a hot topic in the SEO community. Many are speculating whether or not it is already impacting rankings in Google search results and giving a boost to web traffic for those who are properly implementing the tag in their content.
What is Google Authorship?
Google Authorship is a Google+ feature that allows an author to be recognized for the content they have published on the Internet. In turn, Google uses this authorship system to determine the expertise of the author and rank their work accordingly (Author Rank).
Benefits of Setting Up Your Google Authorship
- Build trust and authority. By writing relevant and original content and having it associated through your Google+ profile, you will be able to build trust and confidence with your readers. Once you’ve established yourself as an authority on a particular subject, chances are people will immediately click on a search result written by you since they know that you know what you’re talking about.
- Fight plagiarism. Another great benefit of Authorship is how it identifies and devalues spammers. As more authors uses Google Authorship, Google will be able to easily find spam contents or those that were just copied from someone else’s site, and give then less value over the original source. There are still several debates on how effectively this can be implemented by Google, and Google admits that Authorship is still in its early stage, but you can expect them to continuously explore and find ways to exploit the “rel=author” tag.
- Quicker Indexing. In terms of SEO benefits, according to Jeff Sauer in a SEOmoz’ case study, “Google Authorship and the Fast Track to Better Rankings: A Case Study,” connecting a new site to your Google+ Authorship can help get its pages indexed faster.
In this video, Matt Cutts shared why you should start implementing authorship, now.
How to set up a Google+ Authorship for your WordPress Website
If you are already using WordPress 3.5 or higher, setting up Google authorship for your posts is easy.
Step 1: Set-up your Google+ Profile. The first step in using Google Authorship is setting up your profile in Google+. Make sure that your Google+ Personal Page has a recognizable profile photo.
Step 2: In the USER section, go to your profile and add your Google+ profile URL in the Google+ section.
Step 3: In your Google Profile page, go to the CONTRIBUTOR TO section and add the link to your website. If you write for several other websites, you can also add those sites to this section.
To check if you’re implementing authorship correctly, go to Rich Snippet Testing Tool via your webmaster account. Google also shares a few tips on how to add Authorship to content that you share in other websites other that your own here.
For a full guidelines on how to add Google Authorship to your site, you can check out this article from the Huffington Post, “The Complete Guide to Google Authorship.”