Good news for bloggers: Google is rewarding original online content creators with a new tool: Authorship. Because this will effect how our content ranks in the search engine, we want to help you understand it now in order to benefit in the future.
After Erika Miller's awesome IFBcon workshop on SEO, it became clear that we at IFB aren't alone in our obsession with SEO and what it can do for us bloggers. There were more questions in the audience than she had time to answer.
I've written before about how Google can help you generate content ideas, as well as the specific, magical power of keywords when it comes to gaining traffic. Now I want to talk about (or at least try to talk about) Authorship and Author Rank. It's new, it's powerful and it's important to understand if you want to give your content it's best shot at being discovered online in the near future.
What is Authorship and Author Rank?
Let's start with this little tid-bit to consider: Google is now starting to use Google+ as a major factor in how search results are ranked. Say what you want about how ethical it is for the the world's most widely used search engine to be using it's own products to influence search results, but the point is – it's happening. This is called Authorship. It “gives us [the content producers] a set of methods to make a verified connection between our original content anywhere on the web and our Google+ profile.”
Google is now starting to use Google+ as a major factor in how search results are ranked.
Author Rank means that Google is using Google+ profiles to identify individual authors (that's you), and this information has an impact on how your content ranks in Google search. Crazy, right? Many of us are probably barely paying attention to our Google+ accounts these days, but now it's time to start!
What you need to do:
1. Sign up Google Authorship and learn more about it here.
2. You'll need to add the sites where you have authorship to the “Contributor to” portion of your G+ profile. Add the name and URL of your blog (and Tumblr too, if you have one), and make this information public. (That's important!) This is how Google will know you are associated with these sites.
What does Author Rank mean for bloggers?
Okay so, now what? There's been little solid, verified confirmation that Google Author Rank is currently being used, but in a snippet from his upcoming book, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said this:
“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. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
So, whether we like it or not – we can likely expect Authorship and Author Rank to start affecting our search rankings in the (probably near) future. The goal is to help more high-quality, trustworthy content get discovered, and that's a good thing – since we are producing just that. Your Google+ profile is how the search engine will verify that you are a trusted creator of original online content.
The goal is to help more high-quality, trustworthy content get discovered, and that's a good thing – since we are producing just that. Your Google+ profile is how the search engine will verify that you are a trusted creator of original online content.
I've been doing a lot of reading, and I won't lie, this stuff can be a bit confusing. I'm going to explain to the best of my understanding what Author Rank could do: Potentially, if you are verified as a contributor to a site through Google+, and posting on Google+ or your blog about personal style, and someone else who also posts about personal style recommends or shares your content, both of these things can positively influence your rankings within Google.
Linking your Google+ profile to your blog may not immediately influence your rank within Google, but according to all the sources I looked into, it's going to matter – soon.
Lastly, keep in mind this is by no means an exhaustive explination of Authorship and Author Rank, but an introduction. Much of what we know about how search engines rank content is speculative, so we can only do our best to understand and work with what we have!
For more on IFB:
- Google+: A Second Look at Google+; 5 Reasons You Should Use Google+
- SEO: Why SEO Still Matters For Bloggers; Strutting the Ranks: IFB's Beginner Guide to SEO
Elsewhere (my sources):