If you don’t know about Google Plus Authorship yet then you really need to! According to Search Engine Land, Eric Schmidt of Google has released a statement declaring that authorship could become the most important factor for ranking.
Not keywords. Not social signals. Not backlinks. But whether or not Google knows and trusts the author of the content.
Obviously this is something that small business owners have to get on top of.
What is Google Places Authorship?
Have you ever run a search and noticed that someone’s photograph appears next to the search results? That someone is the person that Google has recognized as the content’s author.
Most people instinctively trust the content more when they see an author photograph next to that content. The results that show up without such a picture just don’t look as credible.
As noted in the Slide Share presentation below (courtesy of Mitul Ghandi), Google Authorship doesn’t just make your content rank better. It makes it more “clickable” too.
Aside from the trust and “clickiness” factor, the author photograph draws the eye. As Plumber SEO stated in a recent webinar, it “makes your listing jump off the page.”
What does this mean? It means your content could show up as the #2 or #3 result and might still get the click over the #1 result (without an author attribution) because the person’s eye is drawn right to it.
Author Rank–Coming Soon?
You may have heard that Google has a feature called Page Rank to determine how active, important, useful or interesting a site is. Well, while it’s not here yet, Google has made it pretty clear that Authors will also be given some kind of rank in the future.
Content written by someone with a high AR will probably rank better than content written by someone with a low AR. And content that Google considers “anonymous” will rank lowest of all.
The people who start building their AR now are the ones that are going to have a high AR when this feature rolls out. As with most things, fortune favors the early adopter.
Okay, So How Do I Make this Happen?
I think the best part about all of this is that it’s super easy to do.
First, you need to set up a Google Profile. Visit http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/profile/.
Next, you need to go to the “Contributor To” section.
Click edit to add your blog title and link, then hit save.
Now you need to tell Google that the content is yours. You can, if you want, do that the fancy HTML way.
Personally, I’ve never done that, because my brain doesn’t do code. (Travis might, though).
Instead, I like to install one of the many, many WordPress Plugins that will put all of that code in there for me once I give it my profile link.
Whichever way you choose you’ll want to use the Google Rich Snippet Tool to make sure that all of this is working.
And that’s it! Produce a steady stream of great content as normal, knowing that your author rank is increasing all the time.
And don’t worry. You can do this even if you’ve hired someone for their blog writing services. As long as the content points to your profile, Google will recognize it as having been written by you.