Using Authorship to Stand out in Google SERPs

authorsOver the past year or so you’ve probably noticed a lot of author profiles showing up in Google’s search results. That’s because Google launched authorship in search, which allows bloggers like myself to gain notoriety for sharing our knowledge and expertise. But, an authorship listing in Google’s search results isn’t guaranteed for everyone, and you have to set up your site properly to get it to work.

So a little while back I decided to implement it on this site to see if I could get it accepted.

I’m pleased to announce that shortly after I published my last post here, my articles are finally displaying a photo and corresponding author information near them in Google’s SERPs.

authorship listing in google serp

This works for both logged-in and logged-out users.

It did take a while to start showing up; about a month or so after I set it up.

Ways to Implement Authorship Markup

Link Your Content to Your Google+ Profile and Vice Versa

This is method I used.

  1. Added a professional headshot photo to my Google profile.
  2. Included a hyperlink in the contributor to section on the about page of my Google+ profile that points to my author page on the blog. http://www.seorankings.com/author/Wes
  3. Created a link from my author page back to my Google+ profile, with rel=”author” appended to it. https://plus.google.com/116663311902793804492?rel=author
  4. Tested my markup using the rich snippets testing tool, and then fixed any errors.
  5. Submitted my authorship request using this form.

According to Google’s directions this is all you need to do. However, they also provide this additional tip:

If you’re very comfortable editing your site’s HTML, you can create reciprocal links using rel=”author”.

Which is a bit confusing because they don’t provide an explanation whether this is a necessary step, it just helps, or what. I’m guessing it must just some how make it easier for them to verify which articles are written by whom, because I didn’t implement it on this site and it still works.

However, I did ensure there is a hyperlink on each article pointing back to my author page that has with rel=”me” associated with it, and also a normal link from the author page back to each of the last 10 articles.

That’s a tip I picked up from Yoast on configuring WordPress to work with Authorship.

If all goes well, and you’re accepted, your author information should start showing up in Google’s search results shortly thereafter.

You can do this for multiple sites too.

Some of you may not be able to make edits to your author pages, or source code, so the above process may be difficult for you to implement. Luckily, Google recently provided us with another option that looks a bit easier to set up.

Add Your Name and Email Address to Your Content

This is what they recommend for sites with multiple authors. I haven’t actually tested it myself, so I just copied their directions here exactly.

  1. Sign in to your Google profile.
  2. Click Edit profile.
  3. On the right-hand side, click the Contributor to box, and add all the sites you write for.
  4. Next, click the Work box.
  5. Click the New contact info box (the last in the list, and type the email address you use for the sites you write for.
  6. In the list to the left of the email address you just added, click Email.
  7. Click Save, and then click Done editing.
  8. Repeat for every email address you want to add.
  9. On your profile, click Verify next to the email address you just added.

Google will send a verification mail to that email address. Once you receive it, open it and follow the instructions to verify your email address.

The one major issue I have with implementing it this way is that you’re now exposing your email address to spam bots and spammers. Whenever you use standard HTML to include your email address on a webpage the spam bots will quickly pick it up and add your email address to their database for sale or use.

Needless to say, you’ll likely end up getting a ton of SPAM emails after awhile.

Will Authorship Listings Drive More Traffic to My Site

It’s tough to tell for sure. There are so many variables at play. But I definitely didn’t notice a significant increase in traffic to this website, perhaps a little. However, I’m not positive which day it went into affect either.

I’m guessing it was on the 8th of February, because that’s as far back as I can view when checking my author stats under the labs section in Google Webmaster Tools.

author stats

You can see that my author profile displayed over 27,000 times and received 1000 clicks in the very first week. And that’s with less than 100 blog posts. That’s pretty decent exposure if you ask me. It should be noted that those statistics are only a fraction of the total number of impressions the site showed up for overall. When I checked the search queries section it actually showed several times that.

Regardless of the referral visits, the impact of having my face now in front of thousands of more people, for thousands of industry related search queries, is huge for my brand recognition.

27,000 author impressions = my face in front of up to 27,000 searchers.

I almost always notice which authors show up for my searches, and I suspect many other people do too.

That’s why I recommend setting up your author profile before too many other people in your niche do it.

As soon as everyone starts doing it, it will be much harder to stand out from the crowd…

When you’re setting it up please don’t forget to add SEOrankings to your circles.

Then let me know if you have any trouble, and I’ll see if I can help you out.

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