Google trends on Google Authorship from 2011 to 2013

The interest in Google Authorship is rising almost as fast as the increase of usage of mobile devices to browse websites and search the internet.  It got off to a slow start, but the adoption rate among search engine optimization and social media marketing professionals is quickly picking up steam.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that when I first heard about Google Authorship it went in one ear and out of the other.  I couldn’t imagine setting up yet another profile on yet another social network just so my picture would show up on a search results page.

Thank goodness my colleague and fellow Search Engine Academy instructor Nancy Wigal kept encouraging and educating me about the importance of  Google Authorship and Google Plus and how they can help you achieve your SEO goals.  If it hadn’t been for her I may have waited to verify my authorship or even worse, I may not have done it at all {GASP!}

In a very short amount of time I’ve gone from being ambivalent about it to borderline fanatical.  I recently came across a good Quick Start Guide on Search Engine Watch, the second sentence of the article by Chuck Price was “If you aren’t on Google+, you’re on the path to irrelevance.”  It might have been that sentence that tipped the scale from mere supporter to full-fledged advocate.

Simply put, Google Authorship is going through a process which includes setting up a profile on Google+ to verify your identity as an author.  Or in other words they know that a real human wrote and published the content.

When I first heard about it, I thought, “Ok, so after I set up a Google + profile and now my picture might show up on a search result page, so what.”  How is that going to help me with SEO?

Don’t get me wrong, I thought it would be kind of cool to have my picture associated with a piece of content but other than that I didn’t really ‘get’ it.  And boy oh boy – did I totally miss the importance of Google+and why it should be part of your web presence and search engine optimization strategy.

The bottom line is that  If you have a Google+ profile you’ll be more visible in search results than if you don’t have one.  This started to happen as far back as 2009 (ancient history in internet time) when Google introduced Social Search, which was designed to help people quickly find publicly available web content from your social contacts. In January of 2012, they introduced Search, plus Your World, which incorporates personal results, profiles, people, and pages in search. In other words if you search on a term that someone in one of your circles has written about, their content will be far more likely to show up in your search results.

As with anything else related to SEO, there are additional variables that will be taken into account before a piece of content is considered relevant enough to display in your results, but who you are connected to and whether or not they’ve verified authorship is certainly one of them.

There are benefits beyond SEO as well, and if you’re an author of content I think you’ll welcome them.

Benefits of Google Authorship:

  1. Higher click through rates – statistically people click through at a higher rate on links with rich snippets
  2. Establish authority – a result with a headshot separates you from the back and reinforces that it’s a credible piece of content
  3. Keep your identity – a picture’s worth a thousand words – if you have a common name like ‘Beth Browning,’ you’ll be able to put the name with a face
  4. Beat plagiarism – he original author gets credit – wave goodbye to copy artists and article spinners
  5. Build Trust – it’s all about relationships and people and this is one more way to build trust in an on-line world
  6. Verify guest posts and comments – your profile follows along as you comment on blogs and publish posts on other blogs
  7. Elevate the value and role of writers – as businesses start to recognize the benefits, good writers won’t have to defend why they charge $100 or more for a blog post

If you’re contributing content and you haven’t verified your Google+ Authorship, don’t wait any longer – get started here now.

Join me here on Google+ for regular tips on SEO and more – I’m still learning, so let’s have some fun while we learn together – be sure to mention you read this post.

What are your thoughts about Google Authorship?