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Google Authorship and Author Rank – The Present and the Future

Imagine that sometime in the future, Google found a way to algorithmically determine the quality of online content and its authors, pushing those with the highest bar to the top of the results pages. No more sorting through page after page to get to the best writers and the most trustworthy content. As a blogger, you could feel confident that over time, as you built up a reputation slaving away to create your content, it would help you rise in the ranks, no matter where you wrote.

Well, that future isn’t so far away – many speculate that Author Rank is already very slightly in action, or at least the precursor to it is. Google is using Authorship to connect content online to its creator’s Google+ profile. Suddenly, that algorithmic determination of quality doesn’t seem so far off after all!

What’s the Big Deal?

Reading this, you may be thinking to yourself, so what? Why should I bother telling Google what content I created? What if I want to stay anonymous?

If you don’t want to partake in Google Authorship, it’s okay. You might not want your writing tied to your identity, or perhaps you just don’t want to bother setting up and maintaining a connection to inform Google what you post.

However, but if you are ambitious about ranking highly in the results, or just want the recognition you deserve as a writer even across a number of blogs or other websites, Google Authorship is worth it. Google has patented the idea behind Author Rank, so it’s only a matter of time before they start using it. It is inevitable that if they are bothering to create this web of authors and content, they will be using it for something! When they do, it won’t matter if you write the best rehab articles or the funniest comedy posts on the internet – others who are focusing on Author Rank will get ahead of you. Getting into the game now ensures that you won’t start out behind later.

And if that’s not enough of an argument for you, there’s already a plus side to participating. When Google Authorship is properly set up on your blog or your articles, your Google+ profile image will appear beside the result, which can increase its click-through-rate dramatically. No longer is it just a random result created by a random person somewhere online… that article was authored by you, and you’re confident enough about it to put your face right next to it. In addition, if they liked that article, they can click a link beside your name to see more of your writing – you just got a new fan!

Getting Started with Google Authorship

Google Authorship is easy to put into place on your own blog or wherever you write. Start by joining Google+, uploading a photo (this is important!) and filling out your profile information.

Next, link your Google+ account to your content. Although there are many ways to do this, here are the two easiest ways:

  1. If you do not have an email address on the same domain as your content, include a link to your Google+ page from your article. You can add it to your WordPress profile, your byline, or within the article, just be sure it appears on every page where your content appears. You will need to add “rel=author” to the end of the profile link so that Google recognizes it as an Authorship link. For example, this is the URL I link to from my byline to claim authorship: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109654446375621919755?rel=author
    You’re not done yet! On the “Links” portion of your Google+ profile, add the domain to your “Contributor To” list. This completes the circuit, so Google can tell from both sides that you are the author of that piece of content.
  2. If you have an email address on the same domain as your content, verify it with Google while logged into your Google+ account. This only works if each article you write clearly identifies you as the author of that piece, using the same name as you use on Google+. Google will automatically add that domain to your “Contributor To” section, completing the circuit. Because Google will automatically make your email address visible to your circles, I like to go into my profile and make it private.

Once you’ve set up Google Authorship using one of the methods above, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to be sure that everything is properly configured and ready to go.

Adrienne Erin is a writer and social media marketer. In addition to writing for her own blog, she has had her work featured on Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, and she writes regularly for SiteProNews and Search Engine People. In her free time, she loves to speak French, take spontaneous road trips, and cook elaborate meals in her tiny kitchen.


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