Implementing Author Rank on your online portfolio
Have you noticed how a few results on a Google search page have an author profile picture and byline displayed next to them? That is Google authorship at work. Your author profile on Google search results can get you more traffic and boost your Author Rank, which is a way for Google to rank authors based on quality of content and social interactions.
What is Google Authorship and Why Should You Use it?
A large percentage of searchers click on the first result on the search page, but what if you can’t get to the first? How do you get a user to click on your link if it is buried in a boring page of results? You add something visually interesting. That means a profile picture and your byline. Not only do searchers notice your link, a few even think that the link must have more authority.
Authorship is a way for an author to tie his or her Google+ profile to pieces of web content. By claiming authorship of your best content, you can build a web identity and brand. If a reader finds one of your pieces through organic search and decides that he or she likes it, that reader may also click on your byline link to access more of your content.
There is also speculation that Google will eventually use this to weed out spammers and rank content based on Author Rank in conjunction with Page Rank. If this is true, and all signs point to it being so, then building your online credibility in Google's eyes is of utmost importance.
If you're building an online business or creating content for multiple sites, this is also a good way to to interlink all your work for readers to find.
How Does Google Authorship Work?
Authorship centers around two simple HTML tags – rel=”author” and rel=”me”. They are used to create a circle of links from your pages of content to your Google+ profile and vice versa. The rel=”author” tag can be tacked on to any article or blog post that you create and have full rights to. You’ll also need an “About me” blog page or a “User profile” page on a web 2.0 site that has some information about you. You can then credit each page of content to your author page. Once that is done, you have to use the rel=”me” tag to link your author page to your Google profile. To close the loop, you enter all your author pages in the “About” section of your G+ profile. This lets Google authenticate authorship of all your content.
Of course, this means you have to have either an old Google profile or you’ll have to create a new Google+ profile. There is another bigger problem associated with claiming authorship. Google demands that you use your real name for your public Google profile. They officially say that they will let you use a penname if you really want to, but they will make you jump through hoops to prove that the penname really belongs to you! So yes, getting authorship means that you give up your right to online anonymity.
Steps to Claim Google Authorship
1. If you’re doing this for your blog, add your byline somewhere on your content pages. Using this byline, link back to your “About me” page with the rel=”author” tag.
If you own a Wordpress website and you have a credit line on each of your posts, add the tag there. To do it for individual posts, do it through your dashboard.
If you’re working on Web 2.0 sites like Infobarrel, Squidoo or Hubpages, you can skip this step, as it is automatically done for you.
2. By now, you’re probably saying, “Anyone can wrongly point to my author page this way!” This is where authentication and the rel=”me” tag comes in.
Go and edit the “About” section in your Google profile and click on “Contributor to”. Add the links to all your author profile pages that you want to link. This is how Google automatically adds the rel=”me” tag to the links to your author profiles. You can also add profile links to the “Other profiles” field. It works the same, but you may want to use that for all your other social media profiles and use “Contributor to” for your content profiles.
3. Find the URL to your Google+ profile. If you’re using an old Google profile, it should look like: https://profiles.google.com/PhantomAuthor
For Google+ profiles, it should look like: https://plus.google.com/XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
4. Next, you’ll need to add a link on all your author profile pages pointing back to your profile. This link will be tagged with rel=”me”.
Some web 2.0 sites, like Infobarrel and Squidoo, make it easier for you to link your account to your Google profile. They provide you a slot where you just need to enter your profile link and the rel=”me” tag is automatically added.
On sites like Hubpages, you won’t find either of the above two options. In these cases Google provides an alternate method. These sites do allow you to insert simple links into the text of your author profile, so somewhere on your author profile page, insert a link to your Google profile with the query “?rel=author” at the end, and your Google profile name as the anchor text.
Eg. Phantom Author+
For the above method to work, you must add the + at the end of your Google profile, even if you’re using an old Google profile.
5. Finally, if you have more than one website, blog or web 2.0 profile that you create content on, you may want to link all of them up to one another. This way, you’re letting readers know that you have more content on other websites too. Do this using the rel=”me” tag.
Eg. I’d insert this link in my Infobarrel profile page:
I also write for Hubpages
Note that this last step isn’t necessary to get your Google profile to appear on search pages for each piece of content. It’s just a good way to help your readers find your other content.
Does it Work?
Google will not immediately start displaying your profile picture and name next to all your links on search results. So, how do you know if you set it up correctly? There are two steps to testing it.
- First, click on each of your Google profile links on your author profile pages and make sure they lead you correctly to your Google profile page. Also, click on each link in the “Contributor to” section of your Google profile and check that they lead you to the correct author profile pages.
- Go to the Google Rich Snippet Tester tool and a URL to one of your author pages and click on “Preview”. If you successfully set up authorship, you should see something like this:
Note that verifying that you set it up correctly doesn’t affect your standings in search results, although there is talk that Google may one day start to implement authorship in their algorithm for search rankings.
Repeat this step for each of your Author page URLs.
Now that you’ve set up Google authorship correctly, try searching for your content after about a month. You’ll first notice a random piece of your content appearing with your profile and then a few others will appear a few days later. Although I can’t say for sure, apparently Google won’t automatically stick your profile next to your links in the search results. They’ll first verify that you’re publishing good content before deciding if you deserve it.
So there you have it! Once you’re able to see your author profile on Google search results, see if you find any increase in visitors through organic search. Above all, keep producing great content to take advantage of this feature.
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