Google Authorship: A How-To Guide
By Kerry Guard
It's important to stand-out on a search engine results page. Recent studies show that the top three organic results (that is, the results that show up below any paid search ads at the top of the page) receive the lion's share of clicks from users - 68% in fact (citation). So if your result is below the top three results, you're already fighting an uphill battle to try to get users to click on your result.
How can you get your result noticed? By having it be different than the rest!
One of the easiest lowest hanging fruit action items you can do to get your result to stand out amongst the rest is participate in Google Authorship.
What is Google Authorship?
See where the red arrow is pointing? This is Google Authorship in action. Notice how the blog "Puck Daddy" is the fourth result? According to the study linked to above, it's below the magical top three results. However, that site has Google Authorship enabled, which adds a headshot to the side of the result along with a snippet of G+ information such as how many circles the Author is in as well as a link to view more articles from the author.
I betcha dollars to donuts that particular result is clicked on more than 8% of the time.
This is what the study that was linked to above stated that the third-place result receives on average. Heck, it probably even beats out the reported 12% that the second-place result typically receives on average.
What's that you say? Only popular individuals can have their headshot appear in Google's organic search results?
The truth of the matter is that anyone can implement Google Authorship; it's simply a case of people not going through the steps to get it implemented. Several months ago, the steps presented by Google were a little muddy and lots of folks were having issues getting it implemented and having Google show Google Authorship properly for their site. Recently, Google has refined their steps but it's still a fairly confusing process.
Fortunately, we're put together a super-easy four step process on how you can get Google Authorship implemented for your website. Ready?
1) Go here (when signed into your G+ account): https://plus.google.com/authorship
2) Verify your email address. What Google is looking for is that you have an email address on the domain of which your content is on.
3) This then should automagically add "yourdomain.com" as one of your "contributor to:" list of websites in your G+ profile.
4) All of your "owned content" needs to have a link on the page to your G+ profile. You also need to ensure that the link has "rel=author" in it, as this is essentially telling Google, "Hey! This is my content!"
So the link I would use would be:
<a title="Author: Christian Bullock on Google+" href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/106102646493491560010?rel=author" target="_blank" rel="author">Google+</a>
(Obviously replace the link with your G+ profile URL)
That should be it! When implemented, you can check to see if everything has been implemented properly by using Google's rich snippets testing tool - http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets. Do know that sometimes it takes a day or two for Google to "catch-up" to all of the changes that are made.
5) PSYCHE! Remember? Only 4 steps!
Tell us what you think. Is this process easy to follow? Did you implement Google Authorship for your own website? Did you see a noticeable bump in organic search results because of it? Let us know!
*Edit* And look! Right after this post went live: