Google announced an initiative last year to give online authors a greater degree of ownership over content and more search visibility. The initiative was dubbed Google Authorship, and since its inception last year, the only constant this initiative has offered has been constant change, as Google has continued to experiment with methods. The good news is that there is currently a process in place that should stick.
No matter how the authorship attribution changes, whether it shows up in search results, puts your Google+ profile in the sidebar, or other features—getting your content connected to you is, for the most part, a formal process now through Google Authorship, which is just one more way that Google+ can help your business.
Google’s search is evolving into a social vehicle. This was inevitable. Users trust recommendations more than they rely on algorithms. Google Authorship is the product of a personalized search within its social search features. If you are still unsure of just how important Google Authorship can be, see some of the benefits below:
Web content creators can own content by adding a byline and image to articles and blogs. Most content creators want personal brands attached to links. It’s a good business strategy. For many platforms like WordPress, the process is close to being fully automated through the use of plugins or by directly editing the themes.
For everybody else, you’ll need to get used to working with a little bit of code to ensure consistent attribution of your work. Don’t worry. It’s not too scary (we’ll walk you through it below).
Social media influence can be more accurately measured if content and links are properly attributed. Results that are authenticated will offer searchers better results, and advertisers will get more bang from marketing dollars by choosing to work with publishers with more clout.
Claim Content With Google Authorship
Unfortunately, the authentication process has been unavoidably convoluted. There are many steps involved in the attribution process and certain platforms require additional configuration to enable implementation of the services. The confusion has been detrimental to the service. The process continues to evolve despite current troubles. Initially, the service required authors to add a snippet of code to a site’s pages, but now it’s become more automated. Google is working hard to make it easier for authors to link to Google+ pages, but for now you can follow the coding steps necessary.
Connecting Your Site Content
Using Google Authorship is fairly straightforward. Users can own their own content and link sites in just a few easy steps:
• Visit Google+ and select Edit Profile.
• Locate the About tab and save the website URL.
• Click the Link Website button
• Follow the instructions for adding code to the website’s homepage and then click Test Website.
If all goes as planned, users should see a confirmation message. In about a day or two, the link between Google+ and the website should be active. Google Authorship has the ability to ensure that online content is of better quality and produced by reputable individuals. The potential for ethical publishers and marketers to have their content stand out from substandard content is exponential.
Connecting Off-Site Content
But what about authors who write for other sites? You may have to ask the site owner to add the Google Authorship code, but you may also be able to submit your content with the code already embedded. Here’s one way to make it happen:
• Create a Google+ account if you haven’t already.
• Copy the link to your profile—usually it’s http://plus.google.com/u/0/##########, where the hash symbols are your unique ID.
• Use an author byline for all your work—use either a header or footer About the Author section.
• Within the author byline, include a link back to your Google+ profile.
• Within the link structure, include the code rel=”author.” Here’s what the link should look like:
<a href=”http://plus.google.com/u/0/#########” rel=”author”>Your Name Here</a>
If this content gets scraped and your author byline is cut out, Google knows this content is the original. If the content is scraped and you keep your byline, Google and other search engines still know to credit you for the work.
Get Busy Media is a blog and resource center that helps small businesses and entrepreneurs build smarter companies. For more information on how to jump-start your small business marketing, please visit www.getbusymedia.com or connect with us on Twitter, @GetBusyMedia.
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