Google’s Content Authorship & Verified Profiles [Guide]

 

Google content authorship

An interesting debate was raging over at Webmaster World about the impact of verified profiles and content authorship on SEO.

Putting SEO aside for a second, I’m a firm believer that verified content improves click through rates in the search engine results pages (SERPs), this ultimately improves your natural listings (i.e. SEO).

Verified Authorship Improves CTR

People are more likely to click on a listing that has an image next to it.  This is especially true for a blog post listing with an image of the author; it adds credibility to the source.

Amazing results have been confirmed by various sites such as this one that witnessed close to 500% improvement in CTR as a result of verified content authorship.

Here’s an example of how Google is displaying one of my blog posts in its search results.

The Quick Guide to Setting up Authorship

So, how do you go about establishing an author profile?  In a nutshell, you need to associate your content with your Google+ profile.

There are two options:

Option 1: Link your content to your Google+ profile using a verified email address.

  1. Check that you have a email address (for example, levy@wired.com) on the same domain as your content (wired.com).
  2. Make sure that each article or post you publish on that domain has a clear byline identifying you as the author (for example, “By Steven Levy” or “Author: Steven Levy”).
  3. Visit the Authorship page and submit your email address to Google. No matter how many articles or posts you publish on this domain, you only need to do this process once. Your email will appear in the Contributor to section of your Google+ profile. If you want to keep your email private, change the visibility of your link.
  4. To see what author data Google can extract from your page, use the structured data testing tool.

Option 2: Set up authorship by linking your content to your Google+ profile

  1. Create a link to your Google+ profile from your webpage, like this:
      <a href="[profile_url]?rel=author">Google</a>

    Replace [profile_url] with the your Google+ profile URL, like this:

      <a href="https://plus.google.com/109412257237874861202?
       rel=author">Google</a>

    Your link must contain the ?rel=author parameter. If it’s missing, Google won’t be able to associate your content with your Google+ profile.

  2. Add a reciprocal link back from your profile to the site(s) you just updated.
    1. Edit the Contributor To section.
    2. In the dialog that appears, click Add custom link, and then enter the website URL.
    3. If you want, click the drop-down list to specify who can see the link.
    4. Click Save.
  3. To see what author data Google can extract from your page, use the structured data testing tool.

Troubleshooting through Webmaster Tools.

Google Webmaster tools now includes tools that can help you troubleshoot the verification process.  Once you log in go to the Labs section >> Other resources >> Structured Data Testing Tool.

For statistics on your authored listings go to Labs >> Author stats.

There you go, a simple way to get your content noticed and drive more traffic to your site.

If you have any question or need help, ask below or contact me.

Hope you found this guide useful.

Further Recommended Reading

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Omar is MD & Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.

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    [...] in November I wrote a guide on Google authorship and urged marketers to focus on ensuring that the proper Google Plus markup is implemented across [...]

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