Last week we had an awesome chat with an SEO expert, David Harris from ‘1300 SEO Now’, who came into our office and pointed out an exciting new feature that Google has implemented to assign authorship to your websites content.
One of the major problems with the internet is that everyone has free reign to copy and re-distrubute each others content. This is not only a nightmare for the original writer but also for Google who has to try and work out who actually wrote and published the copy first.
In the past there was nothing stopping other website owners taking or bots scraping your content, back dating the articles and claiming it as their own, leaving you to get penalised by Google and other search engines for duplicate content.
Google finally decided they had enough of this and came up with a plan to allow users to verify or create ‘Authorship’ of content with them using their up-and-coming social media platform called Google Plus (aka Google+).
Basically, by signing up to Google Plus you create an identity for yourself as a writer, and it allows you to assign websites that you contribute content to (verified by your email address on that domain). You can then link any content you write to that profile using meta tags that are placed in your websites code.
The benefits of this for Google is that it can verify that the articles has been added by a real human who is willing to put their face to the article and not copied by anonymous spammers scraping for content.
Social media also comes into play as Google wants to get proof that this is reputable article by a trustworthy author. If a lot of people are linking back to and sharing the content, Google can track the information is helpful to people.
What Google is trying to achieve here is something called AuthorRank, which is essentially building a reputation as a writer on the internet. Although in its early stages, AuthorRank will ultimately help rank content based on how popular it is and how reputable the author of the content is.
Google is already starting to show author profiles and information next to the Google listing for articles they have written, helping with click through rates and driving more traffic to the content. Not only will users more likely click on content from a trusted source but having your face next to the article visually attracts their attention.
If you have a website, you should try and add new content to your site fairly regularly if you can; not just for search engines, but to keep users engaged in your website. I will write another article on keeping your site fresh and the importants of having a blog, as this would be the first step. You obviously need content on your website before you can push for authorship.
Here are some quick steps to create authorship of your content on your website.
Create an Google Plus profile. You can do this by signing up or logging in using your existing Google account. Once you have created your profile, Google suggests that you set your profile photo to a good, recognisable headshot of yourself.
You can then link your profile to websites that you contribute to, using the following tool.
This step you may need help from your web developer. This is were we can help. If you have a website from us this step may already be done for you, so please contact us to find out.
The content you write will need to be linked back to your Google profile. You can do this by linked a line such as ‘Article written by Your Name’ to your profile (make sure the name match the one on your profile). The large group of numbers is your unique Google Plus account number which you can find from the url of your profile.
You can also get your web developer to place a meta tag in your websites code
Google also gives you a tool called ‘Structure Data Testing’ which allows you to test whether a page/article on your website has the correct information for Google to apply authorship to it, however you will need a Google Webmaster Tools account to do this. I will write an article about this further down the track.
Please note that Google does not guarantee that your information will appear next to your listing on Google and if they do it may not happen straight away.
Google is always looking for new ways to reward reputable content, while weeding out spammers and untrustworthy people trying to manipulate search engine rankings.
If you need more help on the steps above, please visit this Google help article on Authorship information.
Protecting your content and building your reputation as a writer can help your website push up the all important search engine rankings.