Content marketing has revolutionized the strategies used in B2B (Business to Business) marketing. With many people searching for unique and relevant content all over the web, there is a need to customize and personalize content creation. Google, the leading search engine came up with Google Authorship (GA) as a way of adding a face behind the search results it displays. In GA, verified content creators now have more visibility in the search results because a byline and a headshot are displayed alongside their content links in the search results. This gives you content ownership as the creator.
This article is aimed at showing you how to set up Google Authorship so that your headshot and by-line can start appearing in Google search results.
A. Why is Google Authorship Important?
The importance of Google Authorship cannot be overemphasized. Among the benefits that individuals and businesses can derive from GA include:
1) Increase in Click Rates
Google Authorship makes your content to standout when compared to other links displayed in the search results. By having your headshot displayed, readers will be able to make an emotional connection with your content thereby increasing click rates. Furthermore traffic is much more likely to click on search results with images as compared to those with links only.
2) Visibility and Credibility
Setting up Google Authorship enables you to create a link between your Google+ profile and your content. Whenever a searcher clicks on your image, they are directed to your Google+ profile. In addition, the search results displayed also include your Google+ follower count. This helps in enhancing your visibility and credibility. These are two important attributes in online marketing that you should never ignore.
B. How to Get Google Authorship
This is the most important part of the entire Google Authorship process. Knowing how to setup Google Authorship for business can transform your online productivity immensely. The process outlined below is a step by step approach on how to link your content with your Google+ profile. Whether you are a beginner or a pro in matters of internet, there is something useful that you will pick out of this.
Creating and Verifying Your Google+ Account
This is the first step of the GA process. Because Google Authorship is all about linking your profile and the content that you create, having a Google+ account is an absolute must. The process of setting up the account is simple and self-explanatory. Once you set up the account, a verification link will be sent to your email. You have to click on this link so that Google can know that indeed the email address input belongs to you. Without verification, you will not be able to access your newly created Google+ profile and the products and features that come along with it.
Linking Your Content to Your Google+ Profile
This step is as critical as the first one. For your content to be displayed together with your headshot and by-line, it must be linked to your profile. This can be achieved using the -a href- attribute. From your webpage, create a link to your Google+ profile as follows:
<a href=”[your Google+ profile_url]?rel=author”>Google</a>
On the link above, replace [your Google+ profile_url] with your authentic Google+ url.
The link that you create must incorporate the ?rel=author parameter. Failure to include this will result in a disconnect between your content and your Google+ profile.
Linking Your Content from Your Profile
This is the second phase of linking where the starting point is your Google+ profile instead of your webpage as illustrated above. This reciprocal link added from your profile verifies and validates the first link from your web content to your profile. In order to add this link successfully, you need to first of all sign in to your Google+ account. Once signed in, click on the edit profile and go to the Contributor To section. This is usually located on the right side of the page. Once there, click the Add custom link button. You can also change the visibility of your link before saving it.
Testing the Google Authorship
Once you have completed the three steps above, you can now test the Google Authorship to see whether the linking is working right. To help you do this, Google avails a tool known as Structured Data Testing Tool. This tool allows you to confirm your mark-up content so as to be sure that Google can extract the data from your page. Once the data has been extracted, the structured data testing tool will give you a preview of how the page will appear on the search results. To test your mark-up, you need to go to the structured data testing tool and enter the URL of your webpage in the top box and then click on the preview button. This will work for pages that are already live on the internet. In case your page is not published as yet, you can paste your html code into the second box and thereafter click on the preview button.
Points to Note When Testing the Google Authorship
The interface of the structured data testing tool is available in English only. This however does not mean that it cannot test mark-up content in other languages. The only downside to this is that the preview will not look exactly the way it would appear in actual non-English search pages.
This tool also limits its display to extracted information that is supported for authorship and rich snippets.
C. Insufficient Data to Enable Preview Generation
Rich snippets have an overall goal of displaying only the relevant content on the page to users. You could see a message indicating that there is insufficient data to enable preview generation while setting up Google Authorship. This problem is usually occasioned by one of these two reasons.
• The mark-up content targeted may not be the main subject on the webpage. This usually happens when the mark-up content is located on the bottom section of the page or in boilerplate templates such as headers, footers and navigation. Mark-up content in hidden HTML elements also generates this error.
• The second reason could be that the mark-up content is without important tags. For instance, a Person item ought to incorporate the location, the organization, the role as well as the name.
You should also note that search results may take some time before they start displaying your headshots and by-lines. This can happen even if the structured data testing tool indicates that your mark-up content is present and error free.
Hence, setting up Google Authorship helps to position you as an expert and will therefore help in getting high blog traffic.