Google is at it again. It has updated its algorithm countless times and now uses “Hummingbird” to dissect and rank web pages. Google PageRank is barely a concern these days — how you perform in search engine optimization (SEO) is critical to your success. And Google Authorship Markup is a significant component that article writers the world over should be using.
Google Authorship Markup
Simply defined, Google Authorship Markup is you taking claim for the articles you write. Likely, you’ve been doing that all along, but with Google Plus integration, its importance is more significant than it ever was.
You may have heard the term “verified trust” used by Google in various applications before. That trust extends to what you write and is something Google wants to confirm as you write your content. Essentially, you’ll provide Google with two things:
1. Your digital identity as verified and owned by Google, what links to your published content. You’ll create a Google+ profile to help Google connect what you write with your name.
2. Content you publish must cite you as the author and link to your verified digital identity.
Setting Up Google Authorship
To add Google Authorship to your web pages you must first create a Google+ account. With that account you’ll create an email address, verifying same by checking the “contact information” on your profile page. Use a hyperlink to verify your account.
On your Google+ profile is a links section that allows you to add the sites where you contribute. Always add your main site and if you are a regular contributor elsewhere, then add those links too.
On your own website, you will add the — rel=”author” tag to your Google+ profile. You can do this in one of two ways: with every article you write or with your byline. My advice here is to do it within your byline, very easy to do if you use WordPress. That way, your byline is included with every post and automatically links to Google+.
Once your authorship has been claimed, test it to ensure that it works. Click on the link to verify that it works and is sending your information to the right page.
Google Authorship Markup is not perfect. There are several special considerations that must be weighed as you go about with authorship. For one, authorship does not apply to product description pages. Nor to property listings. Also, if more than one author contributed to the article, Google Authorship Markup cannot handle multiple contributors.
You should also know that Google does not want masked personas claiming authorship. This tends to happen in companies where a “collective individual” is put forth as the company representative with several people penning the articles. Ghostwriting definitely does not fit in here. Importantly, if you publish in more than one language, use just one profile.
Certainly, Google Authorship Markup is only one part of a multi-prong SEO strategy, but it is a newer approach and one easy to overlook. Google will most likely tweak its authorship algorithm and make some other changes, but it is here to stay. Make sure that you’re not missed by creating or updating your Google+ profile today and linking it to your website.
Jason Bayless is a professional blogger that gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice. He writes for BestSEOCompanies.com, a nationally recognized comparison website of the best SEO companies in the United States.