Experience The Benefits of Google Authorship Markup

Recently, the concept of authorship markup has been a hot topic in the digital marketing space. Despite its popularity of late, Google authorship has actually been around since mid 2011 but it’s only recently that bloggers and digital marketing managers alike are seeing the potential benefits.

What Exactly Is It?

Authorship markup is Google’s method of attributing content to original authors. Posts with author markup code successfully implemented appear with a verified author’s photo next to the article in the search engine results pages (see below).

Author markup code in action
Author markup example

Also provided in the markup is a link to the authors Google+ profile, the number of Google circles the author is in and also a link to additional content from the author.

Why Should You Bother?

  • Higher Visibility – The addition of the author photo and name increases visibility of content in the search engine results page from a visual perspective. This can lead to a higher click through rate and subsequent increase in organic traffic.
  • Absolute Ownership – By adding authorship markup to your posts you are verifying yourself to Google as the article owner of that piece of content and preventing anyone gaining credit for your work. So, if a competitor or rogue website does copy your work, they are unlikely to receive SEO benefit from the article and may be subject to duplicate content penalties from Google.
  • Personified Social Exposure – The synergy which authorship mark up has with Google+ promotes the chances of gaining +1’s (Google’s version of a ‘like’) and can increase social engagement levels for each piece of content. Additionally, the display of a direct link to the author’s Google+ page personifies each post by adding a ‘human’ element which can help convey trust to a visitor. This can in turn push more traffic to your companies Google+ page, leading to increased branding exposure, social audience and overall reach.
  • Build a Digital Identity – By taking ownership of regular high quality content, you can develop the author/content relationship of contributors and take advantage of its authority. It is believed that Google will eventually use this information to establish an ‘Author rank’ metric for the content you have produced which could in turn affect how your articles rank in search engine results based on the type of content published. E.g., A financial institution can establish itself as a publisher of high quality financial content and enforce credibility in that vertical.

How Do I Set It Up?

The 2 most popular ways to implement authorship markup are the 3-link method and the 2-link method.

The 3-Link method should be used if your website has individual biography pages for all authors. The content pages link back to these author bio pages which links to the authors Google+ account to complete the verification process.  Consider creating author biography pages if you haven’t already as these will create a linking space to each author’s article catalogue which can improve pageviews, user experience and overall engagement.

The key assumptions for this method are;

  • The website contains an author biography page, located on the same domain as the pages which are linking to it.
  • The content pages are linked directly to the author biography page using the authors name as anchor text.

1. Create Google+ profiles for each contributor – make sure the main photo is a clear facial head shot. View this guide to setting up G+ profiles for instructions.

2. Each author bio page must link directly to their Google+ account, so add a link using the anchor text “Google+” (remove the quotation marks), and also add the rel=me anchor tag attribute.  Include the authors own Google+ URL, so that the code snippet looks something like this;

<a href="https://plus.google.com/1234567891011121314" rel="me">Google+</a>

3. Edit each content page so that the current link back to the author bio page includes the rel=author anchor tag attribute. Add in the URL to the author biography page so the link snippet looks like this;

<a href="{Authors_Bio_Page_URL}" rel="author">Name of Author</a>

4. Go to the author’s Google+ profile, click on “Edit Profile“, then “Other Profiles

Screen grab showing other profiles settings

5. Select “Add custom link“, fill in an appropriate label and the URL of the author biography page.

6. Now click “Save” then “Done Editing” and you should be good to go.

If your website doesn’t have individual author bio pages then the most effective method to implement authorship markup in terms of cost and speed is to use the 2-link method. This entails using boilerplate author bio snippets at the end of each post to validate authorship.

1. Create Google+ profile for each contributor – make sure the main photo is a clear facial head shot. View this guide to setting up G+ profiles for instructions.

2. In each author’s biography snippet add a link to the authors Google + page using the anchor text “Google+” (without the quotation marks).

E.g.,  if your Google+ URL is https://plus.google.com/12345678910111213/, add the code:

<a href="https://plus.google.com/12345678910111213?rel=author">Google+</a>

3. In your Google+ profile, click on “Edit Profile“, then “Contributor To“.

4. Now click “Add a custom link” then add the website name where your content is published and the full URL of the sites home page.

5. Click “Save“, then “Done Editing“.

Screen grab showing contributor to settings

How Do I Know It’s Actually Working?

The final step is to check if your authorship markup code is working properly, a task which is made simple thanks to Google’s structured data testing tool.

  1. Visit Google’s rich snippet testing tool
  2. Enter the URL of a page containing the content you wish to check and click “Preview
  3. Analyse the results for errors

Congratulations! You have now “Google” staked your claim.  Rest assured that from now on you will have complete ownership of your entire digital content portfolio (with significantly increased exposure)!

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

  • badges-women-top10-logo
  • AwardsBadge#2
  • GACP resize
  • Yahoo Certified
  • Adwords Qualified Company
We've joined Performics logo

We've joined the global performance marketing network Performics. Visit our new website today

You have Successfully Subscribed!