How Google Authorship could help make your web content more attractive

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Google’s Eric Schmidt has hinted that the search behemoth could give higher rankings to content when it’s linked to verified Google+ profiles –via Google Authorship. Here, ClickThrough online copywriter Jack Adams looks at how Authorship could make your web content more attractive to searchers.

Have you recently created an informative blog post? One that’s loved in equal measure by the Panda, the Penguin and any other yet to be announced algorithmic additions at the Google zoo?

Well good for you; your site’s 2013 is already off to a great start.

Regardless of how much search traffic your web content efforts have attracted in the past, you should always be thinking about the ways in which you can increase these figures with your next post.

Be pleased by all means.

But don’t dwell around in a self-congratulatory state, because Google has wrenched back its arm, and is all set to pitch a massive curve ball.

Current executive chairman of the search engine giant, Eric Schmidt, has revealed to the world that content linked to verified Google+ profiles will receive preferential treatment – with higher rankings – in the future.

In the quote, taken from an excerpt of his upcoming book, The New Digital Age, Schmidt also went on to hint that content not linked to these verified profiles could become ‘irrelevant’.

Though the revelation might have drawn groans and gasps of exasperation from some content writers, SEOs and other Internet marketing professionals – ‘another hoop to jump through to strike rankings gold’ – any such potential move isn’t likely to have too much of an effect, as long as you’ve got Google Authorship fully implemented.

Although there are variables as to why your original post proved to be so popular – i.e. you may just have struck it lucky with a captivating subject that resonated with the masses – with Authorship in place you could potentially maximise the amount of coverage you get.

Introduced last year, the criminally under-looked feature allows content writers to link the sites they regularly produce work for with their account on Google’s social media offering, Google+.

You’ll probably have seen Authorship in action at some point – unless of course you’ve been trawling Lycos and Altavista for search results.

It’s basically the search engine-based equivalent of the by-line you’d typically see at the start of a story in a newspaper.

The typical Authorship profile will feature the page title and URL, the by-line, some Google+ stats – relating to how many Circles the author’s been added to – the date of the content, a short profile – consisting of no more than a couple of lines – and a thumbnail-sized image.

Whilst more people are beginning to latch onto Authorship, , and lots more probably will in light of these comments,  as we saw in a previous blog post, many web writers are failing to take advantage in the here and now.

If you remain sceptical, or nervous following Schmidt’s stark vision of future-Google, about whether setting up Google Authorship is worth all the effort, have a look at a couple of the benefits we’ve detailed below:

Name to associate with content: When you make a search you’ll often be presented with just a headline and a short excerpt of the article in question in the Google News listings, featured in a standard Google search; maybe an image pulled from the story if you’re lucky.

It’s all rather uniform.

With Google Authorship you can help to ensure that searchers have a name and, sometimes a face (maybe your own), to associate with a piece of content from your website.

Although this might not seem all that important in essence, a result with Authorship links is more likely to stand out amongst the display of black, blue and green text - and this might encourage more people to click a link to the content on your site.

People also like a human element; they like to know that what they’re taking five minutes out of their day to sit and read has been produced by a real human-being with a bit of credibility, as opposed to a spammy content farm.

Over time, if they continue to read your content, the names and faces of your authors will stick.

Searchers will automatically be able to see the face of an author from your website and determine instantly that it’s likely to be very credible and certainly worth looking at – potentially resulting in a traffic boost.

Show off the credibility of your writers: If your writers are vastly experienced and boast an expertise in the subject your site specialises in (which I’m guessing they would), why wouldn’t you show that off?

It’s really important to emphasise the quality of your writers; especially if you’re operating in a rather niche area, where people who genuinely know their stuff are often hard to come by.

By having Authorship implemented, and linking to the Google+ profiles of your authors, you can really provide your content – be it daily news content or weekly blog posts – with a credibility push.

You don’t necessarily have to link to a personal Google+ account either; you could always get them set up with an account for professional purposes, featuring a succinct bio explaining to those browsing Google’s SERPs (search engine results page) who the writer is and, more importantly, why they should actually care – their past experience, their qualifications, their awards all help set the scene.

If Google users can determine before they’ve even clicked that the content has been produced by a knowledgeable bod through the presence of Authorship on SERPs, they’re more likely to click-through onto your site.

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