If You Don’t Know About Google Authorship Now is the Time to Learn
Google is the world’s largest search engine, but beyond that it’s also offering a variety of important products and services ranging from AdSense to the Chrome browser to Gmail and even YouTube. Anyone in business would be smart to pay attention to what Google does because a multinational corporation that’s valued at over $400 billion and controls such a substantial portion of the web is certainly going to impact your business, for better or for worse. How you approach Google, though, is what will determine the difference in whether you view it as a rival for your business dollars or an excellent way to reach out to your core markets.
Google Authorship is one more service that Google has set up for those who use its its search engine and while it might not sound all that exciting, it’s going to revolutionize the way people online consume content. It might even raise the bar on content production for the web as a whole, but that remains to be seen. What I can promise you, though, is that Google Authorship will give you important advantages if you are in business online. What I want to do today is explain not just what this platform is about, but how it works, how it will impact your activities online and how to make it work for you in positive ways.
Google Authorship Explained: It’s All About Establishing Identity
The genius of Google Authorship is in how its tied into Google’s other big service: the social network Google Plus. This social network was ostensibly established to give Facebook a run for its money and, surprisingly, it’s actually doing well so far. To the best of technology pundit’s knowledge, Google plans to push this networking platform hard and Google Authorship is just one sign of that push, but it’s also a lot more than that. Google Authorship is about establishing an identity for yourself as an ‘author’, ie a publisher of content that is indexed by Google’s search engine.
When you sign up for Google Plus, you are given an account that allows you to input your details, post up a photo of yourself and so forth. This is your Google Author profile, more or less. In addition to the posts you make via Google+ coming up in the search engines with your name and profile photo next to them, you can set up Google Authorship for other domains you own so you are not limited to posting solely on Google platforms. You will still get Authorship credit, if your domain is properly set up, when you post content via your Google Authorship profile on that domain.
WordPress blogs have it the easiest when it comes to Google Authorship setup. Still, domains are not that difficult to configure. I wrote a post for our Top Marketing Strategies blog that you can check out if you would like to be walked through the process of setting up Google Authorship. All in all, it’s quite simple and the benefits you’re about to learn about will prove to you that it is more than worth your time to do this.
AuthorRank Will Impact How Your Content Spreads
Every time you make a post via Google Authorship, Google crawls the content, indexes and that content starts to appear online in the Google search results. That means you’ve got your content, a little photo of you and your name coming up during searches which is powerful in terms of exposing people to your brand. Yet, it is AuthorRank that make it even even more exciting. This is what Google is using to determine how the content you produce via Google Authorship ranks in their search results. It’s like PageRank, but as you might imagine, it’s focused on Authorship trustworthiness and popularity.
Think of it like this: If you and I both produce a similar piece of content, but you are a lot more popular than me then your content will have an advantage because of that and therefore rank higher than mine. This is, of course, being overly simplistic about things, but it is the gist of what AuthorRank is about. People with a high reputation score are going to get advantages because their Google Authorship account is a known producer of quality content that other people have been shown to like.
For years, those doing search engine marketing through Google were focused on obtaining a high PageRank for their pages and this remains important. What’s interesting is that AuthorRank will actually inform PageRank, meaning it will play a role in how PageRank is determined. Content published through Google Authorship profiles that carry a high AuthorRank will be able to pass on some value to pages it links to. The assumption is that Google values the author of the content and since they are pointing to a specific page or piece of content, then that page or piece of content must be important. This is all determined by an algorithm, obviously, but that’s the underlying idea.
Don’t get the idea that AuthorRank will somehow make PageRank invalid because this is not the case. Instead, AuthorRank merely becomes a part of how PageRank is determined. What makes things really interesting, though, is that when multiple authors start referencing a piece of content it is quite likely to increase in both AuthorRank for the content’s author if they’re signed up with Google Authorship and PageRank for that page. If those authors themselves have a high AuthorRank then even more trust is earned.
So how is this going to alter the way your content spreads across the web? It’s pretty simple, actually. If you write something great and it gets linked to by others with Google Authorship profiles, even if they aren’t in your particular niche, then you are definitely going to see some benefits. Google’s going to trust what you wrote and let it rise up in the search engines. If the people referencing or mentioning your content have a high AuthorRank then that’s even more powerful. As you can see, it pays to leverage Google Authorship for your content production.
Your Identity Online is More Important Than Ever Before
Part of the reason Google Authorship was established in the first place is that Google wants to know who is producing content. It’s less likely that people are going to spew out streams of garbage content if they have to have their face next to it – or at least that’s the theory. Instead of a web crammed with anonymous content from who knows where, with Google Authorship we get to see more of who’s behind the content we enjoy. Natural human curiosity dictates that people want to know this whether or not it’s all that relevant to the content at hand. This is part of the reason that blogs have become so popular and social media, too – we want to know people so we can compare and contrast ourselves with them.
Amateur psychology observations aside, Google Authorship is about establishing your identity online. You can now let people know who you are, what you do and why they should listen to you – why they should trust you. Trust is the currency Google has always tried to work with. It did this first by gauging sites based on their link popularity. Now, with Google Authorship, we’ll see how popular individuals get. This is a time when personal brands can start to shine, but it’s not just about personal branding. Companies can give a more human face to their operations by letting certain members of their team use Google Authorship to make posts. In short, Google just got a lot more social so it’s time to craft an identity for yourself.
If you’ve not taken the time to build an online persona, now would be a good time to think about that. How do you want to come across? Do you want to be seen as a serious provider of important information? Are you a fun, happy go lucky source to learn from while having a few laughs? Everyone’s got a personality and you can inject yours into your Google Authorship profile so that you can make sure people know where the great content they’re consuming comes from: you. For ‘old school’ marketers it might be strange fit, but I can tell you from personal experience that it really does not take long to adjust to presenting yourself more transparently online and it’s good for you, too. You can make friends and focus more on distributing content you’re proud of.
Using Google Authorship to Dominate Your Niche
Now is your opportunity to become an authority in the niche you serve. That’s been something we have advocated for quite a while, but Google Authorship gives you a fast track to becoming known for your knowledge and experience within your niche. Those that zero in on the topics that matter most to their audiences are going to find that it pays off. Not only is that great content working in your favor because people see it on your site, you’ll be easier to recognize when they are doing Google searches. That means a bit more name recognition which is always nice.
On the flip side, it also means you need to really focus on your niche and make sure you are producing good quality content. You want to try to cover every relevant topic that you can and have your say on it, so to speak. Once you begin to accumulate a nice collection of content through Google Authorship, you should start to see your reputation rise online for having done so. Those subjects you cover should connect together to prove that you know what you’re talking about. This is just as important if you’re involved in a company that is trying for niche dominance. You need readers to know that you’re an authority on the subjects that matter in your niche. Don’t forget to keep that fresh content coming and always, always make sure it’s engaging and the best quality you can create or pay to have made.
Google has also revealed that those using Google Authorship will have a different AuthorRank depending on the topic. In other words, if your focus is bicycle repair and you write about that regularly, producing quality content people respond to, then you will most likely have a high AuthorRank for that topic. If you branch out and begin writing articles about cycling for exercise benefits, then on that more health related topic, your AuthorRank will likely be lower. Over time, you can build it up, but keep in mind that it takes time and consistent effort to establish a strong reputation in terms of Google Authorship for any given topic. That’s why it’s best to remain focused on what matters most and branch out only when it strengthens your existing reputation and further serves your existing audience.
Will People Be Tempted to Abuse Authorship
People understandably worry that Google Authorship can be abused. Like anything else, I’m sure there will be times when less than ethical people try to ‘game the system’ to get a higher AuthorRank or otherwise manipulate search results, but this is a bad idea. For one thing, when you use Google Authorship you are essentially putting your ‘digital signature’ on the content so playing games is likely to look bad both to Google and the general public. This will discourage those who value their reputation right off the bat.
Google has stated that while AuthorRank is difficult to increase and will take a significant amount of time, decreasing that ranking is far easier. In other words, if you try getting involved in clever yet dubious linking schemes, be prepared for the wrath of Google over that decision. Endorsing content that is clearly low quality might sound like a way to make a quick buck, but over time it’s going to drop your AuthorRank, not to mention trust from your audience. Google’s goal with this approach is to encourage people to value their reputation and reward them for contributing positive, useful or entertaining content to the web. Abusing the system will definitely draw fire and could tank all of your Google Authorship distributed content pretty quickly.
In our company, we see a lot of people who want quick results from their marketing. They don’t always heed the advice to make sure they are producing quality content before going after endless links and other promotions. With Google Authorship, it is going to become increasingly clear that quality content is what matters and that promoting sub par content won’t get anyone very far. It’s a hard lesson, but if the web is going to advance and evolve to better serve those using it, then this is most likely going to mean a sharper focus on rewarding producers of good content. Use this to your advantage, stay ethical and succeed through sound authorship rather than the ‘get rich quick’ schemes.
What Can You Do to Boost Your AuthorRank?
When it comes to calculating AuthorRank, Google has said that what it is looking at primarily is how content is received. In other words, how the content you publish through your Google Authorship profile is responded to by your audience. Google is going to be looking at things such as how frequently your content is shared and how quickly that happens after you publish it. They’re going to take into account who is sharing that content (whether or not they’re signed up for Google Authorship) and if a variety of people are sharing your content or the same core group over and over. If your content gets comments or +1 (the Google+ version of a Like on Facebook) that will matter, as well as the relative size and quality of comments left along with the standing of those leaving comments. They want to factor whether the content gets negative or positive feedback as well as whether or not other people are endorsing it and, if so, they have a reputation in the topic your content is focused on.
It’s a dizzying amount of factors to consider, but remember Google is working with algorithms so all of this gets calculated automatically and at a rapid rate. In addition to all of those factors above being important for your own content, Google is going to pay close attention to comments you live, what you hit +1 on, whether or not you endorse the content of others and many other smaller factors. Basically, you want to be a positive contributor to your niche and the rest of the web and build what you want to see Google noticing because they’re going to be ‘watching’ either way.
You can boost your rank by encouraging engagement as much as possible. Ask people to speak their minds about your content, encourage them to share it if they enjoy it and generally promote good feelings with what you produce. Try to also interact within your niche with others and use the fact that what you do plays into your overall AuthorRank to spur you to build relationships. If you’re working hard to produce the best possible content, being sure you engage your own audience and reach out to others, you are going to see that AuthorRank rise in time. It’s a process, but it’s one that’s smart to start getting involved with now rather than waiting until Google Authorship has achieved a monumental level of importance – and chances are very good that it will be doing that very, very soon.
You’re Only as Good as the Content You Produce
Google Authorship signals a re-vitalization of that old concept ‘Content is King’ and it also means you need to make it royally good. Your reputation is on the line and trust from not just Google, but your audience, is what matters now. Not only does quality content need to be well written, it is going to have to be longer that what marketers got away with in the past. Starting sizes that are smart for a blog post these days, for example, would be around 600 words. We use posts that are 1000 words and even longer – all original, all high quality content and just mix sizes up really. Those help you with longtail keyword rankings, but they also help make sure you are fully delivering value to your audience each and every time. Remember, the good content gets spread and the old content quickly ends up dead. You want to attract people to your web presence and you want them to come back for more so ‘feed’ them only the finest you can put together.
It needs to be said that not all of us are brilliant writers and that’s okay. You don’t have to be a master wordsmith to produce good content you can share through Google Authorship – you can also have it custom made for you. There are professional writers out there that can be hired individually on a freelance basis or through a trusted firm. A lot of busy professionals and business owners end up having to do this because, unfortunately, quality content takes not only a serious level of skill to create, it also requires a significant amount of time that not everyone has. Don’t be embarrassed to use the services of ghostwriting team. What matters is that your audience is getting the best possible content. You can let those writers know what you need, even outline what you want written, and get back to the core activities that keep your business running and bringing in a profit.
Why Google Authorship is Crucial for Brands
Perhaps who run a business that is built on a brand and not around your name and face. Or maybe you’re marketing for a larger company that is definitely brand focused in the more traditional style of business. Both of these types of businesses can still use Google Authorship to their advantage. For one thing, the reason consumers come online is to consume content and that’s true no matter what market you happen to be in. Their decision making is influenced by the content they consume so if you want your brand to be tapping into the market for what you sell online, then you need to be producing content that market is looking for. This is where Google Authorship comes into play. You can set up an account for a particular employee or someone you’ve hired to represent your company. They can post content, in association with your brand, and bring in traffic to your primary website. This is good PR and it’s a smart way to tap into content marketing.
Another powerful benefit of Google Authorship for companies is tied to transparency. Today’s consumers, particularly those who are web savvy, want to feel as if they are dealing with real people rather than faceless brands. With Google Authorship you have an opportunity to let members of your organization produce content and perhaps even talk about things that make your company unique. Of course, every company will approach this differently, but it’s an opportunity to make consumers feel more connected with the people behind your brand and it’s done wonders for companies that have tried it so far.
The important thing is that no matter how you plan to employ Google Authorship, you will want to develop a strategy and a plan. Google Authorship can do a lot for your brand, but you must make a sensible plan for approaching it and then stay the course, making adjustments as needed, until it really pays off. Sometimes, bringing in consultants to help with content marketing can be a smart idea so you may want to consider that.
Google Authorship Empowers Personal Branding
If you’re establishing or have already established a personal brand then you are going to find Google Authorship absolutely invaluable. This is going to give you a rock solid way to make sure you get credit for the content you produce and distribute – at least over Google. You can put your best foot forward online and tie a face to your content so people feel as if they’re developing a relationship with you. For personal branding, this is sheer magic and the fact that you can quickly and easily respond to feedback you get is going to help you further along on your mission to be recognized as an authority in your niche.
Making personal connections within your niche and in related niches is easier using Google Authorship, too, because you can use your Google Plus profile to create a Circle of key people to interact with. Working with others and networking is crucial for personal brands and this is so easy to do now. You are going to see that as you establish yourself in Google Authorship, your rankings will rise and your audience will be able to grow because people can find you more easily. It’s very much a winning prospect for those that want to be able to get their name out there and get known. It costs very little for you to give away great content, but the trust you gain in exchange is worth quite a lot.
Getting More Social is Now Absolutely Essential
Social media matters for Google Authorship because the more buzz you have, the higher your AuthorRank goes and the better chance your content is going to be discovered during a Google search. You should definitely be using Google Plus a little each day, but don’t forget the other powerful networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, also. You want a wide presence these days and if you make sure you always promote your Google Authorship content via these other social media networks you’re involved with, you are only raising the possibility that your audience can expand and your reputation can grow – plus, it makes it even easier for your best content to go viral.
Remember, too, that when you make friends with popular people on social networks, you gain a crucial advantage. Popular people are better able to spread content. They have a far bigger reach because they have a far larger audience. If they point to, mention or other recognize your content as quality then they can drive a lot of traffic your way in a very short amount of time. So put time into being social and building friendships with those who matter. It helps your marketing efforts plus it feels good, too.
Getting the Most From Google Authorship Starting Right Now
What you can do right now is set up your Google Plus account and then connect your Google Authorship profile to any existing content you’ve already made. You want to get set up as quick as you can because while Google Authorship may not be big news right now, it’s absolutely going to be and it’s only a matter of time until it’s seen as an essential part of effective content marketing. Getting started now also means tweaking your profile to look great and speak volumes about you and the kind of content you produce. You want to start being active on a daily basis, producing 2 or 3 good quality pieces of content per week, ideally. Make a daily checklist for yourself so you are sure you respond to comments and also take time to explore other people’s content. Create a schedule for publishing content and stick to it. Consistent effort wins out every time so hold as closely as you can to whatever schedule you devise.
If you Google Authorship and building your AuthorRank as a day to day activity, you are going to see results and you’ll see them relatively quickly, too. Content marketing is key to success on the web today and Google Authorship is one way to make your efforts in this form of marketing that much more effective. Don’t wait until your business’s survival depends on it, get started right now. If you follow the advice here, you will be that much closer to harnessing the full power of quality content and definitely well on your way to becoming a trusted authority in your niche that earns serious profits because people trust you. That’s the best position you could ask to be in.