Why and how journalists should use Google Authorship

byMargaret Looney
Mar 18, 2013 in Social Media

If you want more people to read the stories you publish online, check out Google Authorship.

Google Authorship lets writers online associate their stories with their Google Plus accounts.

Google’s search algorithm, Penguin, is becoming more social media-oriented, placing verified accounts and personable, quality content higher in search results. So if you embrace Authorship and associate your Google Plus account with the content you create, your stories will show up higher in Google search results.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt touted the benefits of Google Authorship in his new book, which was quoted in the Wall Street Journal: “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance."

Including a Google Plus profile picture is beneficial, as the photo will show up near your byline in the search results. Some blogs have seen a 15 to 20 percent traffic boost because of this feature, according to Josh Davis in this MediaShift piece.

Another advantage is that if someone clicks on your content and spends time on your site, Google is more likely to feature other posts you’ve written underneath the original search result they clicked on, offering another chance to boost engagement.

Google Authorship is easy to set up. Davis gives detailed instructions in this infographic. Here are the basic steps:

  • Create your Google Plus account.
  • Make sure your Google Plus name matches your byline.
  • Upload a recognizable photo as your Google Plus profile picture.
  • Ensure your account is visible in search results.
  • Under the “Contribute to” tab, update your Google Plus page to include your website,.

Those basics take care of things on the Google Plus end. To associate your site with your Google Plus account requires a small bit of code, but nothing onerous:

  • If you have an email address associated with your domain, submit it on your Google Plus page here.
  • If you’re the solo author for your site, include this chunk of code that will add a site-wide link back to your Google Plus page.
  • If your site has multiple authors, you’ll have to associate each author with the appropriate Google Plus account and include “?rel=author” at the end of the URL of all posts or pages you’d like to associate.
  • And if your site is on WordPress, you’re in luck. You can usually find a plugin that can establish this relationship for you.

The association can take a few days or weeks to show up, but you can run a quick test here.

_Via Josh Davis on IJNet partner MediaShift._

Image CC-licensed on Flickr by entertailion.