The times, they are a-changin’. But you knew that, right? The days of Google’s algorithm rewarding wimpy content just because of the links it contained are long gone. People who actually write decent content – quality stuff that people might actually want to read – are finally getting their due.
And recently, they’ve been getting even more attention, thanks to Google’s authorship markup. You’ve seen it, even if you haven’t realized it – it’s that little headshot of the author that pops up next to something they’ve written in search results.
But it’s much, much more than just a picture. Google’s authorship markup is changing the way you need to be optimizing the content you write for your business.
Yes, the normal rules for SEO optimization still apply: keywords, interlinking, link building, etc. You should keep following your current online marketing strategy. But now more than ever, the quality of your content matters, along with your social reach on Google Plus. Why? Because your reputation now follows you all over Google, and your search engine rankings are based, at least partially, on the strength of that reputation.
Write a lot of great stuff that gets read, and Google will recognize that, and boost you in its rankings – even if you write each article on a different website! It’s the writer and the content that count, not the site. And the more people you have in your circles on Google+, and the more you interact with them there, the better your “reputation” with Google will be, too.
Basically, Google is promoting quality content by rewarding writers who aren’t afraid to put their name to what they’ve written. If you’re willing to be linked with everything you’ve ever put out there, there’s a much better chance that you’re creating quality content, than if you’re hiding behind a screen of anonymity.
So why should you take the time to claim your Google authorship markup? Here are ten reasons why doing so is an important business move to take in your online marketing strategy.
1. Your click-through rates will increase. Not only have studies shown that the Google authorship markup increases click-through rates by as much as 150% in some cases, but the fact that the authorship search engine listing includes links to your Google+ page and other pieces you’ve written encourages people to browse through those other pages as well…which can also lead to click-throughs.
2. Your visibility will be higher in search listings. It’s just a fact – pictures draw the eye first. Even if you’re not the top listing, if you’re the only one with a picture, people will look at your listing first. Strangely enough, studies have shown that if, in your picture, you are looking towards the right – i.e., towards the link to your content – people will be even more likely to look at it.
3. Your page views will be higher. An interesting thing happens when someone clicks on your link in their search listings, reads your content for a couple of minutes, and then clicks the Back button. They are not taken back to the identical page they left. Instead, your listing will now have additional links underneath it, to more content you have written. This change just might lead to that person visiting a few more of your pages.
4. Google authorship helps beat plagiarism. Listings with the authorship markup show up higher in search results than those without. So if someone has been copying your work, and their link shows up on the same page as yours, it’ll be obvious who’s copying whom. Your authorship has been verified. Theirs? Not so much.
5. Google authorship recognizes that content writers rock! Even today, countless content writers toil away for peanuts in content mills. Their contributions remain unacknowledged – and often, they wouldn’t want to be acknowledged for their work, since cranking out an article every few minutes isn’t exactly conducive to good writing. With the rise of Google authorship, businesses are beginning to realize how much more important quality is than quantity – which can only serve, eventually, to better the plight of those content mill writers, and increase the status of all content writers.
6. Google authorship verifies your guest posts and comments. Everything you do using your Google+ profile will now be connected and verified through the Google authorship markup – even posts on different websites and comments you make around the web.
7. You can rank for different topics. Instead of trying to focus your content on only one area, so that you don’t dilute your rankings in that domain, you can feel free to write about several different topics – you’ll be able to rank for them each separately. What could this feature alone do for your online marketing strategy?
8. Google authorship builds trust. The mere fact that there is a picture of you with a link to your Google+ profile connected to the listing automatically increases people’s level of trust when they read your content. They can see that you’re a real person with real experience in your field.
9. Google authorship establishes you as an authority. There’s just something about authorship in general that gives people an aura of authority, you know? And the fact that people will also be able to check out your Google+ profile and see how many followers you have makes it all the more likely that they’ll be impressed by the social proof they see there.
10. Google authorship will prevent confusion about your name. Think about it. If your name is John Smith, people who read your articles will never know if they were written by you, or one of the many other John Smith’s out there. But add a photo, and they’ll instantly be able to recognize that – oh, this is that John Smith!
Convinced yet? You should be! Google authorship will add a new layer of effectiveness to your current SEO practices. To claim your Google authorship markup, click here. And then let us know how it helps you in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.