Have you noticed when searching for something on Google that sometimes a headshot appears next to certain search results, but not others? Ever wonder why or how that happens? Well, Google Authorship is the program behind that magic that enables author photos to appear next to content they’ve created. Let’s take a look at a specific example.
Here’s a screenshot with search results for the phrase “Learn Social Media Blog Series”:
I’m set up in the Google Authorship program, so my picture and a snippet about a blog post I’ve written appears in the search results. Not only does the picture help to visually verify that an actual person (me!) wrote the article or blog post, more importantly, it adds value to search results.
Building your reputation using Google Authorship
We’ve all read studies showing that pictures and videos are more engaging to viewers than plain copy, so there is a real advantage that Google Authorship brings to search results. So it’s logical to think that people are more likely to click on a search result with the author’s photo next to it than one that doesn’t. It feels more real and more authentic.
But most importantly there’s this: Google Authorship helps validate you as a thought leader on a particular topic or in your industry. People do business with people, not companies, so you want to be seen as THE expert in your area of expertise. By sharing your thoughts and knowledge regularly on a blog and setting up Google Authorship, you are increasing the chances that when people search for a certain topic or phrase, they see your face and your content. Over time that means they’ll trust you as an expert and will click on your content over someone else’s in the search results. Hopefully when they need your services, they will remember reading your content and seeing your face, and they’ll contact you for help.
Google Authorship offers real value to job seekers as well. Blogging is a great way to demonstrate your depth of knowledge on a particular topic. Plus, when recruiters are searching for keywords and phrases associated with the skill sets necessary for a particular job, ideally your content (and your picture!) will appear at the top of their search results.
Getting started with Google Authorship
So how do you get set up in the Google Authorship program? It’s pretty easy (and here’s a really helpful post with very detailed, simple-to-follow directions):
- Establish a personal Google+ profile and link from that profile to your blog
- Make sure you have a good headshot (remember, this is the photo that will be shown in Google search results!)
- Verify your email address on Google+
- Ensure your blog is set up to show a byline for each post (This is important: your name in the byline must match the name on your Google+ profile.)
It’s really that simple. Of course, be sure you are blogging on a regular basis and sharing that content via your personal social channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, plus whenever possible via your company’s corporate social accounts.
If you’re not currently taking advantage of the branding and SEO benefits of Google Authorship, you’re missing out. But it’s not too late, so jump on board and set it up today.
About the Author: Michelle Krier
Michelle Krier is VP, Marketing & Digital Services at ClearEdge Marketing. Michelle Krier’s expertise is designing and executing marketing efforts in the social media environment, which is why she’s known at ClearEdge as “social.” She drives the strategy to develop brand awareness, generate the appropriate marketing activity, and activate a community of raving fans. Michelle has more than 15 years of experience in brand stewardship, communications, marketing strategy and public relations. Read more about Michelle here. Connect with Michelle on LinkedIn and on Google+.