By Amanda Dixon
Branding is now vital to standing out among your competitors and thanks to Google Authorship, building your own brand has become much easier. Through Google Authorship, any content you create can be linked to your Google+ profile page. Once set up, the program allows your name and your photo of choice to appear beside your article in search results, providing individual authors and bloggers with the chance to shine and giving readers peace of mind in knowing who produced the information that they found on a website. “It will give you the visibility but it also gives you credibility,” says Shannon Hernandez, an online marketing strategist and radio disc jockey in Phoenix.
Google Authorship not only connects content creators and content viewers, but it also enhances the experience of Google search for everyone by placing an emphasis on quality. Most recently, Google has cut down on the number of items that can appear in its search results and authorship users have somehow been split into three categories. While one group receives all of the benefits of authorship, a second group of people has content with photos missing and a third group does not receive any individual recognition even if they have established authorship. Overall, however, authors who regularly offer valuable information are more likely to be ranked higher in results than those who do not, so that others can benefit from the wisdom of reliable sources. Plus, according to Catalyst, a search marketing agency, using Google Authorship increases click-through rates on a site by 150 percent. “All things being equal, people are more likely to click on a listing if the author’s face appears next to it,” says Andy Crestodina the principal, strategic director of the website design company, Orbit Media. “So it’s something that all bloggers and marketers should consider.
As with anything Google Authorship is not fool-proof. Some people who question its usefulness suggest that none of its advantages are guaranteed. Kevin Rowe, a freelance search marketing manager and owner Rowe Digital, says that Google Authorship has helped him improve his click-through rates and has brought him recognition, but points out that it is not a key component of search engine optimization. “If the post doesn’t rank, it doesn’t matter that you set up Authorship,” Crestodina says. “So you need to research keywords carefully [and] gauge the competition of the other sites that rank for that phrase. Authorship is just a few links, but search engine optimization is a never ending cycle of research, writing, networking, pitching and publishing!”
Many variables including how many Google+ circles you have and your rank on other social media sites determine how popular your content will be in search results. After setting up Google Authorship, Crestodina says that you can monitor your place in search by going into Google Webmaster Tools and signing in using the information that you use to access your Google+ profile. Once you click on “labs” and then “author stats,” you should be able to view data on anything you have published online. Those with Google+ profiles also have the option of adding Google Authorship to individual posts or a whole webpage. “It depends on your branding and how you position yourself in the marketplace,” says Rowe. “If you’re a freelancer and it’s your name, then I think using Google Authorship on the entire site makes sense.”
As long as you concentrate on uploading quality content on a consistent basis, Google Authorship can be a great resource for branding and self-promotion. Still, it’s important to remember that you have to constantly engage with others on Google+ and other social sites. Joining communities and Google Hangout events are just two ways to interact more with others. “A lot of people have difficulties in communicating on Google+, Facebook and Twitter because they think it’s just a big platform for them to get their bullhorn and shout out, here check out what I’m doing,” says Hernandez. “You have to create connections because those connections drive traffic back to your cause and your content. You’re sharing probably 80 percent of the time in Google+ other people’s content, and when the time comes that you need to share your content, they will notice that there’s a trust factor behind your content.”