NOTE: As of Aug 29, 2014 Google has dropped support for Authorship, so this will no longer work.
Many of you would have seen that when you search for something on Google you might see some results with the image of a person next to it. For the uninitiated, that is Google Authorship in action. From a visual point of view, Google authorship gives you the photo and byline next to your website’s results on Google.
This is one of the rich snippets that is shown in search results, and it allows Google to associate a person with the content on the page. Traditionally, Google has always been good at identifying good content and passing on authority for quality content on to the domain it’s published on. It never really associated that content to the person or individual who created it. Google authorship is slowly changing that.
Is there any real advantage in using G+ Authorship?
Check out this paper that was published by Jennifer Fernquist and Ed H. Chi from Google, which shows the heatmap generated from eyetracking on a search result page with authorship data. The impact of having an authorship snippet is quite obvious.
These days there are a variety of rich snippets that are shown in SERP (Search Engine Result Pages), and Google often uses a combination of those to display search results, so a modern day heat map might look a bit different to the one with only one authorship snippet.
I recently had a chat with AJ from WPExplorer, who I know is active on G+, and also got Terry, one of my colleagues from Envato, to take part in a small test on G+ authorship on the Marketplaces. I was hoping to integrate G+ Authorship with the Marketplaces so authors can take ownership for the content they sell.
Some key benefits of using authorship on your content
- You get to be associated with the content you create, which can help you build your AuthorRank (something which will, in my opinion, play a role in SEO in the near future).
- Authorship is a great personal branding tool. In the case of AJ—since I already know him, and consider that his work is of great quality—when I see his face next to a search result, it automatically enforces the idea that it will be something I would want to take a look at. Once you build an existing relationship with a user and establish trust with them, you will notice an increase in CTR (click through rate) for your content with an authorship snippet.
- It encourages users to engage with you on G+, and will possibly increase the number of people who circle you, which in turn will increase your reach.
- Google serves up personalized search results, based on Google+ connections (along with various other things).
Testing G+ authorship on the Envato Marketplaces
Once we took the steps to claim authorship for AJ’s items, we got an authorship image and byline for the profile page. The item page which showcases various other rich snippet information only came up with the byline.
We will be running a few other tests on this in the near future, but if you like what you see and want to claim ownership for your item and profile page, you can do so now.
Here are some before and after shots of the experiment:
How to claim ownership of your items
You will need to have an active G+ profile. Chances are, you already have a G+ profile if you use Gmail or some of the other Google services.
Once you have one, setting up authorship is quite easy. It involves two steps:
1. Link from your Google+ profile to ThemeForest.net
On the right side of the “About” page of your Google+ profile, there is a place to add “Contributor to” links. Please add http://themeforest.net/. The label can be anything like ThemeForest or ThemeForest.net.
If you are on one of the other Marketplaces, change this accordingly. If you want to claim ownership for all Marketplaces, you will need to add each one individually.
2. Link from your ThemeForest profile to your Google+ page
Open up your profile >> My Settings >> Your Social Networks, and look for the G+ icon. In that field, please add +SaijoGeorge?rel=author
You will need to do this for each Marketplace that you want to claim ownership for. Also don’t forget to change +SaijoGeorge to your unique G+ id. Some of you might not have a name, and it might be a number like 106877222943376725092. In that case, you will want to add 106877222943376725092?rel=author
Once you do that, you can open up Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool to see if its working as expected. Give it a few days, and you should be able to see the result.
Google will have their own set of criteria that must be met before the authorship data will go live for your profile. This probably includes things like how active you are on G+, the image used on your G+ profile, etc. One thing to remember here is that, with authorship, Google recommends that you use your photo and not an avatar. They prefer to feature a human.
If you want some more background on Google+ and why it’s important from a marketing point of view, you can take a look at the slides I used in a recent presentation where I talked about G+ authorship. Unfortunately there is no video recording of that session, but feel free to get in touch with me on Google+ (+SaijoGeorge) or Twitter (@Saijo_George) if you have any questions regarding this.
If you want to spruce up your G+ profile, you might like some of the Google+ profile templates on GraphicRiver’s Social Media Templates category. Last but not least, don’t forget to follow Envato and ThemeForest on G+.
I have put up a forum post, please post any your question you may have about this in there.