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Implementing Google Authorship: The Sales Funnel on Steroids


If you are a content provider that receives a byline on your work, your common sense should tell you to make the most of that opportunity. A byline is what all writers shoot for. It is a business maker, giving you an instant portfolio and street cred. And in the world of Internet content, it is also great marketing.

Meet Google Authorship, the sales funnel on steroids. Think of it as a cross-referencing service. When users execute a keyword search, Authorship displays an active link byline in the search results with the article title. The active byline works in two ways:

1. Click on the author’s name in the byline and it will initiate a new search for articles by that author. Some authors have written many articles on many topics for many websites, but others have written extensively on one or two topics for one or two sites. Either way, when users click the name in the byline, these will be the results they get.

2. On the same new search results page, there is a direct link to the author’s Google+ profile page. The Google+ page can in turn redirect followers to new content, or reroute them to the author’s own site or blog. As a writer, you can thereby market your name, content, and expertise through social media. This drives viewers to your material, thus boosting your metrics and connecting you with new clients by working the Google+ Circles in LinkedIn fashion.

Content writers’ ears should begin to perk up at this. As long as they can begin securing their own bylines, Google Authorship will allow them to market themselves in ways light-years beyond the usual methods.

Rich Snippets

Google Authorship is a rich snippet. The active byline is in effect bringing in information from other pages about the article returned from your search query, it’s just doing it once removed. Instead of displaying the information on the snippet, it leads you to the information.


rich snippet1

Is it any mystery which link will be purple?

In addition to the above-mentioned Google Authorship benefits, rich snippets are as a general rule beneficial to you in Google Search. They make your posts instantly more attractive in the SERPs than other articles. They command the reader’s attention away from the other results, boosting your click-through rate.

Google Authorship makes natural use of the way rich snippets work. Content writers can accelerate their own personal sales funnel by both advertising their experience and expertise within organic results and through the SEO benefits that accompany the snippet enhancement.


Facial Recognition

Remember that setting up Google Authorship incorporates a direct link to your Google+ profile. People will see you… in more ways than one. As part of any Google+ profile, and most all social media profiles, for that matter, you will have the option to include a photo of yourself. You can leverage this to your advantage as well. If you have a professional-looking headshot on your profile, you expand on many of the rewards reaped through rich snippet implementation.


awkward photo2

A professional photo includes some effort on your end too

With an author photo, readers have a higher likelihood to click on the article and recognize you again in the future. Both facial recognition and content recognition through the photo promote this. In addition, the photo will strengthen your ethos and give you authority implicitly even if the article isn’t read. Having your face out in the open on search results will by familiarity alone make you seem more like an expert to the viewer. You will also appear more established than authors without a photo.

Lastly, it’s simple Marketing 101. An author photo brands you. Once a brand — in this case a source of information – is trusted, visitors will return for information on similar subjects.


Plagiarism Protection

Once a writer begins securing bylines, Google Authorship will protect them from having their content lifted by other writers or marketers. Those with bylines instantly become the hunted – at risk of having their content poached and the act of which lost in the swamp of Internet anonymity. Anyone wishing to claim and leverage original content should recognize the benefits of a built-in preventative feature when it comes to plagiarism. Google Authorship just so happens to have several protection plans.

Authorship protects authors from plagiarism in two ways: it helps prevent both copycat article content and copycat names. Google’s algorithms now compensate for articles with the same content and authors with the same name. In these situations, algorithmic deference is given to those with Authorship employed. So, someone without  Authorship set up that has “written” the same article as someone with Authorship will have their content demoted in the SERPs. Likewise, all author names without Authorship will be ranked below those similarly named authors with Authorship.


Thieves come in all shapes and sizes… and species


The immediate question that arises, then, is this: what if there are two authors with the same name and both have Authorship? Well, since Authorship is so new, the answer to this question is likely “nothing.” We can, though, speculate on how Google will address this issue in the future. Enter the mystical “Author Rank.”


The Possibility of Author Rank

Author Rank is similar to Google PageRank, which is a rank based on a website’s linkage profile. Author Rank would be based on one’s authority and proliferation as an author. At this point, the existence of Author Rank is conjecture based on a patent Google filed years ago, and it’s probably not an active service yet. But as stated, it would be the perfect compensatory measure to straighten out authors with similar names and content, and most in the industry are prepping for its eventual rollout.

You can get ahead of the curve in anticipation of this. If you write more on a single topic as opposed to spreading your expertise all over the place, and if you get more Google+ followers based on that content, you’ll be in a much better position to be ranked higher in a related keyword search. Those authors that are not as well-published on the topic will be ranked lower than you.

You can also share/like/+1 other posts on social networks that have the same topic. Whether Google will ever recognize this is a blind guess at this point, but it does speak to your immersion in a subject matter, which can’t hurt. There is a down side to this, though, especially as a freelance writer who has never marketed themselves. Be aware that if you focus your virtual identity too much in one area, you risk decreasing your Author Rank in a different area. So, if you have a dual focus, be sure to spread yourself wisely and evenly among your topics.


Setting Up Google Authorship

Before you start setting up Google Authorship, you’ll need to do a bit of background work. The first thing to tend to is making sure your Google+ account is set up and active. If you don’t have a Google+ profile, creating one is the first step. There are a few things to consider when creating your Google+ profile:

  • Your profile has to be a personal account, not a business account.
  • Make sure you’re using a recognizable headshot as your profile photo – no corporate logo.
  • Edit your “Contributor To” section on your profile. This is the section that let’s Google know where your articles are and that you are to be linked with them. Authorship will go into these domains (Yahoo, HuffPo, etc.) and look for your work there. Click “Add a custom link” and enter the URLs.

Add a link to your Google+ profile from your own webpage. You need to add this code into the <head> section of your site – if you don’t have access, ask your website provider to add it for you. The link should look like this:

<link rel=”author” href=”[profile_url]“>

Replace [profile_url] with your Google+ profile URL.

That’s it – you’re done! Head over to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, enter your URL, and click the “Preview” button. You should see your headshot in the Preview area if you’ve followed the steps above.


Share your thoughts on Google Authorship. Stay tuned next week for a discussion about the rumored Author Rank and what it could mean for you or your business.