Do you blog? I mean, really, truly blog — where you post more than once a year and invest your valuable time to develop valuable and original content?
If you said yes — and I really, really hope you said yes — Google loves you. Google is rewarding good content and the authors who create it in search results. In fact, if you work Google+, you could become famous and build your online authority — and kick your competitors to the curb. Just by producing really great content.
What’s good content? There are a million top 10 lists out there, but let’s look at what Google loves (according to its web writing guidelines);
- Quality writing, free of grammatical and spelling errors from a trusted author
- Original, detailed research without factual errors
- New and never-before-seen interviews, articles and ideas
- Things a good magazine would publish, people would bookmark and share (like this article, perhaps?)
Forget about redundant or keyword heavy content that’s not really written for humans. Google loves quality content so much that it rewrote its search algorithm (Panda, and then again with Penguin) and created Google+ to reward you for creating it.
Think of it this way: Google+ is the first social network that is entirely based on trust — meaning when people +1 or share your content, they’re essentially voting for you as one of the good guys. The more love you get from your Google+ circles (and, to a certain extent, the more you give) the more Google+ trusts you as a verifiable and trusted source of quality content.
So if you’re producing excellent, shareable content, Google is really in love with you. It wants to show off your reputation, work, authority and even drive traffic to your website with improved search results.
So how do you get in on the action? Google+, of course.
There are two pieces to making the most of Google+ for your business:
- Set up your Google+ profile and get active on the platform. Google evaluates your Google+ profile by the number of followers you have, re-shares, and +1’s. Remember when someone shares or +1’s your content, they’re essentially voting for you — the great author we know and love. Having a tribe you regularly interact with and a community you contribute to on Google+ is an important piece of establishing online authority. Lots of people think that building your base on Google+ is actually faster and easier than doing so on Twitter or Facebook. In my experience, I think it’s true.
- Implement Google’s authorship markup. I know that sounds complicated (anything that uses the word “markup” gives me the shivers too) but it’s not. And once you have it set up, search results will be populated with entries that look like this:
When your content appears like this, with your picture, byline and Google+ status, it not only looks more tasty and reliable to searchers, it actually IS. According to a study performed by Catalyst Search Marketing, clicks increased by 150 percent when the result was presented as a rich snippet (meaning the author information and picture is associated with the content excerpt.)
Google ranks verified content more highly than other types of content. Combine that with the fact that Google+ users get custom-tailored search results that are weighted towards verified content, and game over — you’ve got to claim your stake in Google Authorship.
Here’s how to make it happen.
After you’ve got your Google+ profile set up (make sure you fill it out completely, including a good bio, contact information and links to your other social profiles and website), click on “home” then select “profile” from the fly-out menu on the left. Now click on “about” within your profile.
Scroll down a bit until you see the “links” section of your about page.
Click edit to bring up the manage links panel.
Click on “add custom link” to open the panel and add your blog’s URL. If you contribute to more than one blog, this is a great way to promote your content across the web.
Side note for especially prolific authors — if you contribute to multiple blogs, you will want to put the specific URL of your post here, as well as the blog name.
When you submit your post, be sure to give the host blog a link for your Google+ profile that includes the rel=author tag. That tells Google who you are, and links your guest post back to your profile. So your link to your Google+ profile should look like this:
<a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/YOURPROFILEID_ID?rel=author>
You’re almost done. Now you need to add the “rel=author” tag to your site so that Google+ can associate your content with your profile.
But let’s get back to your blog.
If your blog runs on WordPress, you can install the Yoast SEO plugin to handle this for you. Then it’s a simple matter of cutting and pasting your Google+ Profile ID into your user profile within the appearance section of your dashboard.
Be sure to include just the profile number (and not any of the trailing bits after the slash, like about or posts). It should look like this:
Open up your WordPress dashboard. Select users from the left hand navigation.
Now select yourself from the user panel, and input your Google+ profile ID:
Note that if you’re not using Yoast, your theme may place the Google+ input field somewhere else on this screen (if it’s set up for Google+). But the input field for Google+ should always be associated with your user profile.
You’re almost done. Next, you’ll want to use Google’s Rich Snippet Tool to test your set-up. Enter your URL, and with luck, your results should like something like this:
You’ll want to take a moment to verify your email address. It’s a ton/load/lot easier if your email matches your domain name, but if it doesn’t, don’t worry. You can still set up Google Authorship .
Here’s how to manually link your Google+ profile to your content:
- Create a link TO your Google+ profile from your web page. You can put this anywhere on the page, but typically people put it with their author information. You could say “Connect with me on Google+ at +Your Name.” to accomplish this, use this piece of code (and be sure to paste or create it in the text/HTML pane of your post edit window, not the visual pane):
Connect with me on Google+ at <a href=”https://plus.google.com/PROFILEID?rel=author” rel=”me”>+YOUR NAME</a>
Replace the ALL CAPS part of that bit of code with your profile id and your name.
- Add the reciprocal link FROM your Google+ profile back to your site. Go to your contributor section of the links panel, and add a custom link. (Beware — you want to put your link to your content in the “contributor to” section, not just in the links section). Then click save, and you’re done.
There’s one final piece to making the most of Google+. Make sure that you’ve set your profile up to be discovered, and that your authorship information is visible to the public. It is by default, but if you’ve fiddled a bit with your settings you may have accidentally set your preferences to private.
Go to the edit profile section of your Google+ profile and make sure public is selected.
Congratulations! You’re now a published — and potentially quite famous — author, courtesy of Google+.