Being in the industry it is funny how you take things for granted. Running a couple of presentations over the last few days it became apparent that most people don’t know about Google Authorship and how important it is for the new “Social SEO” and building your brand and authority.
If you don’t yet know what Google Authorship is, it is simply what is going on behind the scenes to make people’s faces come up alongside their pages in Google search results.
Google Authorship has come out of the continually evolving search algorithm that Google uses to determine the most relevant content in relation to a search. They know as much as they are looking to improve the experience of searchers, website owners and SEO professionals are always looking for ways to “beat” Google and have their websites rank better than their competitors.
Google’s mandate has always been to provide links to the highest quality, most relevant pages for a search term. They have always wanted to reward website owners for producing good quality content but there have always been tricks that “mystery men” working away in basements have been able to use to trick Google into giving them high rankings. In the early days you stuffed your content with the keyword that you want to rank for through to creating thousands of spammy links to your website that gave the appearance that your site was an authority.
While some of the old tricks work to some extent, their power has been diluted with recent Google updates. Google now recognises:
- Links from relevant content as opposed to mass created comment spam, for example.
- A natural mix of anchor text for links (see this article on anchor text)
- Good quality content gets liked, shared, tweeted, pinned….
On top of this they want to recognise authorities in a field:
“We know that great content comes from great authors, and we’re looking closely at ways this markup could help us highlight authors and rank search results.”
Othar Hansson (Google Authorship Project)
This is where Google Authorship comes in
If you knew someone like this was writing an article on health and fitness, do you think that article should rank well in Google? This is what Google is trying to eliminate by introducing Google Authorship.
Google Authorship is simply a matter of going in and fully completing your Google Plus profile and adding links to all of your online presences where you contribute. By doing this Google is able to look at all of these and get an idea of what you do.
If you’re all over the place talking about a topic, then guess what?…..Google starts getting the idea that perhaps you know a thing or two about that topic. As you contribute more and more Google starts assigning you a certain level of authority in your niche such that they start viewing any content you write related to your niche more favourably and increase the chances of you ranking for search queries in your niche.
Of course, there are still many factors in play that will affect your ability to rank, especially if you are in a competitive niche but here are some things to look out for when trying to identify things you can rank for and hence get traffic to your site:
- Upcoming trends & news
- New products
- No established niche authorities
These are all areas that you can possibly rank for because you have shown Google you are an authority on a subject and you have the first mover advantage. Google will see you are not some “mystery man” just trying to spin a quick buck and will reward you for being an authority in your niche with better search rankings.