Google authorship is big on the agenda for a lot of SEOs at the moment, and rightly so considering how heavily Google is looking to push this into search results.
Creating a personal brand is incredibly valuable toward building and strengthening great relationships. After all, you’re always going to have more trust in recommendations from your own circle of friends.
This study from Nielsen strongly backs this up, with 90 percent of people trusting recommendations from people they know. In comparison, only 41 percent trust search engine results!
That stat alone shows the importance of why Google had to become more social. If searchers are given more buying trust in their results, then advertisers are going to get a better return on investment. And Google authorship appears to be a key part of their solution toward achieving this, essentially merging personalized search with your social circle.
So what can you do to capitalize on this?
1. Build a Personal Brand Online
Google have realized just how important social media is as an indicator toward assessing the quality of a website. And because in many ways social media is more about personal branding, (as opposed to company branding) authorship starts to make a lot more sense.
Google doesn't want to just measure the influence of a brand profile on Twitter/Facebook/Google+ – it wants to know about its employees, its writers, and online fans/followers. Treat your own reputation management seriously and look to build a strong profile on key social sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.
If you’re not an active blogger, you really should start now. It’s never too late! Blogging is a great way to build a personal brand – plus it opens doors to further opportunities such as writing on higher profile sites, conference/event speaking or media interviews, meaning that you can leverage your online profile even further.
2. Setup Google Authorship For All the Websites You Write On
By connecting your Google+ profile with all of the websites you publish content on, it means that your profile is going to be displayed whenever an article/blog post that you’ve written appears in Google’s search results.
On its own this should naturally increase your following – because people will also click through to your Google+ profile as well. So that’s already helping to build your profile and make you more influential.
Plus it’s going to get you extra traffic by positively influencing rankings within your social circle. Which is also another key reason Google promotes this: it pushes large volumes of traffic through to Google+ and gives users a reason to re-visit.
3. Use Google+ Daily
Even if you have to force yourself to do it – try spending a small amount of time each day commenting and sharing your connections content, not just your own, to strengthen those connections.
By making a small effort each day, you'll gradually start to build up a stronger profile.
4. Use Tools & Interact With Influencers in Your Niche
Then get their attention – definitely don’t overdo it by stalking them and replying to everything they say. But make the effort to interact with them occasionally and share their content and hopefully this will go both ways.
In Twitter you can build private lists of people you want to interact with more frequently. Why not do the same with a Google+ circle too?
If you can start getting retweets from people with 10,000+ followers it’s likely to help build your social reach. And again, the same rules apply with shares on Google+.
Another great tool is Google Ripples (see this guide on SEOmoz to show how to use it). Basically, it means you can see who the influential people are when sharing a post and how far it has reached. See this screenshot for the recent announcement of Google Drive:
5. Hire Great Writers With Strong Social Profiles
This is one of the most important lessons to learn. Finding the right people is critical. Making mistakes in new hires can set you back massively.
Take the time to find someone who is great, as opposed to someone who “can do the job.” It's much more rewarding in terms of the results you can achieve.
This fits in incredibly well with Google authorship – personally this is something I looked for in a writer beforehand anyway. But now there is even more incentive to find a writer who has a great social profile and can reach out to their own audience and network.
In many ways, authorship is almost a Panda-style algorithm update, meaning that Google will reward quality over quantity. Look for top writers within your industry to hire – forget about the $10-a-go copywriting services and find an actual individual who can help promote yourself my using sites such as the Problogger Job Board or AuthorPress and most importantly reach out to your own blog and social network.
If Google is going to measure the influence of a writer’s social profile when ranking content, you should do the same when looking to hire them too!
6. Meet Bloggers and Writers in Person
Meet people in real life. Go to industry events, find blogger meet-ups – figure out where these guys hangout and get to know them. But do it offline – it’s far more personal!
Recently I analyzed the people I had most frequently interacted with on Twitter using WhoReTweetsMe.com because I wanted to see how many of these people I’d actually met in person. Even I was surprised by the results, I’d met 88 out of the top 100!
Having a personal brand is a great first step – but really getting out there and meeting people is the way to take it to the next level.
What Impact Will Authorship Have to Rankings?
At the moment it’s unclear how much of a direct impact authorship has, or will have, to influencing rankings. However, even if it’s not a ranking factor just yet, Google authorship and Google+ already influences personalized search results – which in itself can boost the rankings for connections within your social circle. This opens up huge opportunities for individuals, because it means Google is likely to reward you personally for being an authority online.
Google are also fully aware that a website’s reputation is no longer just based on links. People will much more commonly tweet a link now than they would blog about it, so to ignore social from their algorithm long-term would make no sense to them if they want to continue providing the most relevant set of search results possible. Which of course they do!
It seems pretty clear that this is the way Google intends on heading. There's no reason not to set up Google authorship. So get in there sooner rather than later.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!