Gaining the upper hand in search results and certain social media websites should be considered a vital component of any search optimisation campaign. Not only should you be looking for ways to naturally climb the search rankings but also to help ensure that you enjoy strong click through rates from the search results pages. One technique that should certainly help click through rates and could help improve search rankings in the future too, is the Google Author rich snippet.
Rich snippets are enhanced search engine results listings. Rather than simply seeing the usual text based title, description, and link, a rich snippet includes additional information that can help a website, web page, or online profile really stand out.
You may have seen listings that include links to certain pages of that site and, more recently, you may have noticed Google listings that include pictures of the author and a link to their Google Plus profile page.
These rich snippets are being referred to as Author Rich Snippets because they rely on the rel=author tag and because they are being closely associated with Google’s Author Rank. There are a number of benefits associated with the implementation of Google Author status.
Considering the process is relatively simple and only needs to be completed once for you to continue enjoying the benefits, it will certainly pay dividends to claim ownership of your blog and external posts.
Rel=author is, in fact, used in a number of ways. Primarily it will ensure that results and posts that are flagged as having been written by you include your photo and Google Plus link in search results.
There have been reports that Google will start to show related posts by the same author if you visit an author’s post, spend some time reading that post, and then return to the search results. There’s also likely to be PPC benefits so that the higher the Author Rank for a post, the high the click price and the more likely that advertisers will want to publish on your posts.
Even if you only want to take advantage of the rich snippets, the relative ease with which you can claim ownership of your blog and guest posts makes it a worthwhile venture. Having your image displayed next to your search results listing means that it will enjoy much greater prominence.
Your listing will gain greater prominence in the eyes of searchers and this means that you will typically enjoy improved conversion rates, especially if your listing does not quite appear at the very top of the search results page.
Register with Google+ and fill out your profile details. Next, ensure that you have a profile page on your blog that you can link back to from your Google+ profile. If you are the only author for your blog then you can link back to the home page. Add the following HTML to your blog template or to your home page replacing the Google+ link with a link to your own profile page:
Now, go to your Google+ profile and add a link to your blog or website under the contributor’s section. You can check that you’ve made the changes properly by using the Rich Snippets Testing Tool but be prepared to wait at least a few days before the changes propagate into full search results.
If you use WordPress or another content management platform or blogging platform then there are a number of plugins that will do the work for you. If you have a multiple author blog then a plugin that adds an author box to every post with a rel=author link to the author’s Google+ page should be considered vital.
The YOAST SEO plugin offers similar functionality for single author blogs although adding the link in your blogroll or the header of your page is relatively simple anyway.
If you are a regular guest poster on other blogs and authoritative industry websites then you can link back to your Google+ profile using the rel=”author” attribute too. This will further increase your Author Rank. The importance of Author Rank is only likely to increase over time as Google becomes more social and integrates its Google+ and Google Search results into the same single offering.
Guest posting and blogging are viable and beneficial methods of promoting yourself, your website, and your products and services. What’s more, having authoritative authors posting on your blog may also help you by improving your own authority status, not only with readers and avid author followers, but potentially also with search engines like Google.