Why Use Google Authorship Markup ?
Google Authorship Markup is gaining momentum as it not only looks good to see our name and face displayed against our posts on Google SERP, but it also enhances our site SEO. Above all, Google Authorship Markup gets our site indexed faster and also increases our website’s CTR.
More and more people are creating their Google+ profile to establish Google Authorship Markup for claiming credit to their published content over the Internet. It also helps you fight plagiarism so that you can publish quality content under your name without any risk of getting it copied by someone else.
Google Author Rank is the next buzzword harnessing the power behind using Google Authorship Markup. Although, Google has not yet officially declared the use of Google Author Rank behind ranking a website in general, Matt Cutts has accepted that it is used for listing in-depth articles on Google SERP. We can not rule out a possibility wherein Author Rank also becomes an important ranking factor in the near future.
Talks about Google using Google Author Rank for ranking in-depth articles on its SERP are quite high in the market. Early birds are destined to benefit from the power of Google Authorship and Google Author Rank, especially if one day Google makes an official declaration about considering Google Authorship Markup as one of the major factors behind ranking websites on Google SERP.
Even today, content creators who have already setup their Google Authorship Markup are enjoying fast search engine indexing as well as better search engine optimization on their websites. For all those businesses which are operating from a physical location and serving their products and services directly to their customers, Google Places and Google Business are opening new business opportunities. Google Authorship Markup brings its own SEO advantage to content creators and site owners who have linked their Google+ profile to their websites.
Setting Google Authorship is Free
The best part behind using Google Authorship is the requirement of only a Google+ profile and nothing else. Furthermore, Google plus is also emerging as one of the best social media networks, thus promising big advantages in multiple ways. It can also help you launch your own social media marketing campaigns to attract referral traffic directly to your website.
Since creating a Google+ profile is free, there are no cost related issues to activate Google Authorship Markup for your website. If you don’t have a Google+ profile, you can easily create it by using your Google account. You can even create a new Google account, if. Implementing Google Authorship Markup is just a matter of making some configuration changes on your site and filling in your Google Plus profile, although creating and setting up your Google+ profile prior to linking it to your site is highly desirable.
How to Set Up Google Authorship Markup?
Google Authorship uses “rel=author” markup to detect your ownership of your content published online on your websites. Only a single Google+ profile is needed to set your Google Authorship Markup on as many sites as required. Remember that Google Authorship is only a direct method to establish your author credit for your content published online at your sites.
It is not only about you shouting that this content belongs to me, but it is more about Google telling the world that the content on your site is published by you and belongs only to you. Google Authorship Markup can be implemented using either of the two Google Authorship setup procedures as mentioned by Google in their detailed guideline about setting up Google Authorship.
1. Set Google Authorship Markup using Verified Domain Email
The easiest method to set up Google Authorship Markup is by using your site domain email ID. It means that if you have a website mysite.com then firstname.lastname@example.org can by verified using this link. Your site domain email ID makes it easier for Google to verify your content authorship.
Once you submit your email ID using the above mentioned link, a verification email is sent to your domain mailbox by Google. You only need to click the mentioned link to complete the verification process initiated by Google. After verifying your email address by visiting your mailbox and clicking the provided verification link, everything related to Google Authorship Markup gets set automatically.
2. Set Google Authorship Markup without using Verified Domain Email
On the contrary, if you do not possess an email configured to your website’s domain or you want to use any other email ID then you can use rel=author markup with your author byline linked to your Google plus profile. On your web page and posts, a line with the following attribute must exist “<a href=”[Google+ profile_url]?rel=author”>Author Name</a>”. After adding author link to your site’s pages and posts, you also need to add a contributor link in your Google+ profile About section.
You can set yourself as a contributor to as many sites as you want. Although, for each and every site you want to link to Google Authorship, you must have a link back to each such site originating from your Google plus profile. Similarly, multiple authors can also be set as contributors to a single site, although a post or page can only be attributed to a single author. More than one author per post is not yet provided but Google may add this feature in the near future. According to Google, only one author can be given credit for a single post or page.
How to Check if Google Authorship markup is Working ?
It takes time for Google to include your rich snippet containing author credentials on its SERP based on your content quality and author authority. Moreover, Google does not guarantee the display of rich snippets for all the verified authors. It may take some time for you to build a good and authoritative reputation that gets your name and picture included and displayed on Google SERP.
Once Google Authorship Markup has been successfully set up, Google offers a structured data testing tool to check if your Google Authorship Markup has been successfully set up and is successfully working. You only need to enter your site to check whether Google Authorship Markup is working for you or not. After the successful setup of Google Authorship Markup, you will see something like the below screen shot when testing it on Rich snippets.
What is the Difference between rel=author and rel=publisher ?
The Importance of Google Authorship can be understood from two different viewpoints. You can use your personal Google+ profile or even your company Google+ profile. The use of markup rel=author and rel=publisher may seem similar, but are two entirely different things. rel=author is used for a personal Google+ profile authorship linking while rel=publisher is used for brand and company Google+ pages profile authorship linking.
Both the methods have a separate set of advantages and limitations. You must decide whether you want to use rel=author or rel=publisher markup or you want to use both of them simultaneously. If you want to use your personal Google+ identity then use rel=author markup, but if you want to use your company’s Google+ profile page identity then rather use rel=publisher markup. You can also use both of them for linking your content to your individual Google+ profile as well as your company’s Google+ profile page.
Checklist for Setting Google Authorship markup Successfully
Ensure that your Google+ profile is set up properly containing all the required information.
In case of using rel=publisher, you must use your company’s Google+ page.
Use a real picture of yourself with a head shot that is clearly visible and identifiable.
Your picture must be clearly identifiable without posing any vagueness as to your real identity.
Ensure that the link to your site is properly set in the Contributor section of your Google+ profile.
Also ensure that your Google+ Profile discovery is set to Profile visible in search. Select the Help others discover my profile in the search from the Profile discovery section.
Use rich snippets to check whether Google is able to establish all the required links coming from your site as well as your Google+ profile successfully linking back to your site.
Final Words on Google Authorship markup
Once everything is setup and fixed on your site as well as on your Google+ profile, don’t forget to check it using rich snippets. Start building your Google+ circles and communicate with like minded people. Get active on a Google Plus social networking platform and build your author reputation by publishing quality content material under your name. Try to restrict yourself only to your respective niche in order to emerge as a thought leader and authority by sharing your deep insights on the subject matter. For troubleshooting Google Authorship issues, you can also follow this Google Authorship troubleshooting guide.
In WordPress, you can even use any of the many WordPress plugins to configure Google Authorship Markup easily. You can find many Google+ Authorship Plugins easily available from WordPress repository to set up Google Authorship automatically without using any complicated code. Please let me know, if you face any trouble setting up Google+ Authorship for your website. It would be a pleasure for me to help you set up Google Authorship Markup successfully in order to help you build a strong authorship rank with your Google+ profile.