If your goal is to steadily increase visits to your site, and to establish yourself as a trusted source in a specific niche by publishing posts frequently, confirming Google authorship needs to become a top priority. Doing so will not only help you optimize your content strategy, it will give you deeper insight into how to leverage social signals to improve your SEO while reducing ad spend.
Connecting the Dots of Google Authorship
While reviewing my Alexa site stats, I noticed that the phrase “twitter tools” has been driving 33% to 40% of Google search traffic to my site, SocialSteamr, but for some reason I hadn’t taken the time to understand why. It could be because I’m wary of Alexa data, which is generally regarded as inaccurate (because it is based solely on site visit data from people who have already installed the Alexa toolbar in their browser before they visit your site). In this case, however, Alexa was spot on.
I thought the keyword stat was an anomaly because only one article on our site focused on twitter tools, and it was published over 6 months ago in July 2013. It did receive quite a bit of attention on social networks thanks to a very cool advocate technology called Buzz by Society3, including over 900 shares across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest — that level of sharing was made possible by harnessing and coordinating the power of brand advocates using Society3′s Buzz.
Sure enough, when I did a non-personalized search on Google, I was pleasantly surprised:
I attribute the success of this post to 4 key factors:
1) Society3′s Buzz product — an extraordinary way to harness your brand advocates to boost social shares and social signals. Buzz is the new way to advertise.
2) Joining Google+ in July 2011 — two and a half years ago — was advantageous. Building up a trusted Google+ presence and being featured in 2,386 circles takes time. Linking my G+ profile to SocialSteamr, and linking SocialSteamr to my G+ profile in reciprocity, was a key reason for the ‘authority’ this post was given.
3) The “Twitter Tools” article included a highly popular, embedded list from List.ly — it has now garnered over 5250 views, and 5 additional twitter tools were added by our readers.
And as we know from recent changes to Google rankings…
4) Linked content, especially content types that have garnered a significant number of indexed social signals (i.e. infographics, SlideShare presentations), can have a profound impact on your search rankings, as illustrated in the chart below. (source and quote: MarketingCharts.com)
Social signals for the win!
How to Know if Google Authorship is Working
Here’s the Google authorship test: input the URL of a blog post you’ve written into the Google Structured Data Testing Tool, and click “preview”. You’ll see quickly if you’ve been given Google authorship credit for your post; note the green line in the image below that says “Authorship is working for this page.”
If Google authorship is not yet verifiable, here are 4 steps to take to remedy the situation:
1) Make sure the information in your Google+ profile is correct — include a specific one-line bio, make sure your author name matches the name you use when publishing posts, and be sure to use a professional photo, as it will be seen in Google search results next to your name and article.
2) Ensure there is a “byline” on every page of the content you’re an author of; “by Rob Nielsen” is at the bottom of each post I write, and I also include my name as an author in the Rich Snippet plug-in for WordPress when publishing a post.
3) Include the “rel=author” link from your site to Google+; I do this by hyperlinking my name at the bottom of blog posts to this link: https://plus.google.com/+RobNielsen?rel=author.
** If you haven’t created a “vanity” Google+ URL that includes your name, be sure to claim it — it may become one of the most valuable sources of traffic to your site, and will ensure you get credit where credit is due.
4) Visit https://plus.google.com/authorship and sign up with an email address that uses the same domain as the one you’re verifying for authorship (i.e. for SocialSteamr.com, I entered email@example.com)
Please let us know how Google authorship has helped your business in the comments below!
by: Rob Nielsen