Has your brand taken advantage of the Google Authorship program yet? If not, you’re missing out on a powerful way to increase your visibility, establish yourself as an authority, and get some special treatment with Google as a bonus.
To the average user, Authorship appears to be just the photo and byline that accompany your content on search results pages. However, there’s a deeper dimension: Authorship has unique SEO benefits that may not be apparent at first glance. Let’s take a closer look at this feature, and see how it can indirectly boost your brand’s SEO.
Why Brands Need Google Authorship
The primary goals of SEO are to increase traffic, earn quality links, and improve your ranking with Google. The Authorship program allows you to accomplish all three of these goals, and allows you to do it for free.
Ever since Google’s algorithms were modified to produce more relevant search results, authority has become the key to achieving high search rankings. Google Authorship gives you that priceless credibility, establishing you as an authority and influencer in your field.
How It Works
When you set up Google Authorship, your photo Google+ information (like how many people have Circled you) will appear next to your content in Google’s search results. These results are known as “rich snippets.”
While rich snippet functionality alone is an asset to authors, there’s actually a lot more going on beneath the surface. The real power of authorship is the way it verifies connections between content on the web and its creators. In an age when Google and other search engines are trying to weed out anonymous, low-quality search results, Authorship connects a name and a face to your content. For a content creator, the benefits are huge: authority, visibility, click-throughs, conversions, and more.
How Authorship Helps Your Rankings
We’ve established that Google Authorship can be a powerful SEO tool, but haven’t really discussed how it helps boost your rankings. There are actually multiple factors at work:
1. Rich snippets are eye-catching.
Everyone knows that the top search results on a page get a lot of attention, but eye-tracking studies have proven that rich snippets also attract the eye more than standard search results. Rich snippets make your content stand out on a search results page, and visibility leads to clicks.
2. Click-throughs are increased.
As we just said, greater visibility does help boost click-through rates, but it’s not just pure visibility that gets those clicks. It’s the sense of trust that readers feel by seeing a name and a face attached to content. When you see content written by someone willing to put their name on it, you’re more likely to read it.
3. Your brand gains instant credibility.
When you have a headshot right next to your search results listing, your company immediately stands out from all the other faceless entities. Putting a face to the company adds a personal connection, and provides the credibility and authority you need to separate your brand from the pack.
4. Your content gets indexed faster.
If your content is of a timely nature, getting it indexed quickly is critical. Google Authorship gives priority to content that’s linked to a Google+ profile, giving it a significant advantage in the race to the top of the search results page. Remember, if your content gets indexed first, people performing searches will find you before the competition. Even with the best SEO practices in place, sometimes it’s all about who showed up first.
5. Google Authorship levels the playing field.
When Google Authorship is in the mix, it doesn’t matter as much exactly where your content ranks on the search results page. Being 6th or 7th on the list isn’t as big of an issue when your content comes in the form of an eye-catching rich snippet. Additionally, authorship offers small businesses a competitive advantage. A study conducted by Blueglass indicated that only 3.5% of Fortune 100 companies were actively using the Authorship program. Until they catch up, small firms can use this to their advantage.
The Bottom Line
It’s clear that Authorship can not only improve your ranking, but can help you establish credibility in your niche. In today’s competitive SEO environment, getting on Google+ and harnessing the power of Authorship is a must. The process is simple and free, and the potential is vast.
So what are you waiting for?