A working guide to Google Authorship

What is it and why is it beneficial?

In this blog article we take a quick look at a feature which Google has made available to web authors to help identify their work on the internet and particularly, where it is referenced in search results. This feature is known as “authorship”, indicated by a small image of the author which shows on Google’s results pages. You may have come across it already and wondered what it’s all about? If so, then please read on….

An author has been awarded “authorship” status when their profile picture appears alongside a Google search result which links through to their work, for example to a website page or a blog article. The idea behind this from Google’s perspective is primarily to a) identify authors who are producing consistent and useful content and b) provide a degree of trust in the search results for users who can easily identify the source of the content they are clicking through to.

There are other underlying reasons as to why Google has made this tool available, not least in that it encourages users to establish a Google+ profile and help to spread the use of Google’s own social channel.

Why is Google authorship useful?

The award of authorship status means that your Google+ profile image appears alongside search results that you are associated with. Here’s an example – if you search the phrase “Derby dental implants”, near the top you will see the following result with the image of the principal dentist appearing alongside his result:

how to gain Google authorship for a dental professionalThis is particularly useful in that it is proven to improve something called click-through-rate (CTR). This is simply because searchers are far more attracted to images than just a line of text and tend to click on them preferentially. Even where your result is part way down a search results page, where you have gained authorship, your click rate is often higher than results that sit above you. This is a *very* useful tool.

How can I gain authorship as a web publisher?

As you may expect, gaining authorship isn’t quick and easy – if it were, the whole basis of the system would be undermined. However, with a bit of perseverance and a little expert assistance, it is very possible to gain authorship in 2 or 3 months.

First off, there are a few technical aspects to complete. Without going into full detail, this basically means adding a special piece of code to your website and blog which acts as a unique identifier for you as the author. This code is generated from a user’s Google+ profile page and is linked from all of your web properties, website, blog etc. You also link back to your various web properties from your Google+ profile.

When the technical set-up is complete, you can test to see it has been done correctly using tools that Google provide free of charge.

The next step is actually the harder part. i.e. the generation and publishing of useful content which Google validates to work out if your are worthy of receiving authorship status. When they consider that you have published sufficient work of high enough quality and consequently can demonstrate a degree of authority in your field, authorship status should follow. Great website content and regular, high quality blogging are great ways to gain authorship status.

Summary

Gaining authorship status is a great way to differentiate yourself on the web, show that you are an authority on your subject and help with your website SEO. Remember that click-through-rates are significantly higher for authorship results than the surrounding plain text versions.

If you would like more information about Google authorship and how to use it to enhance your SEO and general status in Google’s search results, please call the Dental Media team on 01332 672548 for a more detailed discussion.