Will Google Authorship Finally Get You Some Respect?

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Rodney Dangerfield is not the only person who got no respect.

As a website and/or affiliate site owner, you count on being considered an authority in your niche field. However, unless you have some reason for already being famous in the offline world, you’re a nobody online. Regardless of your education or experience or even the massive thought pieces you’ve published online, being looked upon as someone who “knows his/her stuff” is rather bleak.

Luckily, Google has come up with a solution to this issue: It’s called Google Authorship. And here are three big reasons why you should consider getting on the Google Authorship train: Improved rank, higher traffic, and yes, authority. Let’s break down each one of these reasons below.

How Google Authorship can give you rank

First of all, let’s clarify what type of rank is being mentioned here. I’m not talking about Page Rank per se, although having highly ranked web pages can certainly raise your reputation as an author. No, I’m talking about something a bit more elusive: Author Rank.

Back in 2005, Google filed for an agent rank patent which involved the linking of agents to digital signatures and “assigning a score…wherein the score is based upon the content items associated with the first agent by the digital signatures.” Not much was done with this patent, however, possibly because a real method for identifying and tracking agents didn’t yet exist.

Then, in 2011, Google updated its agent rank patent, noting that agent-generated and digital signature-containing documents would be hosted on a designated site, regardless of where they originated from online. The designated site descriptor made it sound a lot like today’s Google+. Furthermore, digital signature-containing documents could be compared against other such documents and assigned a Quality Score (QS). Those documents having the highest QSs would achieve a higher rank.

Moving documents to a static platform and requiring that their authors identify themselves was a smart move because it helped create a system of transparency and accountability. Agents, or authors, could no longer hide behind spammy websites and fictitious names.

Thus, if you, as an author, had slowly but surely been creating useful content, you could now finally link all that quality content together and get the high author ranking you deserve. Because now, all those content pieces you had created would not live alone but together, through the network called Google+. Power in numbers- and of course, quality.

Google Authorship can generate traffic

Back when Google+ was first rolled out, many pundits downgraded the platform to a Twitter/Facebook wannabe that would soon die for lack of use and popularity. Little did they know that there was an altogether bigger reason for Google encouraging folks to set up their profiles on Google+, syndicate their content, and then garner as many +1s/shares/comments per post as possible.

When Google identifies a particular content piece as authoritative, it features it quite prominently on the SERP (search engine results page) and includes what’s known as a rich snippet beneath the link. For example, this snippet-containing search result appeared after I input the search term “calzone recipe” into Google:

calzone recipe

Snippets have been shown to dramatically increase content click-through rates– in some cases, by as much as 150%. And now, the rich snippet feature will be applied towards certain Google+ author profiles as well; the following search result appears when I search on “calzone fillings”:

calzone review

There’s another benefit to snippets; these little pieces of extra information not only describe you, the author, but they can also link to your Google+ profile. Readers that go to your profile can find out about your other recent postings and your best work (which you can link to on your About page). They can also also add you to their own Google+ circles. All these actions translate to more traffic to your content and website(s).

Google Authorship can improve your authority- but there’s a catch.

Google is desperately seeking out bloggers, writers, podcasters, etc. whom it can trust to be “the” go-to subject matter experts on various niche topics. However, such trust won’t come about overnight- and it certainly won’t result simply by signing up on Google+.  No, you will need to prove your worth first. How will that happen?

  • By producing quality content. If you link your websites and blogs to your Google+ account and regularly produce optimized and quality content on those sites, Google will sit up and take notice. Quality content is the end result when you generate in-depth pillar articles, product reviews, instructional webinars, etc. It can also result from you taking a controversial view of a subject matter and/or bringing up topics that no one’s considered before. In essence, by not stating the obvious and by going into great detail about your subject matter, you’ll start garnering Google’s respect for you.
  • By engaging with others. Those Google+ circles exist for a reason: to help you engage with others. These others can include your family and friends but can also consist of key influencers. Much like on Twitter, catching the attention of key influencers can be tricky but well worth it in terms of traffic and subscribers- not to mention your own increased influence. Even if you don’t immediately win those heavy hitters, adding other contributors to your circles and engaging in Google+ communities, leaving helpful comments, re-posting content, etc. will get you noticed- and respected.
  • By posting your content elsewhere and often. Guest blogging isn’t dead- as long as you’re still producing guest posts for audiences and not just for links. Produce great content, get chummy with key influencers- and pretty soon you’ll be guest posting on highly ranked websites that will result in added traffic and influence for you. Posting often is also important; after all, having 100 quality pieces on the subject of calzones is far more authoritative than having just two or three. So get crackin’.

In Summary

Google+ is quickly changing from being just another social network to a powerhouse ranking tool for authors. Such a change means additional traffic, conversions and authority for those authors who know how to best take advantage of Google+ today. Will you become a highly ranked Google+ author- and finally get the respect that you deserve?

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