If you and your business are outside of the digital marketing arena then it’s very likely you’ll find Google Plus a ghost town if you are looking to hook up with other similar Google+ users to you. However you can turn this vast sea of online emptiness to your competitive advantage when it comes to using G+ to boost your website’s rankings with the Google Author tag embedded on your site.
If you are a regular user of Google search (and who isn’t?) then you won’t have failed to notice that some results are showing a photo of the writer, associated with a particular piece of content alongside the snippet Google is using in the SERP’s. Something a bit like this:
Strangely (or not) you’ll find your eyes drifting towards the photo in the SERPs (created by use of the Google Author tag) and this can have a beneficial rate on clickthroughs to the site in question.
As you can see for the term “Pallet Racking Glossary” George Ives of Bristol Storage (specialists in warehouse pallet racking) took our advice and now his site sits 2nd on Google for this phrase. Ok that result is not too competitive, on an exact match basis there are only 1000 or so results so maybe not a huge traffic generator BUT I want you to notice that his result also shows “2 Days ago” – this is the day that he posted this content online and it already ranks second in Google organically. Not bad for a half day’s work don’t you think?
Let’s see if we can find another slightly more competitive example that Google indexes and ranks? Here we go – for Dexion Warehouse Storage the website DOMINATES the Serps, maybe not a top ranking but it has (with our added assistance) generated 3 organic listings on the 1st page.
There are a few ways to set up Google authorship markup but as I am writing this for small business users (i.e SME’s in the UK with very likely no more than one contributor to the website) I will stick with the really easy technique to set up Google Rel Author tags.
How to set up the Google Author Tag and boost your rankings:
Firstly you’ll need to set up a Google Plus account – if you are already running Gmail or a Google Analytics account then its just a case of navigating here:
Set up your profile – find me here https://plus.google.com/113192120143222162469 and add me to your circle (I promise I’ll add you back when you do this).
Add a decent photo of yourself – this is required for Google Authorship and I do not recommend you use your company brand or logo here if you want this technique to work for you.
In your profile you’ll also need to add details of the website(s) you contribute to like this (click on the field in YOUR profile that the arrow below in our graphic points to and then add your site):
Once this is set up then head over to your own website (for some of you this will require the help of your web developer) where you will add the Google author tag to your site pages (we recommend you add this markup to new and existing content in either your blog or News section).
Google initially used rel=”me” where you created an author page on your website, linked your blog article to that page and then linked your author page across to your Google Plus profile. A simple concept but one that easily confused non-techy peeps so it was changed to a less elaborate process – usually adding in a line at the end of your blog (or typically you’d find it in the author box at the end of a blog post – you *may* need a plugin to amend your WordPress authorbox):
<a href="https://plus.google.com/113192120143222162469?rel=author">Darren Moloney
</a> on Google Plus
Note the use of ?rel=author at the end of the link to your Google Plus profile, this can be easily missed. You must ensure the Google rel author tag is included for you to get your photo alongside your website listing in Google’s SERP’s.
Once this is complete you should be good to go with the Google Author tag markup – to check it is working we suggest searching Google for keyword phrases you have used in the article you created. A good tip is to look for the title tag keywords, especially if they are longtail, this should help show the results with your Google Plus image listed in the SERP’s).
Any questions let me know, finally don’t forget to post a Google +1 button alongside your article to ensure it gets shared.