Back in January 2012, search marketing firm Catalyst confirmed the classic SEO theory that rich snippet does indeed increase CTR and traffic.
Here’s what their analytics looked like:
That amounts to a 150% increase in visits and page views!
So, by implementing Google’s authorship markup and getting the rich snippet to show up for its content, Catalyst dramatically improved its performance in search engines.
If you don’t exactly know what I’m talking about, let me give you an example of what a rich snippet is and how it pertains to Google’s authorship markup.
Google the term “seo advice”, and notice one of the results you get:
What Danny Sullivan has done is he claimed his content, which in turn provided incredible benefits for him in the search engine rankings.
- The profile picture lends instant credibility.
- If you click the “by Danny Sullivan” link, you’ll get sent directly to his Google+ page.
- Click “More by Danny Sullivan”, and you’ll get a Google search page dedicated to all of Danny’s content.
Let me ask you question…
If you didn’t know who Danny Sullivan was, would you click on his link when you searched for “seo advice”? Or some of the other links without this rich snippet…even if they were higher in ranking than his?
You probably said, “yes, I’d click on Danny’s link.” And this is what Catalyst did to get that 150% boost in CTR and traffic…and so can you!
But there’s a problem
I’m a somewhat techie guy, but ever since Google launched their authorship markup project, I’ve been scratching my head to figure out how to make it less confusing.
…and these guys all did a good job, but I’m still confused, which makes me think that most of other people are too.
So, here’s my attempt at writing a dummy-proof guide to getting your authorship markup up and running so you can start increasing click-throughs and traffic to your site.
Option one: Link your content to your Google+ profile
The first option for verifying you are the author behind your content on the web is to use a verified email address.
What do I mean by a verified email address? Two things:
- This email address must be from you website’s domain. In other words, if your content is on yourwebsite.com, then you need to use an email address like this: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- This email address must be verified in Google+ by Google. When you create a Google account, Google will send you a verification email to the email address you used. You must click that link to prove that you own that address.
A simple test to find out if your email address has been verified is to sign in to the Google accounts home page. There will be a message that tells you that you need to verify your email address.
You can also verify your email address by using OpenID. Just follow these steps:
- Use your Yahoo! Address to sign up for a Google+ account – This includes rocketmail.com or ymail.com addresses.
- Click “Verify by signing in at yahoo.com” – This will show up on the next page.
- Enter your Yahoo! email address and password – When the Yahoo! sign-in box appears, enter your information and click “Sign in.”
- Click “Agree” – When the screen asks you to allow Google to use your Yahoo! ID to share your info and to continue, click “Agree.”
That’ll give you access to Google+. You can then verify your email address.
Create a byline for each post on your website
Once you’ve verified your email address, your next step is to make sure that you have a byline on all of your articles or posts you want to appear with a rich snippet.
Here’s an example from Softpedia:
Using the Author Box Reloaded plugin is a simple way of creating bylines on your blog, but you’ll need to follow a few steps.
First, you’ll need to install the WordPress Plugin Framework Reloaded:
You won’t need to do anything with this plugin except to activate it. If you don’t install this plugin, however, Author Box Reloaded will not work.
In fact, it won’t even activate.
After you’ve installed WP Plugin Framework Reloaded, you can install Author Box Reloaded:
After that plugin is installed, go to your WP dashboard, click “Users” and “Author Box R3.” From there, you will have two choices.
If you want your byline to appear automatically at the end of every post, then click the box labeled “Auto insert.”
Your other choice is to align your picture on the right side of the text versus the left. And, by the way, make sure you’ve defined your photo on Gravatar.
Now you get to create your byline. Go to “Users,” and click on “Your Profile.”
Scroll down to the “Biographical info” text box and share some personal information.
Make sure that your byline includes a clear way of identifying you as the author of the content, e.g., “By [Your Name]” or “Author: [Your Name].”
Important: This name must match your name in your Google+ account.
I would take it a step further and add a link to your Google+ account in this byline, using this code:
After you’ve verified your email address and created your byline, your third step is to submit your email address to Google’s Authorship page:
An email will be sent to your inbox. Click the provided link in that email, and you’ll be done.
Submitting your email address this way will add it to your Google+ profile under the “Work” section, visibility of which you can control.
Your final step is to see what your rich snippet will look like on a Google search, using the rich snippet tool:
You should see these pieces of information:
Google is quick to point out that there is no guarantee that a rich snippet will show up on the search results.
However, keep in mind that you won’t see these results in Google search for anywhere between five to 14 days. It just depends on the time it takes for spiders to crawl your site. The rich snippet tool is to help you see what could potentially be pulled.
If something went wrong, then you will probably see results like this:
Even though this is pretty straightforward, there are a lot of steps to miss. So, if this is not working, then you will need to go back through email verification…or try option number 2.
Option 2: Set up authorship by linking your content to your Google+ profile
If you don’t have an email address that matches your web domain, then you’ll need to connect your Google+ profile with your content.
The theory behind this option is simple: whatever you write and wherever you write it should connect with your Google+ content…and vice versa.
That means you need to have a byline on all of your posts that point to your Google+ account. If you haven’t yet, go back and read again how to install the Author Box Reloaded plugin to create bylines across all of your content on that domain.
In that byline, you need to link to your Google+ account using this snippet of code:
Next, go into your Google+ account and link to your website.
- Go to Edit your Contributor To section in your Google+.
- Add a link to the website.
- Click “Save.”
To test to see if this worked, use the rich snippet testing tool. Again, it takes time for this to show up in search results, so be patient.
How to connect your guest posts with your rich snippet
If you are a prolific guest blogger, then you’ll definitely want your content to show up with a rich snippet too.
You might think this is a little tricky to do since it’s not really your site, but it’s actually not.
Let’s take a look.
For each guest post, you are required to write a byline. In that byline, all you need to do is link to your Google+ account using the rel=author code:
For instance, my guest post byline could look like this:
Here are some things I did with that byline I need to explain:
- “Neil Patel” is linked to my About page at QuickSprout. So is the link “QuickSprout.” Never link back to your site using your home page, otherwise you are missing out on link opportunities.
- “KISSmetrics” is sent to my company site.
- And “Google+” is using the rel=author code.
Next, from your Google+ account create a link back to the individual post where you were a guest poster.
As you can imagine, if you are a prolific guest poster, then your “Contributor To” section could get pretty long. You’ll have to weigh the benefits yourself if it is worth the effort.
There is no way getting around the fact that there are a lot of steps behind connecting your Google+ account to your web content so that you can get the boost in CTR.
But I believe if you take the time to go through these steps, you can have Google’s authorship markup implemented within five to ten minutes.
Sure, the results will take much longer, but I guarantee that you will not be disappointed with them!
Do you have any tips you can share on implementing the Google authorship markup?