Google+ profiles are getting increasingly important for online authors who want to improve their search engine rankings. Google plans on clumping author works together so when users search for pieces written by the author, pictures and profile links are also displayed directly into the search results. The intent is to make searching easier for users and create a sense of legitimacy for the author. The coding is referred to as authorship markup and uses older, simple HTML5 techniques.
Authorship Markup & Rel=Author
Recently, Matt Cutts and Othar Hansson from Google created a video on how authors can utilize the new authorship markup effectively. In the video, they explain the process can be as simple as adding a few words of code and placing a link to the author’s Google+ profile. The service functions using the rel attribute in links that indicate page relationships, a code that has been used for many years.
The HTML5 rel attribute helps with Google search result ratings by collecting author details while leaving some control for the individual author. Because the service is added manually, it is easy to opt in and opt out of the service; however, there are many benefits to using the service other than better rankings. The service helps users to find many of the author’s works at once and help the author to establish online credibility. The service also helps people to find more trustworthy websites to gather information from, rather than having users blindly search for what they need.
Google specifically designed the service to work using old HTML coding rather than creating new codes. This made implementing the code an easier task for both web publishers and Google. Authors with little basic knowledge of website coding can use familiar techniques to use the new benefits. WordPress plug-ins as well as online instructions and tutorials can be found in Google’s help section should any errors or confusion arise.
Setting the service up manually is a fairly simple process. In the article or blog post create a link to the Google+ profile page belonging to the author and add the attribute rel=author into the HTML code for the link. Add this to every page on the blog to establish an author profile. This establishes the work as belonging to that particular Google+ profile. Many authors have found success in adding this link to header and footer sections of each page because the code for those sections tend to stay the same from page to page on the author’s website. Another excellent place to add the link is in a “written by” tag that credits the author, which is usually found after the title of the post.
Matt Cutts Explains Authorship & Rel=Author
Multiple Author Blogs can use same method by just adding a link to bottom of post, rather than in the coding for the page. Several major journalist websites, such as CNET and The New York Times have already implemented this into their existing posts. The strategy so far has shown promising results, which is why Google is encouraging individual authors and bloggers to follow suit.
Some authors already have written “about me” or profile pages for their blogs. This section can also be linked using the new Google service using a similar method. The rel=author tag in the post will link to the Google profile and then a rel=me attribute will be added on the bio page when it links to Google. This way the bio appears in the search results when a user searches for the author’s name.
As a security measure, the author will have to approve the link in their Google+ profile. The method to doing that takes less than a minute. Go to the “Profiles Editor” in the Google account and click “Edit Your Profile.” There will be an option to approve or disapprove the link, which will cut down on impersonations.
The changes will mostly focus on author photos found on their Google+ profile pages. The only downside is that many authors will be required to make Google+ profiles in order to take advantage of this tool.