For some time now, I’ve advised bloggers and content creators to take author markup and authority and Google+ seriously. Google has officially announced author authority as a way to verify and rank content based on a variety of factors. If you haven’t created a profile, now is the time to follow Google’s instruction to link your blog posts and "about us" pages to your Google+ profile so Google can start enhancing search results with goodies like profile pictures.
Here's an immediate action plan:
- Get your content linked to your Google+ profile
- Optimize your Google+ profile with links to your articles
- Get to work creating and sharing great content
- Build your Google+ engagement and following
- Hmm, I wonder if a Wikipedia page would help?
- Make a list of potential sites/publications to submit guest posts
You can also start the process of signing up for Google Authorship, and watch a helpful tutorial on how to add author markup using one of my favorite plugins. In this tutorial, Brian Gardner explains how to add author markup in the Genesis framework (the theme used on my site).
Keep Your Reputation GlowingBy asking authors to add the attribute rel=”author” to their content, Google is creating a way to beat spammers and duplicate content by attaching the real author to the original content. I encourage you to test it out—try doing a search. Now, when doing a search, which result are you drawn to: the first one on a page or the one with a friendly looking, smiley person next to it? This fact alone makes taking the time to add the required elements a no-brainer.
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More recently, Google has admitted that it is testing author authority in a much bigger way and actually choosing content to index based on this ranking. Author authority is (like most things Google) a bit of a mystery, but you can bet that content that is found, shared and +1’d in Google+ is helping an author’s authority. This dollop of search fairy dust is why you cannot ignore Google+ or rel=author attributes.
Climbing the Search LadderIf that weren’t enough, Google is also allowing you to tell it where you contribute content. Think about that one for a bit. Now that brilliant post you submitted to Mashable, HuffPost or Social Media Examiner is going to add to your author authority in some meaningful way perhaps.
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By creating an authority ranking of sorts, Google is creating another way to beat link spam and assign authority and importance to all manner of things left about the Web, such as comments, Quora answers and retweets.
So now we have an entirely new networking landscape. Instead of simply networking for links, we’ll have to get good at identifying and networking for author authority.
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