Let me say that I don’t really like Google + personally. I have been slow to adopt it in my personal life and truthfully rarely use it to share content I create. But in my day job as a digital marketer I have realized that Google+ isn’t really about social media, it’s about search results.
Let me put it to you this way, my audience isn’t on Google+, but they are on Google. Now we all use Google unless you live under a rock, or are a rebel and use Bing. How Google displays search results is IMPORTANT, and knowing how to rank higher than your competitors is even more important. Recently Google has decided to launch something called Authorship. Their goal is to connect content to real people.
So the next logical question is WHY would Google want to do this?! How complicated and un-internet of them! I thought I could be anonymous and write what I wanted! Well, you still can. You can CHOOSE to be anonymous, but as the head of Google said recently,
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
Google wants to force content creators to declare themselves publicly and then eventually they will give you a ‘trust’ score. You may never know your score, but this authorship score is designed to weed out spam and irrelevant results from their search results. If you have a trusted Google+ account, with activity, a profile, pictures and your content on your site is read, it becomes more relevant to Google when they decide who should rank highest. They say, ‘Well look here. This gelato recipe is well written, the author is Nathan Engels, who has a Google plus profile, and he is verified!” Then they look at another blog and say, ‘This blog has a well written post, it’s interesting, lots of keywords, but we don’t know who they are at all. We trust Nathan, so let’s rank his recipe higher than this one.’
Google has made it KNOWN they will begin to rank search results based on verified Google Plus accounts. So now that you know it’s important and you see that you absolutely need a PERSONAL Google Plus account, let’s get started connecting your personal account to the blog.
The goal of this post is to get your blog connected to your Google Plus account, so that your Google plus profile and picture will show up in search results along with the post title and description, like the one pictured. I am assuming that you already have set up a personal Google plus account, if you haven’t do that before you start.
Step 1: Find your Personal Google Profile LINK. This is simple to find, simple go to your Google Plus profile page, click on the profile tab, and then copy the URL. You’ll want to remove the /posts also.
Step 2: Now visit your WordPress blog’s dashboard. You’ll want to find the users tab. Scroll down to the user you would like to select (if you have multiple users), click into that user and then locate the ‘Contact’ section.
Now add paste your google plus URL into this section. I use Genesis for all my blogs, which is EXCELLENT, because it will immediately take what is pasted into that field and code it into my site’s HTML. Not all themes do that. (Another reason to buy Genesis for WordPress LOL) Another important thing to note, if you have multiple contributors, you can set each of them up!! That will give your blog the added benefit of multiple author ranks.
Step 3: The next step to connect your Google+ account to your blog. So let’s head to Google+. First click on the profile tab again. Then find the ‘About’ tab, which is currently under your profile picture. Once you are in that tab, scroll down until you see the “Links” Section. Go ahead and add your blog to the “Contributor to” section. I also added other social media channels, the “Other profiles” section.
Step 4: Let’s verify it worked! The good thing about Google’s Authorship is that we can TEST IT!! It’s called the Structured Data Testing Tool. Make sure to NOT test your main domain, but a post you wrote. As you can see in my example, my test was successful!
Authorship is going to be important and if you are a blogger, you WANT to do this. You will rank higher and not have to compete as hard against spammy sites that have no valuable content, but know how to manipulate Google into ranking them higher than you.
I sincerely hope this post helps you out! It is always fun when my day job and night job overlap. Digital marketers and SEO’s know that Google+ will have a massive impact on search results, but the publishing world, bloggers in particular, have been slow to embrace Google+. Let me know if you have questions! Leave a comment so others benefit.