This post was first published on Stephen Waddington’s blog, Two-Way Street.
Suddenly it has all become very clear. Google+ isn’t just another social network. It’s an online identity card that sits at the core of recent changes to Google’s search algorithm.
If you’re concerned about your online profile you need to head over to the latest social network on the block, grab a profile and start building a network sharpish.
Google search results are personalised by default according to socials signals from your Google+ network. It delivers relevant content, quicker than anonymous search queries.
But it’s the combination of Google+, and Google Author Rank, rolled out in the last month that is really powerful.
Author Rank marks-up content in search results with an image of its author. It is intended to reduce spam results and promote authoritative content. The early signs are that this improves click rates. It’s human nature that we’re more likely to click on content from a real person, particularly if they are a recognised source.
Implementing Author Rank
Here’s how to sign-up to Author Rank and ensure that your content is identifiable in search results
- If you haven’t done so already create a Google+ account and populate the profile. Add a biography, a head and shoulder shot and link out to your other social profile and sites where you post content.
- Start to use Google+ to share content. This should be unique and should not be an automated feed from one of your other social networks. Guy Kawasaki’s book What the Plus! is an excellent primer on Google+.
- You need to need to link content that you post on the web to your Google+ account. This requires a degree of technical nous but fortunately there are plug-ins for the main blogging platforms. If you use WordPress like me I highly recommend the AuthorSure plug-in.
- Test the reciprocal links between your Google+ profile and blog content are correct by entering the URL of your content into the Google Rich Snippets Test Tool.
- Wait for Google to spider your blog. As soon as it does you’ll see search results returned with your profile.
- Ask any site where you contribute content if it has implemented Author Rank and how you tag your content so that it contributes to your rank.
Implications of Author Rank and Google+
Author Rank adds attribution to search results. Social signals provide a means of endorsement. The Panda and Penguin algorithm changes laid the ground work.
The opportunity is for organisations is to build authority through the online presence and personality of its employees. That’s public relations.
There is a very clear opportunity for organisations. They need to get their teams onto Google+, add Google+ sharing to their sites and start building relationships online.