Google Plus authorship and author rank are hot topics in the content marketing world. At last year’s Pubcon, Matt Cutts said that Google would be working towards authorship only for high quality authors (hear it here). This means that it isn’t just about the markup anymore – your author reputation must be high quality to count. In this post, we’re going to look at what it takes to build a quality authorship profile for yourself, and how to get writers with quality authorship profiles to write for your blog so you can have results like these in search.
Building a Quality Authorship Profile
As a content creator, you will want to build a strong, quality authorship profile. This means that your goal in 2014 is to pursue opportunities that allow you to place your content on the most authoritative sites within your industry. For people who want to be known as authorities in search engine optimization, the obvious choices would include Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, and Search Engine Journal. For people who want to be known as authorities in business, the obvious choices would include Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider.
Of course, if you’re just starting out, you won’t be able to get opportunities like those right away, unless you are connected with the right people. This is why you will need to start out on smaller sites and work your way up. The best plan is to develop quality content on your own blog to use as a portfolio when you start reaching out for guest blogging opportunities. As you add more writing credits to your portfolio, you can start reaching out to larger and more authoritative sites.
As you are building your author authority, make sure you are claiming authorship for your content. Not all blogs will have plugins installed that get the job done for you. You will need to follow instructions provided on ways to claim your Google plus authorship and if possible, link your profile to the content you create.
At bare minimum, this means you need to have an author bio on each piece of content that is published in your name, and that author bio needs to have a link back to your Google+ profile with ?rel=author appended to your link. Then, within your Google+ profile, you need to have a link back to your author page for those sites in the Contributor section of your links.
Also, don’t forget that social signals play a part in helping alert Google to quality content. This means that you want your posts to get social shares – likes, tweets, and +1′s – from other authoritative people. Buying social shares will not help you build authority as Google’s algorithm will eventually be able to sniff out posts that are shared by real people with real followings vs. automated bot profiles.
Getting Authority Authors for Your Blog
As a blog owner, one way to make sure your posts gets a lot of clicks from search is to have authoritative authors linked to them. This means that in addition to yourself, you may want to consider inviting writers with strong Google+ authority to write on your blog.
How can you find people with strong authorship? You can do it in a number of ways. The easiest is by looking up blogs that cover similar topics to yours in Google using the following search.
This will allow you to find posts from a particular blog about a particular topic. As you scroll through search results, look at the results with a photo and name next to them. Those are writers whose Google+ authorship is definitely working within your niche. Note that not all Google+ authorship in Google search results have a photo next to the post – some authors are identified with a byline beneath the post link and description that shows their name and the number of circles they are in.
Once you’ve identified several strong writers, reach out to them to see if they would be interested in writing for your blog. You’ll need to be to the point in your email – let them know you saw their post about a particular topic on that particular site, and that you are interested in them contributing similar content to your site. Follow this by adding details about your blog that would get someone exciting to write for it including traffic stats, other popular authors who have contributed, and similar information.
Writers who are guest bloggers looking to gain more exposure in your industry are likely to oblige for free. Freelance writers, on the other hand, will most likely charge a fee for each post based on their experience and authority.
Ensuring Authors Claim Google Plus Authorship for Their Posts on Your Blog
As you build a strong base of writers for your blog, it is crucial that you make sure each writer is claiming Google+ authorship for the content they contribute to your blog. The easiest way to ensure this is to include very specific directions to your writers. Let them know where to add a link to their Google+ profile (or manually add it for them), let them know what their author page URL is on your site, and then let them know where to add it in their Google+ profile.
There’s a good chance that if you found the writer based on their Google+ authorship in search results that they already know how to do this. It never hurts to follow up to make sure it happens. While it’s hard to force a guest blogger to do it, if you are paying a writer based on their authorship, you can certainly request they do it as part of their service.
How do you get the most out of Google+ authorship for yourself and your blog?