It’s no secret that Google Authorship is changing the web. Google is already using it as a factor in their rankings and it’s only going to get more influential. To put it simply, Google Authorship is not going away so we need to learn how to adapt and take advantage of it.
If you are not familiar with Google Authorship, you’ve probably at least seen it in action. When you search on Google you may have seen results with pictures next to them like below:
These results are people who have created a Google+ account and verified with Google that they are the author of that article appearing in the search result. Once Google sees that you are regularly contributing quality content to the web and that people are enjoying what you read (by sharing, +1’s, adding you to their “Circles”, etc.) they consider you to be an authority on that subject. The more social activity you and your articles get, the more of an authority you become. Users are going to have a higher tendency of clicking those results with a picture, even if they rank under results with no picture. So you can see the power Google Authorship can have in your SEO efforts. For a more detailed analysis on Google Authorship, Mike Arnesen wrote an amazing post found on SEOmoz.
Rich Snippets Testing Tool
This is a great feature found in Google’s Webmaster Tools. Under the “Other Resources” button you will find the “Rich Snippets Testing Tool”. Sometimes we link our Google+ accounts with an article we published but our picture doesn’t show up in Google. To verify that your rel=author tag is working, type in the address of the article you linked your Google+ profile to.
As you see, Google recognizes that my authorship is correctly linked to my article. If you don’t see a verification it can mean one of three things:
1) You haven’t yet linked to your article from your Google+ profile in the “Contributor” section.
2) The rel=author tag on the article page isn't coded correctly.
3) If you verified by using your email address with the corresponding domain (e.g firstname.lastname@example.org to prove I’m officially affiliated with the 97th Floor Blog) you need to give Google more time to crawl your page and make the connection. Remember that the snippets tool only crawls the code ON the page, not factoring in external connections.
Once you are a verified author, Google’s “Author Stats” comes in handy. This tool is found within Google’s Webmaster Tools. This tool is extremely valuable in your blog outreach campaigns. Located under the “Labs” button, Author Stats gives you analytics on how your verified articles are performing in Google’s search engine. Keep in mind that Author Stats is part of Google Labs, which means it’s still under beta and could change anytime.
This author has 157 approved pages connected to his name and has appeared about 75,000 times in peoples search results. 2,500 out of that 75,000 actually clicked on the authors articles. You can see how Google breaks down each article showing various metrics like the # of clicks, CTR and where in the rankings that article shows up on average.
So how can we take this data and make it valuable? There are two main things that stand out to me. First thing we can see is which of our guest posts are performing well. In this example the post getting the most clicks is the article hosted on KissMetrics. The author can note that it is a successful site and it would be worth doing another post down the road with them.
The second thing to look at is the articles that are struggling. As you can see in the image, the average ranking for each article plays a huge role in how many impressions/clicks it gets. This can let us know which articles we can help out by pointing more links to it in order to strengthen it’s ranking.
These are only a couple things to pull from Author Stats. Google Webmasters is a great tool and will only get better and more accurate as Google Authorship grows. We no longer have to post a guest blog and wonder how it is performing, now we have that data in our own hands.