It has been a little over a year and a half since Google announced its initiative to begin supporting Authorship markup in the search results. This search engine feature uses rich snippets to match individual authors to their content pages. We predict that this feature will be a determining factor in SEO in the coming years (more to come on that soon). If you hope to remain competitive in 2013 (and prepare yourself for the future), here are five reasons why you should be implementing this system immediately.
1. Instant Visibility
Attach your name and photo to your listings and demand attention!
When we search Google for how to get those tile floors sparkling new, we immediately see Tim Carter’s blog from the Washington Post. The eye is instantly drawn to the first listing.
Even if a listing is the third down the page, if no other listing used authorship markup, we immediately look at the one with Authorship markup and ignore the anonymous listings.
Most people take one to three seconds to decide on a search engine listing. Of course title and subject matter still do matter, but when you make use of authorship markup, your posts stand out and sometimes that’s all you need to entice the click.
2. Build Trust and Authority
For years, webmasters have struggled to keep their content out of the hands of illegal content scrapers. Google’s solution is the Rel=”Author” attribute, which connects an author’s content to their Google+ account. This not only verifies that the content is written by the author in question, but it also provides search engine users with even more valuable information.
With Authorship markup, we see Christine’s photo (pulled from her Google+ account), her name and the number of Google+ circles she possesses, thus revealing her social popularity.
We expect to see all the major brands using the Rel=”Author” markup this year. About.com is one example of a brand that is making heavy use of Authorship markup.
Major publishers are using Authorship markup to stand out – Don’t get left behind!
Even though many big name brands may be using Authorship markup to stand out on search results pages, there is still time to implement the feature on your own listings. Another benefit to using the Rel=”Author” markup is that it’s a game changer. The big brands can no longer merely rely on their names to garner more clicks. Your blog will be on even keel, especially if you can manage to earn more social popularity or have a bigger portfolio under your belt.
Authorship markup helps to show search users exactly how busy you’ve been, which also helps with credibility.
3. Showcase Your Portfolio
Your readers can now find more of your work to read by clicking on the ‘More by’ link, right under the title in the search results.
When users click on that link, they will be whisked away to your personal author page, which includes your photo and bio, as well as all of the other articles and pages connected to your account.
This can increase your visibility as an author, establish yourself as an even greater authority and it will also help with the traffic to your site.
As an added benefit of connecting your blogs to your Google+ account, you can increase your circles by adding those individuals who read your articles to your G+ profile.
Of course, the very purpose of using Authorship markup in the first place is to increase our clicks. Which brings us to our next point.
4. Increase CTR
Why do we want our listings to stand out amongst the rest? To entice the click, of course. Studies have already shown that Authorship markup increases CTR when implemented correctly.
Take Cyrus Shepard of SEOMoz, for instance. He managed to implement the markup feature and experienced a 35% increase in his click-through rates.
And according to a recent search behavior study, implementing Authorship markup into your current campaigns can increase click-through rates (CTR) by up to 150%!
5. Authorship Markup – The Future of Google Search
As we delve deeper into 2013, expect to see more author photos and bios attached to the search listings as more brands adopt this innovative feature. You can also expect Google+ to play a much larger role in search rankings. Implement Authorship markup, keep your Google+ account optimized and updated regularly and you will be a force to be reckoned with in the search engine results pages.
Your goal after that point is to grow your list of followers, readership and Google+ circles, and to garner more links. As Google continues to develop its proprietary social network, look for it to be a determining factor in the future of SEO.
If you don’t use Authorship markup now, we foresee a future where nondescript listings like yours fall by the wayside, devoid of clicks or attention.
We recommend that you take the time to implement this system, which is laid out beautifully in Rick DeJarnette’s post on Search Engine Land. It only takes a moment, but putting Authorship markup in place is crucial if you hope to remain competitive in search in the coming years.
Once you believe that you have this setup correctly, head over to Google’s markup testing tool, here, and verify that everything looks correct as seen below. Look for the green verified notification.