Why rel=author is just as important as keywords
Let’s face it… for the past several years, Google has been the king of search engines.
If you are an author of any kind — blogger, writer, content developer web site maintainer, etc — you want what you write to have the best opportunity to show as close to the top when a person uses Google with a question that covers whatever you wrote.
While there are commercial (i.e. paid) search engine optimization (SEO) companies that might be able (there’s never a guarantee) have your work listed higher, there is something you can do yourself by taking advantage of the latest change at Google regarding authorship.
Google is currently testing content tied to authorship. You can read authorship in Google search engine results on the Google Support page dealing with this subject.
The set of tasks going through the process of making sure your site and blog home page uses rel=publisher, the posts and pages you write uses rel=author or rel=me; and that you’ve properly connected this to a Google plus profile where you’ve pointed out the locations (web site areas) for which work is being published under your authorship / name.
The Google plus side is easy. Per Google’s Help article covering the Google Plus Profile contributor to area, you simply sign into your Google plus profile, click on “Edit Profile”, and then click on “Contributor to” to add as many areas for which you contribute publishing as an author.
If you are using WordPress for your site and blogging activity, the rest of the steps are very simple thanks to the developers of the free AuthorSure plugin for WordPress. Russell and Liz do a fantastic job at supporting this plugin; and there are a lot of tutorials for using it at the main AuthorSure plugin web site.
Installing the plugin, going through the settings, updating the WordPress user (aka author) profiles including the “Extended Biographical Info” if you went with the extended summary can be done in less than fifteen minutes.
The end result is your site, blog home, and blog pages are now using the appropriate rel=publisher, rel=me, and rel=author settings; AND, what you write socially will now have a greater impact on where you rank in Google.
Now that you’ve heard the ending, let me share some background to why I wrote this article.
It started with asking a question in one of LinkedIn‘s WordPress groups, ” Question on Social media replacing SEO as Google makes search results personal http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/media-lab/social-media/159102/social-media-seo-google-makes-search-results-personal/“
I received the following answers from respected people in the know:
Tony Gilbert • I just published a new review on this issue (Social media and SEO) which might be a little more up to date. Not specific to WordPress but useful to all website owners. http://webuserinsights.com/2012/social-media-and-seo/
Sallie Goetsch • We just had a presentation about structured content at the East Bay WP Meetup yesterday, and it may be that this makes things like the rel=author tag and linking your WP site to your Google+ profile (for instance) more important. Of course you want to integrate your WP site with your social media presence anyway.
What we don’t know is whether this move on Google’s part is going to undermine Google as much as it does anyone else. What we do know is that abandoning websites and blogs in favor of social media would be a really bad idea. (You don’t want other people to have complete control over your content.).
I did verify what was being said and written with my own tests; and at least for now, properly using Google Plus authorship settings does make a very nice difference to how your articles are ranked.
In the days before this was published, Google Analytics Update Connects Social Marketing With The Bottom Line was just released. So yes, Google is tying it all together; be sure to get in the game by using the authorship tools available to you.
Contact us if you have any questions.
P.S. If you are a managed hosting customer, and want us to install and setup AuthorSure for you, just call or put in a support ticket; we will perform the work at no charge.