By Steve Murphy
I’m going to take my chances and make a bold statement: People trust other people more than machines. We would all prefer to talk to the operator than go through a long, drawn out answering machine, and I certainly wouldn’t want a robot surgeon operating on my brain. These same principles apply in online marketing and SEO. As evidence, I’m basing my assumption on a few key criteria:
- The massive growth of social sharing over the past decade
- Google and Bing incorporating social validation in their results (“like” button, +1)
- I’ve seen Terminator way too many times
If you’ve been following online marketing the past few months, then you might already know this. But what you might not know is how to leverage your personal brand to increase the quality and rank of your content.
Enter AuthorRank. Google has created special author tags that let you claim your content and build your digital reputation. When you write a new blog post and share it on Google+, the search engine will be able to calculate your influence and reward you for creating high quality, shareable content. The better your content is, the more social clout you receive. In turn, Google rewards future content that you create with prominent search results and higher rankings. Below is an example:
As you can see from the image above, individuals who take advantage of these special author tags have an incredible visual advantage in search results. Searchers are greeted with a friendly profile image, a link to the author’s Google+ profile, and a link to view more articles. If this doesn’t give your content a clear-cut advantage over the clutter of blue links, you might have to consider finding another way to pay the bills.
How To Claim Your Profile
There are a few different ways to claim your name, with varying degrees of complexity. I’ll share with you the method I used, as I found it to be the least technical solution. If you’re interested in exploring the other options, feel free to check out the guide from Google here.
The first thing you need to do is create a Google+ profile. When building your profile, you have the option to include any blogs that you actively contribute to in the links section. Here, add any prominent blogs you write for so that Google can match content you’ve written to your name.
Secondly, you’ll need to link your content back to your Google+ profile. Many blogs allow you to have a custom author box that inserts automatically when you create a blog post. Simply add the following code into this box, and you’ll be set:
Replace the content in brackets with your Google+ profile link, and make sure you don’t accidentally delete the ?re=author tag from the end of the URL (hint: this is the most important part.) If your blog doesn’t give you the flexibility of an author’s box, you can just add this snippet of code to the end of all your posts.
Google author tags are not overly prominent yet, so getting your author tags to begin ranking early will give you a strong early mover advantage in the race for better search results. At the same time, it will assist you in building your personal brand online, and will build your credibility in the eyes of prospective customers.
If you need help setting up your author tags, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to assist you.