In a Time When Authors Rule the Web

About a year and a half ago I warned bloggers and content creators to take author markup and authority and Google+ seriously.

Google was making under the hood noise about attaching authority to content published by individuals based on a variety of factors.

I advised bloggers to follow Google’s instruction to link their blog posts and about us pages to their Google+ profile in order that Google might start enhancing search results with goodies like profile pictures as below.

Here’s a tutorial on how to get author markup added using one of my favorite plugins.

And in this tutorial Brian Gardner explains how to add author markeup in the Genesis framework (the theme used on this site.)

By asking authors to add the attribute rel=”author” to their content Google was creating a way to beat spammers and duplicate content to a degree by attaching the real author to the original content.

author authority

Google adds images and social data taken from Google+ to search results with author markup

Now I ask you – when doing a search, which result are you drawn to – the first one or the one with a friendly looking, smiley guy next to it?

This fact alone makes taking the time to add the required elements a no-brainer.

More recently Google has admitted that they are testing author authority in a much bigger way and actually choosing content to index based on this ranking.

Author authority is, like most things Google, a bit of a mystery, but you can bet that content that is found, shared and +1’d in Google+ is helping an author’s authority. This dollop  of search fairy dust is why you cannot ignore Google+ or rel=author attributes.

If that weren’t enough Google is also allowing you to tell them where you contribute content. Think about that one for a bit. Now that brilliant post you submitted to Mashable, Huff Post or Social Media Examiner is going add to your author authority in some meaningful way perhaps.


Edit your Google+ profile with sites you contribute to

By creating an authority ranking of sorts Google is creating another way to beat link spam and assign authority and importance to all manner of things left about the web such as comments, Quora answers, and Retweets.

So now we have an entirely new networking landscape. Instead of simply networking for links, we’ll have to get good at identifying and networking for author authority.

But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself – first things first, it’s time to go to work on your own author authority.

  1. Get your content linked to your Google+ profile
  2. Optimize your Google+ profile with links to your articles
  3. Get to work creating and sharing great content
  4. Build your Google+ engagement and following
  5. Hmm, I wonder if a Wikipedia page would help?
  6. Make a list of potential sites/publications to submit guest posts

You can also start the process of signing up for Google Authorship here.

Plenty of authors and SEO types are covering this top these days and you would do yourself a favor to start your research with these two pieces from Copyblogger. Brian Clark on why you need to get on Google+ and 64 Google+ Content Strategies.

Join Our Content Community

First Name

Last Name

Your Email (this will be your username)

Password (at least 8 characters, 1 number, 1 upper and lowercase letter)

Already a member? Log In

  • Mark

    Good advice, John. Google+ is next up on my expansion radar & your article has certainly underscored the importance and value. Thx!

    • ducttape

      Good deal Mark

  • Repeat Customer

    Great Advice! Thanks John.

  • Mary-Lynn Foster

    Hi John, how does this work if there are 2 authors, for example my husband and I are both authors for content of our site. Can we both claim authorship for the same site location?

    • Brian Clark

      Yep. If you’re using WordPress, you can add authorship for each site writer. With Genesis (what John mentioned), you can simply add a Google+ Profile link to the profile for each WordPress user. There are also some plugins that you can use.

  • Justin McClelland

    I’ve noticed a slight increase in traffic since I implemented authorship. You mentioned a wikipedia page though, it’s a mystery to me how to create one

    • ducttape

      It’s an art form almost – search around and you’ll find some folks that can do that for you – obviously the community doesn’t want what comes off as self promotion so you have to have a pretty good reason for having a page- such as a book or a patent or some notable accomplishment.

  • Sheetal Sharma

    Authorship is a great way to build credibility online, to link, tag and re-tweet your content.Now a days, with the growing threat of copy right issues, sensible authors have started creating their profiles online, i am fortunate to have one in my team of Synechron – Kulwinder Singh