June 14th, 2012
Authorship is an issue that has, over the last few weeks, become close to my heart. One of the first projects I worked on with Movable Media was creating a page on Authorship Markup. I was thus excited to see that even in the few weeks since I was introduced to it, Google has further streamlined this project (for an example of how convoluted it was previously, check out this youtube video by Othar Hansson).
Let’s talk for a moment about rich text snippets. Rich text snippets are an improvement on the default snippets users see when they search for content in Google Search. When you see a result with a picture, that’s a rich text snippet.
These are valuable ways to drive traffic, and authorship markup is the mechanism by which these snippets appear.
TechCrunch has just released a post on the newest development in the authorship initiative. Rip Empson writes about why authorship is important, who benefits, and how it’s done. I’ll quote directly from the article here:
“There are a whole mess of reasons why Google Authorship is important. For starters, it lets those who create the web’s content claim that content and make it their own, adding their name and image next to the byline of their articles, blogs, etc.”
Google then has the ability to differentiate the content creators who are providing great content, who are knowledgeable and trustworthy in their field, and whose results will be useful to searchers. These benefits have led Google to be more and more aggressive in its push for author rank above traditional search algorithms. One of the problems the initiative has faced, however, is its complexity. Between the difficulties of coding authorship markup into your site, to the largely manual process of verifying that the codes are working, only a limited number of interested parties—and they’d have to be very interested to go through all the necessary rigmarole—could benefit. According to Google’s recent press release, that’s finally starting to change. They’ve listened to all the bloggers, site administrators and influencers tearing their hair out trying to make author tags (such as rel=”author” or rel=”me”) work on their site, and are unveiling the newest in the improvements and revisions that have long been part of the authorship movement.
How do you add verification to your own site? First, you need a Google+ profile. Then, according to Tech Crunch, it’s easy as one-two-three.
1) Visit your Google+ page, open its profile, and click ‘Edit profile’
2) On the About tab, save your website URL, then click the new button, ‘Link website’
3) Follow the instructions for adding a short line of code to your website’s homepage, then click ‘Test website’
Your Google+ page itself now includes verifications of whether the coding is correct, and even adds a check mark after your rich text snippet is live in Google Search. The is a real improvement over the previous model, which called for obscure fumbling in the source code and running your website through a whole different page, Rich Snippets Testing Tool, on your own time.
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