Gain More Authority Online, One Blog At A Time Using Google’s Authorship Markup

Who doesn’t want recognition for their work? Most everyone does, right? Surprisingly, there are a number of bloggers who are still toiling away and have not implemented this simple tool that can have a big impact. So what is this tool, you ask? Well, if you’ve ever looked through the search engine results and noticed the writer’s images next to their article, then you already know what we’re talking about. It’s called Google’s ‘Authorship Markup’ and all it takes is a Google+ profile and a snippet of code. If you are a contributor and want to implement Google Authorship Markup, here’s how. for a blog or website, Authorship is a must! Not only can it help your visibility as an author, but can increase traffic to the website(s) you contribute to.

3 Reasons You Need to Implement Rel=Author Today

Ranking Visibility

There’s no doubt that establishing your authority and influence online is important and Authorship Markup allows you to do so. However, lately, there’s been speculation as to how important it really is in terms of Author Rank. After excerpts from “The New Digital Age”, an upcoming book by Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, had been released there has been contention about Authorship Markup’s role in the algorithm.

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be the irrelevance.”

Despite the speculation (and perhaps slight overreaction), there isn’t any evidence that Google is currently or will ever use Author Rank to this extreme. Regardless – establishing your Authorship is nonetheless important. And that’s not to say there aren’t ranking perks, since Authorship Markup may contribute to your articles appearing higher in the search results for people who are logged into Google or have a Google+ profile. Plus, it’s much easier for searchers to identify you, and find your other work through Google+ when you have Authorship enabled.

Brand Recognition

If you’re a writer, naturally you want recognition for your work. With Google Authorship, you are able to associate your published content with your Google+ profile, allowing your name and image to show up in search results for your content pieces. Another perk is the “More” link, which features a link to more of your work, so searchers can easily find more of you. Since the Authorship tag is linked to your Google+ profile, it’s also a great way to continually build your community and following, which also has its own ranking benefit. Keep in mind that the more content you write, the more chances you have to show your face across the search engine results – and while you’re soaking up the limelight, the website you contribute to may be enjoying the increased click-through rate on your articles.

Click Through Rate

Since images are almost always more interesting than plain text, the Google Author rich snippets get a much higher click-through rate than regular articles without Google Author. Some companies have even reported click-through increases up to 150%! Look at the results below, and decide which one you would feel more compelled to click.


You’re more drawn to the result with the image, right? People are naturally inclined to choose the more visually appealing option. That’s also why it’s extremely important to have a good, clear headshot for your Google+ profile since that is what will be showing up in the search results. Just choosing the right picture can have a distinct effect, so choose wisely!

How To Establish Your Authorship on Google

If you are a contributor and want to implement Google Authorship Markup, here’s how. First, you’ll need a Google+ profile if you don’t already have one. Once you have a Google+ profile, you’ll need to link your Google+ profile to the content site by listing that you are a contributor for that site on your profile.

1. Linking Google+ to Your Content Website:

In the About section of your Google+ profile, find the links section and add the URL for the website(s) you contribute to.


2. Linking Your Content back to Google+:

Here’s where the rel=author tag comes into play. If you don’t have a signature or “about author” section for your blogs, now is the time to make one. Include this link near your Byline on each of your blog posts. The link text is Google+, so a good example would be ‘Connect with Erica on Google+’

Add this code snippet to each of your content pages.
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/111111111111111111111?rel=author”>Google+</a>

Make sure to replace the 1’s with your personal Google+ profile ID, which you can find in the URL when you are on your own profile page. That’s it! Now, to ensure that your rel=author tags are working properly, you test them with Google’s Rich Snippet validator tool


It could take some time to begin showing up in the search results, but be patient and eventually, you’ll begin to see your image when you search for your content pages. Keep in mind that while implementing Authorship Markup can help increase your visibility and click-through rates, the most important factor is creating awesome content that your audience will love. In the end, that’s what will really help you stand out.
Have questions about Google’s Authorship Markup or how to implement it? Contact Titan Growth, your local SEO agency and we’d be happy to help.

Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth

Forget Link Building. Think Link Earning!

Earning Links is the Way to Go!

Webmasters and SEOs have had a rocky year trying to navigate Google’s frequent changes, especially in regard to link building. While link building remains an important SEO factor and is still weighted heavily in the algorithm, the process for obtaining links has changed dramatically. Today, it’s all about natural links, and natural links must be earned, well, naturally. That’s right, no more shortcuts! We’re here today to show you how to earn natural links to your website, while also engaging your audience. How you ask? By creating original content.

The Power of Original Content

Content is king. Yes, the phrase is highly cliché, but it carries a lot of truth. It serves as a reminder not to underestimate the power of original content, especially when it comes to building natural link building. Interesting, timely or informative content can go a long way, and there are several types of content that you should consider incorporating into your earning links strategy.

Website Content

This is one of the most obvious places that you can showcase original content, yet many websites still struggle to do it well. Think of your website as an avenue to assert your business as an industry leader and provide industry-relative content that other websites might want to link to. Write content that offers something to readers, and they will feel compelled to link to it.

SEO Quick Tip: Create a natural internal link structure on your website, using links that lead users to the areas of your site that they might be interested in linking to.

Blogs

Blogs have been, and still remain a great way to get people engaged with your content, generate awareness around a topic and create organic links back to your website. The average company blogs about one to two times per week, but the more you blog, the more reach your content will have. However, if your blogs aren’t worthwhile or interesting, it doesn’t matter how many times you blog, because people won’t link to them. For best practice when writing blogs, think both consistency AND quality.

SEO Quick Tip: Always create a blog under your own domain, so that link credit will be applied to your URL.

Memes

Memes play off people’s natural inclination to share funny and topical information. A good meme can go viral, but it requires a company who is not only quick on their feet, but also witty, to deliver a meme that will really pack a punch. If you see an opportunity to play on a trend or event, without compromising your brand’s image, go for it! (Look to  Oreo for a job well done)

SEO Quick Tip: Host a meme on one of your WebPages, or on your blog to receive link credit. Also, Pinterest is another great place to post your memes for sharability and link credit back to your website.

Tools

Percent calculators, BMI calculators, analytics tools and calorie counters are all great examples of free tools that websites have built to generate more links and traffic to their website. Sure, they may require a little more investment and development, but they can result in a tremendous amount of backlinks if people find your tool useful.

SEO Quick Tip: Incorporate keyword rich (NOT keyword stuffed) content onto the tool page, so your tool will be associated with your overall keyword theme

Ensure Your Content’s Success

Think Like a Consumer

Upon reviewing your content, ask yourself, would you share this? Really, there is no point in creating content that you yourself wouldn’t consider sharing. Ask yourself what is interesting, different or informative about it. What value does it brings to your audience? Don’t just distribute content for the sake of appearing active, create content with the motive that you want it to be shared, not simply passed over. Remember, the idea behind creating this original content is to obtain natural links from people who found your content compelling enough to link to.

Use Social Media to Propel Your Content

Social media is a powerful distribution tool so use it to your advantage. Share the links to your blogs, articles or tools across your social channels. Make sure to give the content you post some thought as well, to prompt people to click your links and go to your site to read the full blog. You’ll want to write something catchy that gives a brief overview of what the viewer will see once they click the link. Ask your employees, co-workers or friends (nicely, of course) to share your links as well as to help generate more reach for your content.

While link building strategies come and go, natural links will likely never go out of style. Create content with your audience in mind, content that you yourself would go out of your way to share, and you can’t go wrong. Natural link building is the worry-free way to boost your rankings, in a way that both the search engines and your audience will thank you. If you have any questions regarding link penalties, how to build links organically, or how to create the type of content that results in valuable links, contact your SEO Agency or reach out to Titan Growth for a complimentary evaluation.

Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth

The Road To Resubmission: Getting Reconsidered After A Google Penalty

Are you experiencing traffic losses or a decrease in rankings? You may have suffered a manual penalty. Here’s what to do and how to recover.

With up to 5,000 reconsideration requests per week, you can imagine that Google isn’t being too frugal with their manual penalties. Even if you have managed to escape the algorithm updates, your site still may receive a manual penalty if it doesn’t adhere to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Suspect your site has been hit? Here’s how to know for sure and more importantly, how to recover.

Have you been hit?

If you see a drop in traffic, a decrease in your website’s performance, or notice that your website isn’t coming up in the search results at all, it indicates that you may have been slapped with a manual penalty. Unless you’ve received a notice from Google itself, the next step is to check the Manual Action page in your Webmaster Tools account to confirm a penalty.

If you do have a penalty, Google will list whether the penalty affects the entire site (site-wide matches) or just specific URLs (partial matches), along with reasons that you may have received the penalty.

Identifying the issue

If the manual action is listed, you have a pretty good idea of where to dive in and begin fixing. If not, you’ll have to do a site audit and look for anything that doesn’t follow Google’s quality standards. Some of the most common things to look for are:

Unnatural links to your website

What to look for: If you’ve engaged in buying links or exchanging links, it’s very likely this could be the reason you’ve been penalized. Use Webmaster Tools to download a list of links that point to your website and review them for quality. You’ll want to look for spam sites that are linking to yours and also look at the anchor text of the backlink to see if it is natural.

How to fix it: Make a list of the links that violate Google’s guidelines and contact the webmaster asking to have the link removed, or a rel=”nofollow” tag added to the link so that it does not pass PageRank. For any spam links that you cannot get removed, you can use the Disavow Tool in Webmaster Tools. However, use the Disavow Tool only as your last resort and be careful when disavowing links to be sure you don’t accidentally disavow quality links that are actually helping your rankings.

Unnatural links from your website

What to look for: Unnatural links from your website can also result from link purchasing, link exchanges or distributing content containing backlinks at mass scales. Comb through your website for links that have been purchased, are involved in a link exchange or have been distributed at large scales in articles or press releases.

How to fix it: Once you’ve identified links that violate quality guidelines, you can either remove the links from your website completely or use the rel=”nofollow” tag to the links.

Hidden text or keyword stuffing

What to look for: To look for hidden text, you can select all text on each page to look for any text that is the same color as the background. You can also Fetch as Google to look for any content that is visible to the search engines, but not to users. To identify keyword stuffing, check your title tags, meta descriptions and content for excessive use of repetitive keyword phrases.

How to fix it: If you find any hidden text within your website, remove it, or make sure that is visible so that users can see it as well. Remove any excessive keyword phrases and aim to create content that sounds and is visible for users who view your website.

Thin content

What to look for: If you have very minimal content on a page, or content that is not valuable to users (like duplicate or automatically generated content) this could be grounds for a penalty. You can look for duplicate content across the web with a tool like Copyscape.

How to fix it: Every page on your website should have valuable and original content that is useful to users. Any pages that have very little to offer, should have the rel=”noindex” tag added to them, so that they will not be indexed in the search results. Sometimes you can’t avoid having very similar pages. Say for instance, you sell a certain T-shirt and it comes in several colors, each color having a separate page. If that’s the case, you should use the rel=”canonical” tag to identify the authoritative page.

The road to resubmission

Once you have identified the issue, make a detailed account of all of the actions you’re taking to resolve it. Show Google exactly which links you’ve removed, what content you’ve added or which tags you’ve implemented. The more detailed you can be, the better. Once you’ve thoroughly looked through your website and taken care of any issues that violate the guidelines, you can request reconsideration for your website.

After Google has reviewed your website, you will receive a message in your Webmaster Tools account. If you have resolved the issue and your site is no longer in violation of the guidelines, the penalty will be revoked. If they’re still seeing an issue, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and conduct a deeper analysis of your website. The road to resubmission can be a rocky one, but cleaning up your site will benefit you in the long run, creating a better experience for you, your users and the search engines.

If you believe your site has a manual penalty and aren’t sure which steps to take, contact us for a free evaluation of your website.

Submitted by Erica Machin, Titan Growth