How Smart Authors Use Google+

by David · 4 comments

Google Plus AuthorshipSearch is changing. Google is penalizing cheap SEO tricks and making search increasingly intelligent and relevant.

What does this mean for content creators and marketers who want a first page rank on Google search results?

Mainly, it means creating quality content that your readers love. Instead of creating content aimed at search bots, create it for human beings.

It also means using the in-house tools Google provides to influence search. The key tool here is Google Plus, and central to using Google Plus effectively is Google Authorship.

In this article, I give you an overview of Google Authorship, including what it is, how it influences search rankings, and how to set up Google Authorship for your content.

What is Google Authorship?

If you use Google for search, chances are you’re aware of Google authorship. It’s where alongside a search result, for example an article on social media marketing. the author’s name and picture of the article show up. Here’s an example of a search for “Social Media Marketing”. The fifth result, a Forbes article, includes Authorship.

Social Media Marketing SearchSocial Media Marketing Search

Social Media Marketing Search


Having Google Authorship on your content is great because it:

  • Gets your picture and name into search results, boosting your visibility, authenticity, and authority. This is ideal for thought leaders, authors, public speakers, and anyone looking to establish a name for themselves.
  • Shows searchers how many circles you are in, providing social proof and demonstrating your credibility
  • Allows searchers to click on your name or photo to find out more about you. They can visit your Google+ profile, check out your other articles, or add you to their Google+ circles.
  • Helps your content rank higher in search results. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt confessed as much in an interview with Techcrunch in February 2013.

How to Use Google Authorship to Boost Your Search Rankings

Google is notoriously cagey on how it ranks search results. As such, it hasn’t revealed how it uses Authorship to rank search results (and probably never will).

That said, it’s easy enough to make an educated guess.

Google knows a ton of information about you. Google follows almost everything you online, and the information it gleans from your online activity can help it establish your expertise.

The following seems particularly relevant in how Google will rank your authority as an author:

  • The articles you write, how much they’re reach, linked to and shared on social media
  • Your social media connections, particularly your circles on Google Plus

In addition, Google is aware of:

  • Your search activity, and the articles you read through search.
  • Your Google Plus comments and votes.
  • Your activity and standing in Google Plus Communities.
  • The comments you leave on blog posts, especially through Google’s comment service partners, Disqus and OpenID.
  • The YouTube videos you’ve watched and liked.
  • The documents in your Google Drive.
  • Your GMail contacts, and the content of your emails.
  • Any Blogger blogs you write without claiming authorship for them.
  • How you use the Google Play store (if you have an Android phone or tablet).

Google can use all this information to put together a picture of your knowledge and expertise, which in turn can influence how it ranks your content in search results.

So, are you getting to grips with just how powerful the changes to search will be as Authorship becomes more prevalent?

As with all changes to how Google ranks search results, being early to the game is a big advantage. Why not set up authorship for your articles today? Here’s how.

How to Set Up Google Authorship

First, you need a Google Plus profile. Chances are you have one already, but if not, go set one up.

Second, you need to let Google Plus know which blogs and websites you create content for. You do this on your profile in the “Contributor to” section.

Finally, you need to link your blogs and websites back to your Google Plus profile. There are two ways of doing this. Option 1 is to provide Google Plus with an official email address from your blog or website (e.g. Option 2 is to link to your Google+ profile from your webpage, using html code. Google provides full instructions for both options.

That’s it, you’re done!

It can take a couple of days for your name to start appearing in search results once authorship is set up.

So, go ahead and set up authorship for your content today.


To learn more about engaging on Google+, check out the Social Caffeine ebook, 10 Commandments for Authors on Google+. Get your copy from Amazon here. Amazon UK users: get your copy here.

David is Social Caffeine’s acting editor. He’s British, but we don’t hold that against him.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rand Wilson March 29, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Great post and all right on the money, except for your Eric Schmitt quote, which when read/understood in context does not say that Authorship (yet) directly affects your SERPs


Guest March 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm

tweets of this article, with and without RiteTag-suggested hashtags.
Wonder which acct will get RTs, the tiny, low-Klout @osakatalk, 375
followers (with tags), or @saulsay, 4,856 followers (no hashtags). So
far, so good. Just wanted to let you know what’s going on, when you see
mentions, other goodness in Twitter and for pageviews of this, hoping
to prove what hashtags do – and help you get eyes on this at the same

Oh – and to see how to DIY this, just log in to and
you’ll land on “Tag search.” Start with that. No time-consuming
report-ordering if we can give you results in seconds. Let me know how
it works for you, if you try that?


Timothy Burns April 2, 2013 at 8:05 am

Regarding your How To at the end of your post . . . You have to do both. Your email address, the one that is on your blog user name, has to be registered and verified on your gmail acct, AND you have to drop two pieces of code into your blog – one that resides on your blog’s home page, and another that gets associated with EVERY blog post that you write. The process sounds simpler than it is, but it can be completed by anyone with a bit of HTML knowledge.


David Masters April 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Not according to Google. Under option 1 it says: “Don’t have an email address on the same domain as your content? Follow the instructions listed in Option 2 below.”


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