Everybody wants to build a brand identity online for good reasons. Whether you are in business for yourself or you are looking to have a successful career in your profession, building a brand for yourself is absolutely critical in today’s marketplace.
Over 92% of employers searched candidate's name on Google in 2012. I can’t imagine buying anything from anyone today without making a few Google searches and checking on social networks.
When someone Googles your name or the name of your business, the search results speak volumes about who you are and what you do. If you haven’t done so yet, Google your name now. What are the search results you see on the first page?
If your Google search results are not the way you desire them to be, I encourage you to download my FREE eBook Personal Branding GPS and give yourself a chance to shine on the web.
You should have a LinkedIn profile, a Google plus profile and a Twitter profile. In addition to these, it is very important to have your own blog or website. Why is it important? I suggest you to check out why your personal branding efforts drive the size of your success.
Building Your Brand Identity With Google Plus
Now, if you already have a blog or a website of your own and you are already creating great content, Google’s concept of Authorship adds tremendous value to your efforts. Now, you can build a brand identity of your own based on the content that you publish on your blog and everywhere your content is being published.
Earlier, there was no way to achieve it. But now, Google Authorship makes it possible for you and I to get the credit we deserve for the online content we create, just like the book authors.
Bloggers have begun to love this new feature and there is a lot of buzz about Google Authorship and how it is helping bloggers build a brand value for themselves.
Just as book authors get their names and their smiling pictures on their book covers, Google Authorship is a way to make sure that you – the author of your article online, can get credit for the content you write on the Web.
How Does Google Authorship Work?
Google Authorship allows you to link your Google+ profile to the content you create. It’s a powerful online personal branding tool that allows you to explicitly tell the search engines that a web page is your content. This helps your personal branding in three ways:
- You get the credit on Google’s search result pages for all of the content that you create.
- The search results look much better and your content appears more personalized.
- Your brand value goes up because your photo starts to appear in Google search results with all of your content.
As an online entrepreneur, obviously you also want your websites to be ranked better in search results. With social media influencing the search results, Google Authorship is already playing an important role in your content getting ranked based on your authority as an author.
Google strives to show quality contents in the search results. Now, Google Authorship is believed to be Google’s way to use the author’s rank as a factor in determining content quality going forward.
How To Claim Authorship For Your Brand Identity
Here are the steps you need to setup your Google Authorship for yourself and start to build your brand identity by leveraging the search results:
1. Setup Your Google+ Profile If You Don’t Have One
Want to see your smiling face beside your content in Google search results? You need a Google+ profile. If you haven’t already, go ahead and create your Google+ profile now.
Whether or not you and I like it, Google+ is constantly increasing in relevance and importance and we better start leveraging its power. Your Google Authorship requires you to link your Google+ profile to the online content.
Make a note of your Google+ profile’s new URL. You will need this to configure authorship on your websites. Here is how it looks:
2. Edit The “Contributor To” Section Of Google+ Profile
Google needs a way to verify your authorship of the content you want to claim on a particular website. By telling what websites you “contribute to”, you help Google understand just that.
As shown in the image above, on your Google+ profile, in the “About” section, there is a section called “Contributor to.” You’ll want to list all websites and blogs on where you have your content.
3. Setup Google Authorship On Your Website
It is a very simple process. The goal is to make sure you add one line of code as shown below, in your website’s <head> section:
Make sure that you to change the Google+ profile URL to yours in case you are doing a copy-paste.
Speaking of adding this above line of code into your website's head section, basically there are two types of website owners in the world:
- Those who have a WordPress Blog
- Those who don’t have a WordPress Blog ( Everybody else)
I am a fan of WordPress and highly encourage everybody to leverage the power of WordPress and start blogging. However, in this post, I am also going to try to help you setup your Google Authorship to build and enhance your brand identity, even if you are not a WordPress blogger.
3.1 Setting Up Google Authorship On Non WordPress Websites
Adding a line of code in the <head> section of your website’s all pages where you want Google Authorship to be claimed, shouldn’t be difficult. How to get it done, however, really depends on how your website has been coded.
If it’s a simple HTML and CSS based website, you can just edit your pages and include this statement. Otherwise, if you are using any of the content management systems(CMS), you will need to edit one of their module files to get this goal achieved.
3.2 Setting Up Google Authorship On WordPress Websites
The first thing you should do is, fill out the user profile section in your WordPress Admin area to include your Google+ profile URL.
This step is especially helpful if you are running a multi-author WordPress blog. Nonetheless, it is a great idea to fill out this information so you don’t have future concerns.
Now, to get your Google Authorship configured, you have two choices:
Using Your Favorite SEO Plugin
If you are using one the popular SEO plugins such as All In One SEO Pack Or WordPress SEO by Yoast, then you just need to configure them to use your Google Profile as an author and the rest will be automatically taken care of.
I use WordPress SEO by Yoast and handles Google Authorship very well. I only had to setup my WordPress user profile as discussed above and the plugin took care of everything for me.
By Adding Code Manually In Your WordPress Header
If you do not use any plugin that supports the Google Authorship configuration (e.g if your theme handles the SEO for you), you may need to add the line of code for Google Authorship manually.
Normally, you can do it by editing the header.php file in your theme’s folder.
If you are using a theme framework or you want to add this piece of code in as a function, you may add this by hooking into wp_head(). For that, copy and paste the following code in your theme’s functions.php file:
Again, REMEMBER to change the Google+ profile URL in your version of this code to yours.
4. Test Your Google Authorship Using Rich Snippets Testing Tool
Finally, it’s time to see if it has worked out well. Google’s Webmaster’s Tools offers an awesome tool called Structured Data Testing Tool (also known as Rich Snippets Testing Tool) to quickly check if you have successfully claimed authorship for your content.
As shown in the image above, you can use any URL of your website (including your home page) for testing your preview. As long as the <head> section of your website has the reference to your Google+ profile (as discussed above), the test result should now show your picture along with your content.
The tool also helps you troubleshoot the issues in case you are not getting the desired results.
That is all you need to do to get your Google Authorship claimed and your content on the web will start to associate itself with your smiling headshot hence forth. Even if you are a guest blogger, your content is still yours! Think of the POWER this feature adds to your brand identity on the web!
Your Turn – Share Your Thoughts
Have you claimed your Google Authorship? What do you think is the impact of Google Authorship on the blogging community and in the SEO world? Please share your thoughts in the comments by clicking here. Thank you kindly!