Have you started to wonder why some lawyers' faces are showing up in search results? How are they making that happen? The answer is Google Authorship.
Google Authorship is a relatively new search feature, launched by Google just this year in 2013. According to Google, Google Authorship serves to link your Google+ profile to the content you create. But I don’t really use or like Google+, you might be whining while reading. Too bad, Google has, as usual, found a way to force users to use its own social media network by tethering that network to search engine benefits.
Google came up with its Authorship in response to spam, link building, and black hat SEO tactics, and to reign in the plethora of content being pushed out into the World Wide Web every minute. It exists to show that a real person (or author) actually wrote the content you see appearing in search results.
Although we are only at the beginning stages of Author Rank, Google has plans to increase the functionality as part of their constant evolution toward less spam and better content. So lawyers who are experts in their practice areas but not taking advantage of Google Authorship are sadly not allowing Google to see you online as the expert you are in real life. And, we have noticed that this is starting to translate into good lawyer website content not ranking as well in search results.
Why Do I Need Google Authorship?
Google Authorship, even in this early phase of use, seems to be extremely powerful for a variety of reasons:
- It is now easy for a searcher to spot a search result post by an author he or she is familiar with. This increases the connection the reader feels with the author and thus the brand.
- It extends the credibility of a brand by showing just how connected its blog author or “face” is, indicating industry authority.
- It affects Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO still matters, and as we all know, Google is the King of all search engines. Specifically, Google gives an “Author Ranking” to an online content author whose content gets a lot of traffic. In turn, those with a higher author rank will get a ranking boost in Google search results. Furthermore, authors that have set up Google Authorship correctly will receive benefits in the search engine results, as Google tends to rank these types of articles much higher than if they did not have proper authorship markup.
How Do I Sign Up for Google Authorship?
Visit https://plus.google.com/authorship, and takes the steps it recommends (I am adding my own spin on them here):
- Make sure you have a Google+ profile photo with a recognizable headshot. Lawyers should make certain that this headshot is consistently used across all social media channels where their image appears. This will lead to individual branding of that particular lawyer.
- Make sure your name visibly appears on your website as the author of your website blog (ideally in a byline). Yes lawyers it is ok if more than one of you claims Google Authorship for your blog if more than one of you writes for it.
- Make sure your website blog byline name = your Google+ profile name.
- Verify your email address with Google. Said email address must be on the same domain as your blog/website/content. For example, I verified email@example.com to use with the website www.staceyeburke.com which lists me as the blog author on its blog. This adds your email to the “work” section of your Google+ profile. Google will want you to verify your email address, so on your profile, click the link to verify this email address once added, and then actually click the verify link once the verification email arrives in your inbox.
- Go into your Google+ profile, click About, scroll down the page to the section titled “Links,” and click Edit. Under “Contributor To,” enter your website. Click Save. Within a few days, you should see your photo come up in search results next to your website/blog, along with information pulled through from your Google+ profile.
While there is a little more to it, this starter guide should give lawyers a first shot at adding Google Authorship to their law firm websites. To learn more about how your law firm can work with the marketing team at Stacey E. Burke, P.C. on social media marketing for lawyers, please contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.