Not to long ago I wrote a short piece on the importance of a Google+ Marketing Strategy. We’ve seen Google trying to boost the use of their social network by using their Monopoly in search, forcing SEO’s to embrace Google+. Rich Snippets are another step in some-what forcing the social network upon search engine marketers. First off, Rich Snippets are definitely NOT new. Remember those yellow star-ratings behind search results? In this post I am addressing the authorship snippet, which has also been around since August last year. There have already been several posts written on the use of these snippets, by people such as Joost and Richard. But I still hear a lot of people around me asking, if they to can get those fancy search snippets and if it’s difficult to set up. Well, Yes you can get them and No it’s not difficult to set up. Here it goes!
Each little search result on a search engine result page (SERP) we define as a ‘search snippet’ or ‘snippet’ in short. Rich snippets are the enhanced version where enriched content makes the snippet stand out from the rest. Below an example of a rich snippet for a recent post I’ve written.
You can imagine having this enriched result on a Google result page will get you a lot more clicks. It’s fancy, stands out from the rest and shows an avatar which instantly makes it a more personal result too. The effects have been more then promising and have boosted the CTR for various search results. Since the implementation of rich snippets I’ve therefore seen the organic traffic on this blog increase noticeably.
There are two ways to implement this author snippet. The first method is the easy, quick and dirty way! The second method is for the code savvy people who can implement this on for instance a wordpress CMS.
Quick & Easy Way
1) Make sure on each of your blog post there is a link pointing to your Google Plus account. The easiest way is setting it up in an author bio, under each blogpost. There are a few conditions associated with setting up the link. First of all the anchor text should be your full name, starting with a plus-sign. Then in the link, pointing to your google plus profile, you should add the parameter ?rel=author. The link should eventually look like this:
<a href="http://plus.google.com/105918272936865139845?rel=author">+Your Fullname</a>
The underlined id-number is your google plus ID, which you can find in the URL on your Google+ profile.
2) So now this link is set Google also wants you to link your Google+ profile to the blog. It’s a two-way thing! For this you have to go to the ‘About’ section on your Google+ profile page and edit the ‘Contributor to’ box. In this box, set up a link to the specific blog you have set up the authorship for.
What I did is I pointed the link to my author page on the blog, because it’s a easy-to-index portal for all the stuff I have written. (NOTE: do set the visibility of the contributor box to public).
3) Test-Test-Test! Use the Rich Snippets Testing tool to see if your markup is being validated. If you get the green validation line for your author information, you are ready to submit your information at Google.
4) Now the final step is to submit your information through a Google form. No confirmation is being send but if you’ve completed each step, the rich snippets should pop up in the search results after a while.
(If anything went wrong, check this instruction video to determine what went wrong)
The Code Savvy Way
There is a more advanced way of setting up these rich snippets, but you’ll have to dive into your CMS to set it up. The advantage is that you don’t need a google plus link on each blog post, but only need one on the author page. Here’s a step by step guide to get your author-markup validated.
1) Create a link to your google plus profile on the author page with the rel=”me” tag added. It should look like this:
<a href="http://plus.google.com/105918272936865139845" rel="me">Author Name</a>
This way Google can tell which author is associated with a certain Google+ profile.
2) Make sure the link to the author page on a blog post has the rel=”author” tag attached to it. Each blog post usually starts with the title, the author and the date it has been written. If you check my source-code you can see I have attached the rel=”author” tag to the author link. Depending on which Content Management System you are using, get in deep and look for the author link. In WordPress it is quite easy to attach it to the_author_posts_link() in the wp-includes/author-template.php. (Sometimes, it’s already implemented)
3) The rest of the steps are identical to the Quick & Easy instructions (step 2-4). Only this time it is mandatory to point the contributor-to link on your Google+ profile to your author page where you’ve set up the rel=”me” link in step 1. An example below: (STEP 2 – Quick & Easy Way)
4) Test the mark-up with the Rich Snippets Testing tool and make sure you get the “Verified: Authorship markup is verified for this page” alert. (STEP 3 – Quick & Easy Way)
5) Verify your authorship by filling in the Google form. (STEP 4 – Quick & Easy Way)
Most likely you’ll see the rich snippets pop-up and your organic traffic increase after a while. This probably depends on Google rolling out this feature to you. Good luck and feel free to leave a question or comment below!