If you create content on the Web — and if you’re trying to get people to find your business or nonprofit online, you should be creating content — then your biggest challenge is to have people find you in search. And, let’s get super obvious here: That means you want them to literally click your link and get to your site, right?
Now, the first challenge to overcome is show up on the first page of Google search results, given that about 97 percent of people never click through to the second page of results.
But the challenges don’t end there. If you create original content, someone, somewhere, at some point has ripped off your material and republished it as their own. Or perhaps they’re a partner site that has your permission to republish your content. Google, Bing and the other search engines often have a hard time determining who published it first and who’s the rightful owner. In other words, whose link should appear higher in the search results? Let’s call that the authentication challenge.
A third and final barrier for you to overcome is the differentiation challenge. Why should a user click on your link vs. the one right above or below it?
Claiming authorship to increase exposure & authority
The smarties at Google have come up with some solutions that you should be employing on your own website or blog, if you haven’t done so already. They’ve laid out a fairly simple process that you can follow to basically claim ownership of your own digital stuff. It begins with Google Authorship, also called Authorship Markup. Let me explain.
My partner Deltina Hay, an expert on the semantic Web, recently pointed out to me: “I highly recommend updating our site to include proper Google rel-author functionality. This will get more exposure for the blog and the authors alike.” This had been on my to-do list for a long time, so it was the kick in the pants I needed.
Google Authorship sounds daunting, but it’s simply a way for you to verify with Google that the content across the Web that you created is yours. Google will then show your content — and your authorship — in its “author rich snippet search results.” See the image at top for how this looks. Claiming your content will not only help you in the short run with better click-through rates for your content, but it will also help you to build AuthorRank with Google.
As social marketer Mark Traphagen writes: “All that content begins to contribute to a score that Google maintains for you that is their assessment of your trustworthiness, relevance, and popularity in your key topics. Once AuthorRank kicks in as a ranking factor, it will serve as an additional signal to Google that your highly-trusted content should rank higher in search.”
Now, this process is fairly straightforward when you’re the sole content creator at your site or blog. But what if you run a multi-author site or blog, like Socialmedia.biz or our sister site for the nonprofit community, Socialbrite?