Google+ Authorship Picture Benefits

Posted on: October 31, 2012

No doubt you have seen it. You type something into Google search and the usual results come up. However over the last few months you have noticed more and more what looks like little icons of people showing up. You probably haven’t even thought too much about it.

But what if I told you these little pictures saw a 40% increase in SERP CTR? Does that make you think differently? Some webmasters and SEO’s have noticed a definite increase in CTR when using author attributes of varying degree. I have read numbers such as 35% and also a whopping 484%. Either way, I gather I have got your attention!

I am still amazed at the number of SEO companies that have not implemented this not only themselves, but their clients! Do a general SEO search in Australia (Sydney to be exact) and you would be lucky to see one business doing it! Do a little digging in and check their clients and again, nothing! Why not? It’s really not that difficult and I know there is the chance that I can get my clients an increase in 40% CTR then I jump on it. Now!

For some odd reason the PPC/Adwords market is much more on the ball than the SEO market when it comes to putting their best face forward (yes, pun definitely intended).

If you are still a little unsure about what I am talking about, do a search for “Web Marketers Crew” and you will see my mug come up. Kinda looks like this:

Web Marketers Crew Google Author

But before jumping in here are a few things to note:

1. Use the header <meta> option – essentially you don’t really need to create a author tag on every page but rather, put it in your site header. So in your header add a Meta Tag and that looks like this:

<link rel="author" href="google+url.com"/>

Not the hardest thing to do. Another thing you may try is to download some plugins that are available in both WordPress (Yoast SEO plugin) or Joomla (Try this one.. note I havn’t used it so if you recommend one then let me know).

2. Use your face. People trust a face. Google trusts a face. Google only wants a face. Whether this is exactly true just believe it. I have tried to use logos, caricature, products etc and the only ones that keep showing up are the faces. These guys tend to agree with me and so do these guys. I’m not saying upload a boring photo, in fact you should try to spruce up your photo… test your face.

3. Test your face - Why don’t you split test? What makes people click on your face? Do they trust it? Does it stand out? How can you make it stand out more. Try different backgrounds, where a suit, don’t wear a suit, glasses, dark clothes, super bright clothes.. we are lucky to have the ability to change this profile picture in Google+ so why don’t we test them and test them regularly. How do you know if your new pic performed better than the old one? Well we can measure it can’t we? See step 4

4. Measure - In your webmaster tools you can see your ‘Author Stats’ in your Labs section. This will tell you when your mug showed up and how often people clicked it (CTR).

webmaster tools author stats

When you test a different author photo, note the date and see how your conversions go. Does a type of photo work better than another? Make sure you think about your market and who would most benefit from your service. Selling baby clothes? Then being decked out in a suit probably isn’t going to yield the right results. Different story if you are selling financial services.

What the author attribute tags and author photos now mean is that being on position 1 isn’t as important as it used to be. In its current early adoption stage, being ranked number 3 or even 4 on a page will yield clicks as your listing stands out from the others on the page, even those at the very top.

I believe this is really bringing back the term “search engine optimisation”. Forget ranks, forget backlinks, forget keyword density and all that crap. Lets go back to basics; Optimise your site for the search engines, get people into your site and convert them into sales. Done. If you or your SEO are not utilising Author tags then fire them or fire yourself because you are leaving a lot on the table.

And watch this space… this will not be the last time you hear about this and the next time you do, you would have hoped that you jumped on! More to come…

William Bakhos is an SEO and Adwords professional and has been implementing best practice online marketing initiatives since 2004. Along with consulting to National and International companies and digital teams, William is the founder of the Web Marketers Crew, a Sydney based optimisation and online strategy company.

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