Many freelance writers don’t have to know anything about coding or even anything about SEO, but authorship is an exception. It’s important for every freelancer to understand how authorship works because it is becoming so important in the world of Google. Companies are using authorship for the posts that their authors write, so the standalone-freelancer can’t be left behind. Soon authorship is going to become a part of the job of a freelance writer, so the sooner you get started the better.
How Google Authorship Works for a Freelancer
For those who are unfamiliar, authorship is a feature coming from Google. In other words, Bing and Yahoo have not yet adopted authorship of this kind (although it is in the works for all major search engines). Authorship was created in back in June 2011 and has taken off since its launch. Below is an example of a website and/or author using authorship:
As you can probably tell, the first Google result does not have authorship enacted, but the second entry does. The second one looks better, right? The idea here is that most people are more likely to click on a link if they can see and learn about the actual author. It shows credibility and looks more appealing. There are also two more components to the search results with authorship:
- Google+ Circle Count. This lets a user know how many people have that author in a Google+ circle. As Google+ becomes more and more important, this will be a good indication for Google users to see if others find the author credible and talented.
- More Articles by the Author. You can click the link that says “more by” and see a list of other articles written by that author. This is another great way for users to decide if that author is credible, and an even better way to find more articles by an author that a user already knows and trusts.
Whether you’re writing for a company or writing for yourself, you will be able to use authorship. It will transfer over onto all of your articles that you tell it to (more about that later).
Why Google Authorship Really Matters
Once you realize how authorship works, it’s important to understand just how important it really is (which is something some freelancers are still ignoring). This Google feature is becoming even more important for individual writers for a few different reasons:
- Visibility. Authorship helps to give an author more visibility both because his/her picture is so prominent on a SERP as well as because more people are likely to click. The author begins to build up a personal brand that people recognize, which should help the freelance opportunities open up.
- Stay Competitive. As discussed above, more and more companies are using authorship for their employed authors, so freelancers need to do the same to stay caught up.
- Credibility. Aside from simply remaining competitive, authorship is a great way to take credit for the work that you do. It not only shows that you’re credible, but it ensures that your work is connected with you more so than just your company or client.
There have also been quite a few studies that prove that authorship is effective and important. According to experts, authorship has been reported to increase click thru rates by more than 30 percent.
How to Get Started with Google Authorship
Getting started with authorship is actually very simple. You can learn how to set it up in detail on the Higher Visibility blog, but essentially there are three major steps:
- You must first have a Google+ account
- Go to your “contributor to” section and add in your author page or webpage where your article appears
- Link your Google+ profile to the author page on a given blog. For freelancers, this is the job of the other website, so you have to let them know that in your author bio, you want to include authorship.
Are you a freelance writer who has seen an improvement because of authorship? What did you find to be the most beneficial part of this feature? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo Credit: skyje.com
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from algorithm updates. She writes for the professional SEO Firm HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized as one of the best local SEO companies.