If you're running a business website, you are most likely also managing your company's blog. And if you're blogging about your startup, you most likely want people to click on your posts when they turn up in Google searches. One way to increase the likelihood that your posts will get clicked on is by using something called Google Author Markup.
You've probably noticed people's pictures popping up in search results next to content they've created. It stands out, it captures people's attention -- and Google loves it.
This is called Google Author Markup. It's one part of a larger system called Google Authorship which lets you link the content you create to your Google+ profile. Google Arthur Markup displays a picture of the writer of an article that shows up in a Google search. It also brings the author and blog more credibility while making Google's users happier by showing what they believe are higher quality, more credible search results.
The idea to start placing pictures next to content in search results started with the launch of Google+. You use your Google+ profile to tag content you've created so people can put your face next to your work.
Google believes that by tagging you and your content, it will be able to learn whether you are an expert and influencer in your field. The more high-quality content you publish that's connected to your Google+ profile, the more Google should consider you an expert in your area.
There are actually several benefits to using Google Author Markup for your business blog. Here's a look at four:
1. Better click-through rates.
Author Markup makes you standout in search results. However, you can never be too sure. That's why search marketing agency Catalyst tested the impact of Author Markup on click through rates (CTRs).
Catalyst found that Author Markup can increase CTRs. Catalyst's Search Director Eddie Emmanuel wrote a blog post explaining how they achieved a 150 percent increase in visits and page views. So, by using Google's Authorship Markup and getting their picture in search results, they improved their search performance.
Even more impressive was Moz's senior content creator Cyrus Shepard's test on the profile picture used for Author Markup. He found that using the right profile picture improved CTR by 35 percent. Shepard importantly notes that there's no secret formula -- you need to test your profile pictures to figure out what works best.
2. Protect your content and build your brand.
Author Markup makes it difficult for content trolls to steal the content on your site. If people see multiple search results for the same blog post on the same page of search results, but an author markup next to only one, that is the person and website that gets the credit.
Also, when you put your face next to your content you raise your profile. You show up more in search, your content gets more attention and you're viewed with more credibility.
Just as importantly, it increases the trust people place in you and your opinion. David Gould, creative services director at online marketing firm Vertical Measures, puts it well: "For users, this reinforces the idea that the result is reputable: this link isn't just the result of robotic SEO manipulation, but rather it's from a human being who we can learn more about."
People don't trust faceless authors when they have to compare them to content created by people who've claimed their authorship markup
3. Get more page views.
Let's say someone clicks on one of your marked up links on a search result page. They get to your content, stay on the page for a while and then they hit the back button. Because that person stayed on-page for a while before bouncing back, they showed some degree of interest in your content.
When a reader behaves like that, they see more links to your content in the search results, according to a report from Search Engine Land. This brings you even more visibility and your site more visits from search.
4. Grow your social following.
When you click on the author's profile picture, you're taken to the person's Google+ profile. If people like your work, there's a good chance they'll follow you on Google+.
The other benefit of a larger social following on Google+ is that the number of followers you have shows up in search results next to your profile picture. The more followers you have, the greater the chance people will click on your search result.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.