The Basics of Google Authorship Markup

With another impending Google update seemingly just around the corner, Internet marketers worldwide are now scrambling to see if they can’t figure out what the “next big thing” in SEO will be. It seems to most web professionals that Google is working to maximize their own social media platform use by incorporating Google Authorship signals into its algorithm when determining search engine rankings. So, what does this mean for small businesses, bloggers and webbies alike? It means we better get familiar with Google Authorship, and we better get familiar with it now.

What is Google Authorship?

Google Authorship is basically Google’s way of making their social media platform more significant to search engine results than any other social platform. It’s also a way for Google to identify “authors” with authority. What Google Authorship does is identifies an actual human being associated with a page or blog post on a website. And since Google loves humans and users, of course this is going to quickly become a major factor in signaling a “good” page to Google. The fact is, if a real person is associated with a page in cyberspace, it’s likely to be more reliable than a page without the author linking, as those pages might as well be run by robots as far as the search engines are concerned.

So in a digital world of user-friendliness, it actually makes a lot of sense that Google’s next update would put a shift in focus much heavier on the actual users themselves. Visitors to websites want to see content and read words written by humans. Google Authorship is Google’s way of identifying those pages that comply with this idea.

How do you implement Google Authorship?

There are a few basic steps to follow to make sure you implement Google Authorship markup correctly. First, you need to decide where you’ll be implementing the authorship markup – will it go on a page of your website or on a post on your blog? Using Authorship markup on a blog is probably the easiest way to start, as it will identify the actual author of each and every blog post and put more trust in that post when it appears in search engines. Each author who writes for your blog should have their own Google+ account, complete with a photo of themselves that’s simple and professional (the photo itself will actually show up in search results if the markup is implemented correctly).

If you’re going to associate Authorship with a page of your website, you need to choose someone to be the “face” of your company, or choose a photo that reflects your brand. This person (don’t use a company page – I’ll explain why in a moment) should have a Google+ page that they are comfortable associating with your entire website.

The next step is to link the Google+ profile of your author to your actual blog or website. This part is easy – just log in to your Google+ account and click through to your “About” section. There should be a box labeled “Links” that gives you an opportunity to link to other profiles of yours, websites that you own or pages that you contribute to. Click “Edit” in this box.

You’ll want to focus on the “Contributor to” section of the next edit screen. If you’re an author for a blog, just enter the blog’s name and its URL path.

Save changes, and your Google+ profile is now linked to the blog for which you are an author.

Implementing Authorship Markup

The next step gets a big technical, and that’s why I thought it would be important to outline it in an easy way to understand. Now that your Google+ profile is connected to the site to which you are contributing, it’s time to add Authorship markup to the post itself that you’re linking your author profile to.

It’s easy on most blogs – all you have to do is include a link to your Google+ page at the end of your blog post. Here at Mountain Media, we like to add a little line at the bottom of each of our blog posts that simply says “Connect with [author name] on Google+!” Of course, you could get more creative or more in depth by adding links to your other social profiles (namely Facebook and Twitter), as well, but we like to keep things simple.

In order to add the Authorship markup to this statement, you need to switch to the HTML editor of your content management system for your blog and enter the following code:

Except instead of using the link that’s in this image, insert the link to your Google+ profile that’s connected to your blog. Change it to your name and you’re all set. This is called a <rel=”author”> tag, as it’s simply an HTML link that contains a tiny bit of additional markup to signify that the author of the post is also on Google+.

The Result

After you’ve linked your Google+ profile to the page you’re contributing to and you’ve implemented your rel=”author” tag, here’s what a standard search result for which your blog post is found will look like:

That’s considered a rich snippet search result, and it might soon become the most important type of rich snippet result you can implement yourself with the next Google algorithm update. It shows that I’m the author associated with that particular post, which signifies to Google that the post is trustworthy and truly written by a human.

Additional Things to Remember

While this is considered Authorship in its most standard and basic form, there’s a lot more to it than just linking your Google+ page to your blog or website. For starters, the more Author Rank you can build, the more trustworthy the posts with which you are associated will become. That means that if people +1 your posts, share your posts and interact with your Google+ page on a regular basis, your Author Rank will improve. Make sure you stay an active user on Google+ if you want to improve your Author Rank.

Additionally, Google doesn’t exactly allow you to link a brand to a blog post or web page as easily as they allow you to link a person. In order to link a business Google+ page to a post or page, you’ll have to implement a <rel=”publisher”> tag, which, at the moment, isn’t quite as powerful as a <rel=”author”> tag. Remember, Google likes people. So, if you wish to associate your brand page with your website, just remember to use <rel=”publisher”>, but for a more powerful “human” link, try to choose an individual person to represent your company that will link their own personal page to your blog or website.

If you’re implementing <rel=”author”> on a blog, make sure each author, or contributor, to the blog has their own author page. With WordPress blogs, this is easily accomplished and simply requires each author to have their own unique login information to the blog. That way, when each author’s posts appear on the blog, if you click on their name in the byline, you’re directed to a page of posts authored by that contributor only. This helps Google distinguish between authors on your blog and helps strengthen the link between your authors’ Google+ pages and your blog.

So fear not the impending Google algorithm change! Just be sure to be aware of and familiar with Google Authorship, what it means and what it does. We’re still conducting research into the topic here at Mountain Media, and we have to say, the best way to learn something new such as this is to just try it. See how it works. Then research a bit more and tweak your approach from there.

This should help you get started using Google Authorship linking and markup, so pick a page on your website or a post on your blog and get started experimenting before the next Google algorithm hits!

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5 Reasons to Take a Vacation from Social Media

For anyone in their twenties, it’s almost comical to think back to what it was like growing up before social media existed. While the Internet was still on it’s way to taking over the world, our first virtual form of “instant” social communication was through AIM. As most of us have drank the koolaid and joined social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, we’ve grown accustom to instant gratification and knowing what’s happening with everyone and everywhere in the blink of an eye.

Don’t get me wrong, social media is without a doubt an incredible resource for us to learn about what’s happening in the world, but at the same time, it’s critical we take a break from it all every once in a while. Before you yell out a big “WHAAAAAT?!?”, just hear me out. I get it, social media never takes a vacation, so how can we and more importantly, why would we? Whether you use it every day or once a week, everyone, and I mean everyone needs a break from social media, and here’s why.

Stress

Beach ViewLet’s be honest with ourselves, social media can be stressful. Whether you are on it for fun or for work, everyone has that moment when they think to themselves “what would happen if I deleted my account?” It’s understandable that we want to know what’s happening all the time, but the truth is, we don’t need to know.

Picture yourself on a white sandy beach, looking out at crystal clear blue water in the warmth of the sun. Then imagine your friend just posted a picture on Facebook of her dog sitting on the couch with a bow in her hair and all of your friends are commenting about how cute the dog is. Are you really missing something if you’re not responding? The answer is always no, you’re not.

Off the grid

Muffin bluffin'We go to the grocery store, we go out to eat, we go to a concert, and what do we do? Share this information on social media. We’re in a world where we think everyone needs to know what we’re doing at all times, which is why falling off the grid every once in a while is a good thing. Social media allows us to keep tabs on each other, but it’s important to have moments of our lives that are just for us to know about. Plus, does everyone really need to know that you’re eating a muffin that looks awesome in the Instagram lens you chose?

Can’t live without it environment

Facebook MenuIf you think you can’t live without your social media profiles and that life as we know it would come to an end if you were disconnected for a few days, just think back to 2003 before social media really existed. If for over 2000 years people could live without social media, I think you could do it for a day or two.

Physical health

ScrabbleA lot of us use social media during the day at work, a lot of us use social media on our mobile devices at night. Whenever we choose to be on social media, it requires us to have our heads down and our eyes focused on some type of electronic device. After a while, this can cause strain on our eyes, promote laziness and actually cause you to be anti-social. A vacation from social media can force us to take our eyes off the screens we love to look at and give our bodies a rest from it all. Play a board game, go for a run, have conversations – in person.

Get social

SocializingSocial media has the word “social” in it for a reason – you have the ability to connect with people that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to connect with through these networks as opposed to face to face. The problem with this is that we as a society are growing reliant on social media in order to talk to people and connect with them, instead of traditional socialization.

Taking a vacation from social media is a great way to push yourself to get out there and meet people in person, make connections by physically talking to others and actually exchanging physical business cards as opposed to emails or text messages. While social media has done wonders for connectivity, nothing compares to the relationships that can be built from real life socialization.

So now I’m going to challenge you all to take a deep breath, step away from the computer and give it a shot. By giving up social media for even just one day, it could do wonders to your mentality and overall state of well-being. Good luck!

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5 Reasons to Use Google+ in 2013

Google Plus logoTo all you Google+ haters, I want to start this article off by begging you – don’t give up on this social network just yet. As you may know already, Facebook and Twitter are most certainly the frontrunners in the Social Media world, but just because they’re the most used doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the most valuable. If you’re going to do anything right this year, you should definitely start by understanding the importance of Google+ and what it has to offer you and your business.

Google+ is professional

Let’s first compare Google+ to the monster that is Facebook. Most of us spend an embarrassing amount of time on Facebook, and many of us know that this network has grown into a portal for users to express anything from what’s going on in society to what’s happening in their personal lives.

On the contrary, users on Google+ tend to be slightly more buttoned up and dare I say more mature, focusing on people who are looking to have intellectual conversations about serious topics, including work, politics or art. When it comes down to it, Facebook is a great resource for keeping up with the lives of family and friends, but when you’re looking to have an in-depth and intelligent discussion, Google+ is the place to go.

Group hangouts

While Facebook does indeed have the group chat function, it’s capabilities are not even comparable to those of Google+. Google Hangouts allows you to professionally conduct meetings, complete with video, text and even screen sharing. In addition to these awesome features mentioned above, there’s also a sketchpad feature allowing you to draw a whiteboard in real-time with others and a notes feature, providing the opportunity for collaboration across a group of users in real-time. In fact, Google Hangouts is so dominant from a business perspective that Facebook isn’t even a real competitor to them, but powerhouses such as GoToMeeting and WebEx are.

The best privacy features to protect your online reputation

Once you make the shift from college to the real-world, there’s a reality check in terms of how you utilize your social media and how important understanding your privacy features is. Because of the circles feature in Google+, you can pick and choose exactly who you share with each time you post something. You can share extremely private posts with just family or friends and you can also share a professional or business related post with just your co-workers.

Build your brand

Building a reputation isn’t always easy, especially when your name is new to the online world. In order to show your knowledge in whatever industry you’re interested in joining, adding a +1 to relevant articles and sites can help show that you’re engaged.

Say a business looking to hire an SEO professional is searching for “keyword research”. If you’ve done your research and added a +1 to articles surrounding this topic, your face will show up next to some of the results, which will help send the message that you’re a thought leader, and not just another self-proclaimed SEO guru.

There’s a notification for everything

Have you heard of Google+ Notifications? You know what I’m talking about – that box that sits in the upper left hand corner of your screen when you’re using a Google service and notifies you when you’ve been tagged in a post with a +1. The problem is, if you’re not using a Google service, you don’t get these notifications, right? Wrong!

There just so happens to be a Chrome browser extension called Google+ Notifications that puts the notification bug next to the address bar so you can get alerts even when you’re not using Google. This is a huge benefit for those who are expected to see and respond immediately to comments but hate to always have their Google+ profile pulled up on their desktop.

When I said earlier that Google+ is underestimated by many, I wasn’t kidding. This Social Media platform can be used to greatly benefit you as a person, your business or your brand. By truly understanding the benefits of Google+, you’ll quickly come to discover that the functionality is far superior to that of any of the other Social Media networks, and certainly shouldn’t be forgotten.

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Blogging to Boost Your Bottom Line

Marketing experts agree, blogging has quickly become one of the best methods to attract interest and drive traffic to a business or a product.

While previously considered a mere social tool, Blogs have now become a reliable and trusted source of news and information for hundreds of thousands of people everyday and with this growing trend, the trend for professional blog services who can tactfully perform posting for business (along with building effective search-engine marketing strategies and demonstrate proven results) are also on the rise!

Professional Guest Blogging Services have not only been shown to boost business or product popularity but also to enhance public relations, offer indirect sales opportunities, and provide significant SEO benefits.

“While anyone with a good topic and an opinion may be able to author a blog post,” says Mountain Media CEO and Search Engine Optimization expert, James Curley. “The art of Guest Blogging for SEO purposes requires so much more than simply writing interesting content. It requires an in-depth understanding of search engines, a wealth of expertise in search marketing and the ability to develop and properly execute a customized program that will deliver businesses with real results”.

Mountain Media’s comprehensive Guest Blogging Service includes the careful analysis and identification of popular blogs across the globe that may provide the best placement opportunity for the client. After negotiating with owners and editors of these carefully selected target blogs to secure optimum placement, Mountain Media’s skilled SEO Authors craft content based on the client’s specific marketing goals and then further work to meet the identified marketing strategy and drive results.

Mountain Media has been providing businesses with Search Engine Marketing services for over ten years and their team of experts boast a proven track record of success, having helped clients across a wide-array of industries, markets and disciplines to meet or exceed their online goals. Guest Blogging Services is a powerful tool in the arsenal of Search Marketing services that Mountain Media offers including:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Keyword Research
  • Content Development
  • Link Building
  • Blog Development
  • Shopping Feed Submission
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Reporting
  • PPC Campaigns
  • Google Tools Integration
  • Website Development
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