Have you ever wondered why some search results include a photo of the author along with the SERP result? It’s very simple actually. Allow me to explain.
Google has gone to great lengths to improve the user search and results experience, as well as develop their own social media property in Google+. The Google Authorship (rel=”author”) tag combines the best of search and social by delivering authenticated content search results. This is great news for authors and content marketers, as adding a little bit of script to your blog can accomplish two things; inform Google that your original content is actually yours, and secondly, improve your click through rate by attracting the user to your profile picture which is leveraged from your Google+ profile.
Above is an example of a SERP result for one of my posts. Which one would you click on? Studies have shown that eye gaze is an effective cue for directing attention in adults. The article featured above me was posted around the same time. Even though my post appears below this one, it is more likely to receive a click as it stands out and has a human face. Compelling copy also helps but it is no longer the dominant feature of the search result. So make sure you use a compelling picture for your profile.
The good news is, if you have a WordPress blog you can easily add your Google+ credentials with a plugin called Google Authorship Widget and your articles will begin indexing along with your picture in about 4-5 weeks. If you don’t have WordPress, you can simply add rel=”author” with a link to your Google profile on your blog in your header file.
Here’s a video explaining the whole process: