Lately, one of the questions I’ve been getting frequently from our clients is about the display of author information and photos in Google search result pages.
Take a look at the Google search results screenshot below.
Doesn’t the second entry stand out, especially for someone in the business of selling homes?
Internet images, specifically real ones (as opposed to stock images) get attention, particularly in the quest to be seen as an authority and obtain the competitive edge that brings.
Consider these stats:
- Pieces accompanied by an image receive 94% more views.
- A whopping 60% of consumers tend to contact a business when an image appears in local search results.
- If you issue a newsletter with a photo and video, the views will be 45% higher than without those features.
The reasons why this happens is that a photo adds a human element to a crowded search results page, it differentiates your content from others, it improves the chances of appearing on the page and increases click-through rates.
The purpose of this Google update called authorship markup (technically, the rel=author tag) is that in addition to the benefits above, your author rank on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) will increase. This is because the more Google trusts your content (and who puts their photo next to something they do not trust), the better your piece will rank. It’s a Google reward for authors who create valuable content that people share and like.
If you want your photo to appear in Google search results for your website pages, you will need to:
- Create a Google + profile with your headshot photo or logo.
- If you have an email address with the same domain as your site (You@YourSiteName.com), you can activate your website authorship by submitting your email address to Google. This needs to be only done once.
- Alternatively, you can generate Google+ author code and install in your website pages in the Meta Tags area.
Google doesn’t guarantee to show your photo and author information in Google search results, but we have had success in all our projects.
If you’re not yet on Google +, you may want to join the 250 million users on the site like me. With this type of usage (All Gmail users will eventually have to set up a Google profile), a Google + profile is fast becoming an integral part of any realtor’s social media strategy.
If you’re a DIY type, you can set up your author page by following the instructions at: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1408986.
Eric Broze with the IDXnetwork Team