Have you noticed lately that in Google Search pictures are starting to appear alongside some of the results? Certainly makes it stand out from the crowd even if you aren't exactly Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie.
So what's going on?
Personally I think it's a clever attempt by Google to help promote Google +.
In case you haven't heard Google+ is the new social media kid on the block and a direct rival to Facebook. In fact he's growing up fast! When Google+ first appeared it grew by 10,000,000 users per week. It is now well over 50,000,000 and counting. It's one of the places you must go to promote your book - but more about that in my next post.
Placing your picture alongside your article really increases your credibility and a recent survey suggests the number of clicks increased by 150% after a picture or rich snippet was added. So let's say you have written a promotional article somewhere, thanks to the Google authorship markup and the rel=author tag you can get your smiling face out there alongside it.
Right, how do we go about making it happen?
Visit this page: Google Authorship:
If you do not you need to create a Google account first.
This is a simple process, just visit: Google Accounts
The page will look something like this:
Click the red SIGN UP button on the top right.
You will be taken to this page:
A gmail account is all you need to have a Google+ account. Once you complete the sign up process you have immediate access to your Google+ account.
In future when you are logged into your Google account you will notice that the bar above has an addition - your name with "+ " alongside it. Located on the top left corner.
The first time you do this will take you the Google+ Signup page.
All you need do is enter your First Name and Last Name, then select Gender, and finally click on Upgrade. You are now a member of Google+.
We will explore the considerable benefits of being an active member of Google+ in the next post but Google Authorship will still work for you as long as you complete your profile.In future the first page I see when I click on +Phil will be my Home page.
See the similarities with Facebook?
My picture is showing (sorry about that) but yours will be blank until you set up Your Profile.
This is what you must do before you can become a 'Google author'. It's the head shot of you that will appear in Google Search next to your url so make sure you upload a good one!
Careful, I think there are already too many George Clooney look alikes drifting around on the net. Seriously, the more you can share with people the better. It's all about building trust and the more you share the more people will trust you.
Ok, let's just walk through the rest of your Google+ account.
The first thing you will be asked to do is add people you know to your Circles.
Click on the Add to Circles button and this drop down menu will appear:
Tick the Circle you want to place the person in. For example I will click on the button alongside Paul omahony and add him to my Acquaintances.
On Google+ Circles act as folders. You can add your own folders.
In my case I might want to create a folder called I Love Charles Dickens and include others who feel the same.
How do I do this? I'll tell you in the next post and how you can find people who share your interests or are interested in the things you write about. This is really powerful stuff.
To create a new Circle(folder) simply click on Create New Circle below Following on the drop down menu (see above). You may want to name a folder Celebrities because on the next page you will be asked to follow public posts from interesting and famous people.
I will leave you to choose who you find interesting or not as the case may be.
Click Continue and this page appears:
Click on Finish.
To add your picture click on the photo and you will see this page:
Click on the Profile Photo.
Now click on Select a picture from your computer. . .
Upload your selected picture:
Click on Set as profile photo.
You have now added the photo that will appear alongside your Search Results.
As already stated this is a great way to give yourself an unfair advantage with Google search results but like every struggling author we need all the help we can get!
In the next post we will set up the Google Authorship Account and discover a way to make connections with people who are interested in what we are writing or selling. But first, let's finish our Profile.
Here's mine to give you an example. Share as much as you can as this really helps in creating trust and building strong relationships.
Congratulations! You have now set up your Google+ account and Profile.
It is from your Profile that we will link to Google Authorship.
Get used to your new account andI I will see you next post.