Search Engine Optimization has become a more complicated game since Google decided to start looking at social networking indicators, known as social signals, to determine where you should rank in their search results. One question I get regularly is “How does Google know what sites, social mentions, profiles, etc are about me and my business?” The answer is simple. You tell them. You need to link together all the parts of your web presence so that Google can easily understand how it all ties together.
Now the web privacy advocates among you are probably crying foul right now and with good reason. Google is basically forcing you to create as well defined footprint on the internet as possible. If you are a private citizen who is not looking to do search engine optimization on your website, read no further. But if you are a business person who wants to be found on the Internet, you just need to accept it is a Google World now and put your privacy concerns aside. If you want to rant about it, please add a comment to my blog post about how Google is Evil. But in the meantime here is how you make sure Google can follow all your footsteps on the internet.
Step 1 Add All Your Social Media Profiles and Websites to Google+. Surprise, surprise that this process would start with Google+. Google really, really wants you to use Google+ and they are creating all sorts of search engine optimization benefits for using it. So go to your Google+ page. Click profile and then select the “about” tab. Click the edit profile button found just above your profile image.
Then scroll down to the bottom of your profile and look for “Other Profiles” and “Contributor To.” Other Profiles is where you are going to add the links to your social media profiles and “Contributor To” is where you are going to add your blog and website.
Click on “Contributor To” and it will bring up the edit screen for links. You have 2 fields to fill out which are fairly self explanatory, label & url. Label is the text you want to appear as the link from your Google+ profile, in my case “Farland Lee Website & Blog.” URL is the actual link to your website or blog, in my case it is http://jacksonholewebdesigners.com. If you have more than one, you can click on the “Add custom link” button just below the link you just added and do it again. You can also reorder the links by clicking and dragging the double line of dots next to each link. Hit save and voila! You have a link or links to your website(s) and blog(s).
Then repeat the process for “Other Profiles” adding all of your social media profiles.
Step 2 Add author and publisher information to your website or blog. If you are using WordPress, this step is relatively easy, if not, it will take a little bit of code but not too much. Grab the url to your Google+ profile by going to Google+, clicking on the about tab again and copying the URL that appears in the address bar at the top of your browser. In my case it is https://plus.google.com/u/1/102880129210906897229/about. You can remove the /u/1 if you like and make it https://plus.google.com/102880129210906897229/about which is a little cleaner, but it works either way. If you are not using WordPress skip down to “What to do if you are not using WordPress” if you are using WordPress, read on!
Then go to your profile page in the WordPress Admin Dashboard under “Users” “Your Profile” and scroll down to “Contact Info.” There you will find a space to input your Google+ URL. Paste in the link you just copied. Hit Save and you are done.
WordPress Bonus! You can also add a couple more useful items if you install the very useful plugin, WordPress SEO by Yoast, and set a couple of options. I am not going to walk you through installing the plugin, hopefully you know how to do that. So install the plugin. It will give you a guided tour which includes a lot of great advice and tools for search engine optimization. But for our purposes, we are interested in one page in the settings. So in your WordPress Dashboard, look for SEO toward or at the bottom. Click on it and go to “Titles & Metas.” Click the second tab “Home” and look for Author metadata. The first field, author highlighting, will add author tagging to your homepage. The second field, Google Publisher Page, is where you can add your Google+ Business Page URL. Now skip down to the section “Testing your Changes.”
What to do if you are not using WordPress. If you are not using wordpress you need to add the rel=”author” tag manually. It requires a little basic html. There 2 ways to do this, in the head section of your html where it can only been seen by search engines or in the body of your content so it can be followed by people as well. A simple link to your Google+ profile is all you need. In the head section of your html, you would add this to make yourself the author:
<link rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/117638657869584900783/about“>
The URL is the URL to your Google+ profile which you copied earlier.
In order to add your Google+ Business Page as the publisher, you will need to add this:
<link rel=”publisher” href=”https://plus.google.com/101437134162328064364/about“>
The URL is the URL of your Google+ Business page.
If you want to add the link to the text of your article, it is equally straightforward. The syntax is just a little different. For your author tag you would add something like this:
<a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/117638657869584900783/about“>Find me on Google+</a>
which would look like this: Find me on Google+
For the Publisher attribute, it would be this:
<a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/101437134162328064364/about“>Farland Lee Online on Google+</a>
which would look like this: Farland Lee Online on Google+
It is important to note that you will need to add these links to every page that you want Google to know you are the author of or your company is the publisher of. Google will not look at your home page to determine these things on other pages.
Step 3, Test Your Work. Google offers a handy tool called the “Structured Data Testing Tool” aka the Rich Snippet Tool which will allow you to see what your new meta data looks like to Google and the other search engines. It is very simple to use. Simply copy the URL of the page you want to test (the page where you just added all this great author info) and input it into the tool, then hit “Preview.” It will show you exactly what metadata is being picked up by Google.
Assuming you see what is shown in the image above you are done. Congratulations!
This was was fairly technical today so if you have a question about how to do this or I was unclear, please post your question in the comments below and I would be happy to clarify. Want more SEO tips delivered to your inbox? Add your email to our newsletter list in the upper right of this page.