One of the problems with content creation on the Internet is seeing your content getting ripped off and loaded up on another site without any credit being give to you as the original author. Sometimes the people ripping off the content even go so far as to say it’s their content and brand it as such. Not very nice.
There are a few options to find your content, one is using Google Alerts which allows you to search for titles or text in your article. The image below shows an example configuration – This would check daily for a list of sites using your article.
Secondly you could use a service like Copyscape which does an even better job of checking because it enables you to paste in a paragraph of text from your article (paid version) or enables you to enter your url and looks for posts of that (free version). and looks for sites with that text. The paid version works better (of course).
But even if you find the people copying your content, it’s not that easy to get them to admit it it, let alone remove it, so why not ensure that you take steps to ensure that Google sees the article as yours so that anyone copying your content will get no real benefit from it. There is a way to do this, and thats the subject of this post.
The Google Authorship program, also know as Author rank, or rel=”author”, and related programs like Publisher rank or it’s alternate name rel=”publisher” are aimed at associating content you create with a real person and/or real website (irrespective of where you are posting that content).
The benefits to you of using this program Google created is that as you start to create more and more content, Google (and other search engines using Author rank) track this content, linking it to a profile you create, making it harder for people to benefit from it because it will be far more obvious who the original author was.
Additionally once you have configured it correctly it creates a really cool entry in the search engine result pages (SERPs). Here is an example of a “normal” search engine result you would see by searching (I did a search for web traffic).
Notice the difference? Not only is there a nice shiny picture that is associated with the entry in the regular SERP, but there is also an additional link that points to your Google+ profile which Google use in their program to associate your content with a real person. Pretty cool huh?
This is one of the biggest reasons to use the Google authorship program, to make your entries in the SERP’s stand out. Which entry would you be more likely to click, the bland one in the first example, or the one with the shiny image and additional information in the second one ?
I think you would have to agree the second one is more enticing. Yes the title, and description still have some sway in whether you would click or not, but assuming that is similar to other entries it’s likely you are going to get more traffic because more people will click entries like this than ones without images.
And indeed in our testings, increased click through rates (CTR’s) of 20-30% are common. So merely by setting up this program for your websites you can expect to get 20 or 30% more traffic!
In addition, your content is attached to you making it a lot harder for people to copy it and claim it as their own.
The bad news is that the program can be a little fiddly to set up and that the results are not immediate and can be a little flaky – Thats probably to be expected in something so new, but I am sure Google will sort out these problems over time.
The other thing to mention here is that it appears you need a certain amount of authority before your images start showing, I am presuming this is to avoid allowing the spammers from taking advantage of this. After all, what point would this program be if everyone could immediately benefit? All it would do is put images on ALL results in the SERP’s making it fair less effective for these real people using this the right way.
In my next article I will be explaining how to implement this, step by step (and I will update this article and link to the new article once it’s done). I will show how to setup the Google plus profile, and using the right tags to link to your content to get this working.
As you need a google plus profile, I suggest for now you watch these two google plus setup videos I put together which show you step by step how to get a google+ account configured. Watch the videos and then setup your google+ profile in preparation for implementing author rank in my next article.
Before I finish up, I want to discuss publisher rank or rel=”publisher” as it’s also referred to. This does a similar thing, but is aimed at websites and not individuals. The idea here is to associate google+ for business pages with real websites.
The benefits to this are similar to the rel=”author” program but for websites, and yes you can combine the two for even more leverage.
Note the image below the description and the extra text “Web Traffic Genius” shared this – This is another example of standing out of the crowd and getting more traffic. The image comes from the google plus for business page that has been configured for this website.
The point is Google (and other search engines) are giving us tools to help protect our content and to make that content stand out of the crowd, so we should be using it.
Watch this video from Google’s Matt Cutts and Othar Hansson for an overview of the Google authorship program (rel=”author” and Author rank are again other names this goes by). Note my next article will greatly simplify what is explained in this video.
Thanks for reading, and as mentioned above stay tuned for part two of the Google authorship series where I will actually go through how to configure this for your websites, showing you the best plugins and methods to get this working quickly and easily.