What is Google Authorship and Author Rank?
Google Authorship is the process of tagging content you own to Google via your Google Plus profile.
It tells Google that you created your content first. (This is great in case thieves copy your content.)
Google used to display your name and picture next to your site in the results, but they stopped doing this in August, 2014.
Your Author Rank is your online reputation based on the articles you write and how much they are shared via social media and by whom.
The more shares your content receives by influencial people, the more it will drive up your Author Rank.
In the long run, this may have a big impact on where your content ranks in Google.
So if you want to build a solid profile with Google, you need to first begin tagging all your content.
To put it simply, your Author Rank is your online reputation based on how popular your content becomes.
I still think it's worth tagging your content to your Google profile as described below, even though Google.com no longer shows the site owner's name next to the results. Authorship may be gone from the results, but you can still build your Author Rank.
Steps to Setting it All Up
1. Start by creating a Google Plus profile. Google requires you to use a real name, not a website name for the initial setup.
2. Add websites you own to the Contributor section of your profile.
3. If you want to ensure all your web pages use Google Authorship, make sure you include a link to your Google Plus profile on all your pages (footer, sidebar, etc.)
Many people opt to do this by adding their name to the footer or byline like I do on this site.
Add the following inside the <head> of your page...<link rel="author" href="https://plus.google.com/xxxxxxxxxxxxxx/>
Of course you would replace the link information with your Google Plus profile link.
Understand that Author Rank is not an instant ticket to Google Traffic Land. This is only one part of the puzzle. (Read details about search engine optimization here.)
It's more about connecting all the content that you own and attaching it to your name for branding purposes and building your individual author rank as a content publisher.
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