Last time, I answered the question, What is Author Rank? I encourage you to read it if you're unsure because Author Rank is positioned to change search as we know it.
In a nutshell, Google recognizes that there are people on the web who produce really great content. Google also recognizes there are people on the web who produce not-so-good content. Google wants the stuff of good authors to rise to the top of the search results, and they want the stuff of the not-so-good authors to sink to the bottom.
How to get started with Author Rank
What you need to do is to make sure Google knows which content on the web belongs to you. That makes sense, right?
In geek speak, you need to attach the rel="author" or the rel="me" tag to everything you've written. "But wait," you say. "Considering all the posts, status updates, tweets and other things I've written, how will I do that?" And also, "What in the world does that mean anyway?!"
Have no fear, I turn geek speak into plain English. I'm here to help ya.
Here's what to do:
Step 1: Sign up for a Google account
There's no way around this. It must be done if you are going to take advantage of Author Rank.
If you already have a Google account (you do if you have Gmail), skip to Step 2 below. If you don't, follow along.
Google works like this: you create a Google account which acts like an umbrella. Then, you activate various Google products underneath it, like Google+ or Google Analytics.
Tip: When creating your account, use the name you use when you write content on other places around the web.
I highly recommend Gmail (and use it myself), but if you're absolutely opposed and you want to use a different email address, I will refer you to this post on Lifehacker for a possible alternative.
For the remainder of this post, I will assume you have a Gmail account.
Step 2: Activate your Google+ profile
You must have a Google+ profile in order to benefit from Author Rank. This is how Google knows you are the person you say you are and can connect your content to you.
Login to your Gmail account.
Click the +You link in the top left corner of your screen. You can also use this link to get to the same place.
Upload a picture for your profile image and click the "Set as profile photo" button.
Tips for your photo:
- I recommend a clear headshot with your head filling most of the square (remember, these are small in the stream so a full body shot is going to be teeny tiny).
- Use a picture of you, not a logo.
- Edit your image (such as cropping) if you'd like. Drag the boxes in the corners to resize the crop box.
- As I've said before, I like using the same profile picture across all social media platforms so my branding is consistent. The same photo you use for your Gravatar is a good idea here.
- Click "Set as profile photo" button.
Once you're all set up, you'll need to fill out your Google+ profile.
Step 3: Fill out your Google+ profile
First, you can always get to your Google+ Home by clicking +YourName at the top of the screen when you're using Gmail or other Google products.
To access your Google+ profile, click the Profile icon in the left column.
Once in your Profile, click the "Edit Profile" button in the top-right.
(When you're in edit mode, you can hover and click on any section on this page to edit it. The section will turn a light blue when you hover over it.)
When it comes to Author Rank, the main section you want to fill out is the "Contributor to" section near the bottom of your About tab.
Hover over it until it turns blue and click. Add any site you own or have written for.
To do this:
- Click "Add custom link"
- Enter site name
- Enter URL
- Select Public from the dropdown menu (unless you have reason to limit the visibility).
Other sections I recommend you fill out on your profile's About tab:
- Your "Other profiles" section with links to all your other social media profiles.
- The "Employment" section for the reasons I explained earlier.
- Your Introduction. Note that you can add links to your blog and other projects in the Introduction section. Handy. Check mine out here.
- Lastly, make your +1's public. Do this by clicking on the +1's tab just under your cover image at the top of the screen. Make sure the "Show this tab on your profile" is checked. Save.
Once you have completed editing your profile, click the "Done editing" button at the top of the screen.
Welcome to Google+! We are halfway there. I know it can be a bit overwhelming so we'll stop there for now. Stay tuned for Steps 4, 5 & 6 later this week. It's a good time to subscribe so you don't miss it!