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Google+ is Important Because of Google Authorship. Here's How to Set it Up

Social media evangelists often promote the Big Four: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Add Google+ to the mix, if only for the advantage of Google Authorship.
Google+ has become the second largest social network in terms of active users. And, more importantly, it connects to Google Authorship. But, with an active presence on Twitter, Facebook and other social channels, I’m not a heavy user of Google+, and you don’t have to be either. It’s enough to have a profile so you can set up your Google Authorship, then organically build your community as time permits. Some have discovered that they prefer Google+ and lessened engagement on other channels. I’m not there…yet.

So what is Google Authorship?

Google Authorship lets writers claim their online content and allows Google to find additional content written by them via their Google+ profile. Author markup appears in search engine results, including a photo and Google+ stats. This “rich snippit” provides credibility and a trust factor that generally results in higher click through rates.
If you have any existing Google account (Gmail, Google docs, Google Webmaster Tools, etc.), then you already have a basic Google+ profile.  Google authorship markup will require additional, specific data in your profile, so let’s get to it.

Setting Up Google+ Authorship

Go to the “About” page on your Google+ profile, click on “Edit” below the “Contributor To” field, and add the URLs of blogs and websites you write for.
While signed in, go to the Google Authorship instruction page to guide you through the process which includes verifying email address(es) and making sure your byline name matches the name on your Google+ profile.
According to Google, the easiest and most reliable way to enable authorship information in Google search results is to provide a verified email address on the same domain as your content. Another option, if you have access to edit the site where your posts appear, is to use the rel=”author” prarmater.
After you’re done, verify Authorship with Google Rich Snippet Testing Tool.

If your blog or website is hosted on WordPress – highly recommended – the second “verification” step is much easier. Log into the dashboard of your site, click on the “Users” tab and enter your Google+ ID in the box provided.
Still not convinced to hook up your posts to Google Authorship? Check out 10 Reasons Writers Should Claim Their Google Authorship Markup.
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