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Google Authorship: How to Dress Up Your Search Results to Demand Attention

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Have you ever been searching for something (or for yourself or one of your competitors) and noticed that many of the organic search results seem much more appealing? You aren’t imagining things — and yes, you can make your search results do that too. Read on to learn how you can attract more eyeballs to your search results.

Start Using Rich Snippets

One of the first things you can do is use “rich snippets.” Sites that properly use rich snippets earn special attention in their search listings. I’m not sure why they decided to call them rich snippets, but hey, it’s as good as anything, I guess. Bing, Yahoo, and Google are all on board. That right there should tell you this is something you shouldn’t ignore.

In order to have your site show up with rich snippets, you simply have to include some special code on your pages. No matter what kind of site you have, there’s bound to be a rich snippet you can apply — for example, events, products, reviews, businesses, organizations, and people. Yep, there are a lot of them (check them out here on Google’s guide to using rich snippets).

Here’s an example of a rich snippet showing up in the search results with star ratings:
Search listing with star ratings

Here’s an example of rich snippets for events:

Example of search results using events style rich snippets

Now imagine someone doing a search and turning up your site in the results with something like that. Pretty nifty, wouldn’t you say? Don’t you think more people might take a chance and click through? You bet. If you sell products you can even have prices or special offers show up right on the search results page.

Google’s Schema Creator makes it easy to get the code you need. Simply fill in a few blanks and out pops the code. There are also several help videos on the individual pages to help you if you get stuck.

Google’s Authorship Feature

What’s better than posting an amazing article or blog commentary that gets plenty of attention for your business? Having your mug and information show up with it on search results! To make this happen, you should make sure you have a Google+ profile. Many people have claimed huge click-through rates after they added authorship and their author photo started appearing next to their posts.

But wait! There’s more. If someone clicks on your article or blog post and spends enough time on the page, then hits the back button, guess what? You’re likely to get even more exposure. Obviously they thought your content was helpful, cool, or whatever the case may be, right? So when people hit the back button and return to the search results, they’re given further links to more of your content. Check it out.

A search for “ making a new folder on iphone” gave me this:
Search listing showing google authorship in action

After browsing and staying on the page a few minutes, I hit the back button. Now look what showed up:
Search results example of bonus links for google authorship

Of course, as with everything else that you do for your business, quality is still an essential factor. Don’t use just any old image for your author profile pic. This is the image that will represent you and your business far and wide. If you really want to climb the ladder, test click-through rates on several different images to discover which one gets the best response.

Ready to get your authorship going? It can get a bit crazy, so set aside a decent chunk of time. Here’s an in-depth guide to Google’s Authorship Markup.

Get Yourself Some Sitelinks (or at Least Try)

Have you noticed that some searches enjoy a multitude of links on the search results page? Those are sitelinks. Here’s an example:

Search results showing sitelinks

Sometimes, their extra links will appear on a single line under the result, similar to text links you’d see in an article:
Search results showing google sitelinks on a single line

Okay, I know that you’d love to have these extra links. And I’m sorry to have to tell you there’s no absolutely guaranteed method of getting them. It all depends on how Google views the search term and your site. They’ve kept everything pretty hush-hush, leaving everyone with only tons of speculation about how to get sitelinks. Watch this video of Google’s Matt Cutts talking about it:

Let’s say you’re lucky enough to get some sitelinks. Congratulations! Google hearts your site. At least you get a little bit of control at this point. In Google’s Webmaster Tools you can tell them which pages you do NOT want to show up in your sitelinks.

Conclusion

Jazzing up your search result listings can help you earn a lot more clicks to your site (as long as your rankings are high enough to ensure the search results get seen!). It just takes a little time to get it all set up. But it’s well worth it!

If you’d like help, just contact us and we’ll work hard to make you look the best you possibly can.

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Jayson DeMers

Jayson DeMers is the Founder & CEO of AudienceBloom. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

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