A couple of weeks ago Nick and I were lucky enough to attend Distilled’s 2-day SEO conference – SearchLove; and one of the key messages that I took away was that Conversion Rate Optimisation starts in the SERPs. I think that this is really important because SEO’s traditionally focus on rankings and driving traffic to the website through SEO, whilst designers engage and convert them once they actually land on the website itself.
So the search listings themselves (the SERPS), are kind of like the ‘No-Mans-Land’ in between that can often be overlooked and under utilised for increasing click-through conversion. On the first day of SearchLove alone, Two separate speakers talked about this in their presentations. Initially Return On Digital’s CEO Guy Levine, emphasised how key this was for SMEs in the ever-increasing competition to rank highly whilst on a tight SEO budget. And later on SEOMOZ’s Rand Fishkin suggested a that a website ranking third with a Rich Snippet like a Video Thumbnail or Author photo, could receive more clicks than the first two listed listings combined.
The first things to do are obvious, scrutinise and tweak your Page Titles and Meta Descriptions. By all means include your keyword(s), but make sure these key snippets of information engage users with a USP or reason to click through. Then you have Rich Snippets – notably Star Ratings, Video Thumbnails and Author Photos. All of which are incredibly valuable – but for this week’s tutorial we’re going to show you how simple it is, to bring out your Google+ photo in the SERPs.
How to add your Google+ Profile Photo/Image in the Search Results (SERPS)
So, as you’ve probably noticed, Google are piloting mugshots in the listings however there’s no guarantee that even if you set this up correctly that they’ll allow your image to appear.
There’s now two ways to can enable this feature but firstly you need to make sure you have (and I quote google): “a good, recognizable headshot as your profile photo”. We’re not 100% sure whether photos are moderated by people or software but it’s obviously worth following the guidelines.
Option 1 – Verify via an Email Address
This new option is pretty simple. Make sure you have an email address for the domain name that you’d like the author photos to appear for. For example, if your domain is widgets.co.uk you want email@example.com. Next you need to ensure that on your individual blog-post pages, you need a clear byline like “By James Bavington”.
Then you simply head over to Google Plus’ Authorship Page (logged in obviously) and submit the email address, and verify the follow up email verification email that Google will send to it.
Option 2 – Use rel=author to link your profile
If you can’t set-up an email address for the domain, then you can use the original method to verify. Simply create a link to your Google+ profile from your webpage using the code below, obviously replacing the zeros with your profile ID from your Google+ URL.
You can also change the anchor text if you wish but it’s really important to include the rel author parameter otherwise it won’t work. The last step, is to add a reciprocal link back from your Google+ profile to the root website URL that you’re blogging on. Simply add this to the “Contributor To Section” by adding a customer link. That’s it’s simply a waiting game. I only set this up on the Creare blog about 2 months ago, and it took about 3 weeks to start filtering through.