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Google Authorship Is Gone: How Do You Establish Authority Now?

Dominique Jackson
Google Authorship Is Gone: How Do You Establish Authority Now?

Google has done away with Google Authorship completely. Initially, they were just going to remove author images from the search results, but ultimately decided to scrap the entire thing.

Personally, I was a fan of GA, and I’m sure a lot of you were too. Google created a way to give credit to content creators for the work they produced around the web. This was a great concept because it:

  • Allowed people to build their authority within an industry;
  • Made pages with authorship markup stand out more in search results;
  • Made it easier to organize content from certain authors directly from the search results page;
  • Pushed traffic to your Google+ page;
  • Let you see how well the content you produced on other sites performed via Webmaster Tools; and
  • Spread your mug all across the internet!

The benefits of GA for content creators, marketers, and businesses were plentiful. But what it did for building authority and credibility was probably one of the top benefits. Now that authorship is gone, how in the world are you supposed to establish yourself (or your clients) as an authority in your industry?

Keep reading to find out.

Get Social Media Blazing

We’ve been hearing about how important social media is going to be for the future of search. Even though Google hasn’t come flat out and said it, industry experts like Josh Bachynski have said that social shares and mentions of your company on social media are factors in search rankings.

But aside from the SEO benefits of social media, it’s probably one of the best solutions we have available for publicly showing our expertise on a given topic or industry. Excluding celebrities, some of the most popular accounts on Twitter, Google+ and even Facebook are industry experts and thought leaders. Why? Because people look to them for the latest news and information within their particular field.

In order to use social media to effectively build yourself as an authority, you have to stop thinking of it as a promotional tool, and more as an inbound marketing solution. This means shifting your mind state from, “How can I get more clients from social media?” to, “How can I help my fan base through social media?”

There are plenty of examples of companies and individuals that do this all over social media. Just look at the SEMrush Twitter page. A majority of the content they share isn’t from their own blog. They simply share the best content from around the web that’s relevant to their audience. They don’t make every tweet about themselves or their tools. That way, even if someone isn’t a current customer of theirs, they still follow them because they know they’ll get valuable and helpful information from them. And at some point, they may decide to sign up for a SEMrush account. This is the way social media should be done.

Here are some simple tips to turn your social media accounts into authority building platforms:

1. Mention your industry within your profile, and make sure you complete your profile 100%. 2. Come up with a list of resources like blogs or YouTube channels that you can share content from. 3. Create a list of industry influencers and popular social media accounts within your industry. Follow them and retweet, +1, repin and "like" their social media posts. 4. Come up with a consistent posting schedule for social media posts. Use a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer to help make it easier. 5. Keep promotional social media updates to a minimum. 6. Search for people tweeting and posting questions or comments related to your industry, and provide solutions to their problem. Again, use a tool to make this easier.

Social media was already vital for online marketers. But with the loss of GA, it’s even more important that you’re able to use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and other platforms to establish yourself as an authority and as someone that people in your industry need to pay attention to.

Are You Blogging Yet?

Company blogs have gone from being a nice little addition on a website, to becoming the norm for a lot of companies. Ironically, the introduction of GA is actually what motivated some companies to include a blog on their websites.

With the loss of GA, you might feel discouraged to do a company blog. But it actually makes more sense than ever to start blogging right now. Inbound marketing and content marketing are the future of the way companies will market their products and services. A blog is one of the first steps you can take toward going inbound and gaining authority.

However, just making posts about discounts you’re offering or doing self-promotional blog posts isn’t going to get people reading your blog. Instead, you need to focus on using your blog to educate, inform and entertain your target audience. Whether you’re a lawyer, doctor, plumber, carpenter or software company, you have in-depth knowledge of your industry. Your blog is your platform to share some of that helpful information you have with the public.

You know what happens when you post awesome high-quality content on your blog that’s helpful? People link to it!

This is the way Google wants you to get backlinks — by posting articles, infographics, videos and other content that people find helpful. So helpful in fact, that they share it with others and spread the word. As your content spreads, more people will think of your site, and subsequently your company, as knowledgeable on a particular subject and view you as an authority.

There are a lot of great resources that can show you how to blog the right way such as Copyblogger or Pro Blogger. But here are some key things to remember:

1. Research industry-related topics for blog ideas. This post should help you. 2. Blogging can help your SEO, but remember to write for people, not search engines. 3. Come up with a consistent blogging schedule and post regularly. 4. If you’re a company, get all team members involved to utilize your pool of expertise. 5. Don’t limit yourself to just articles. Mix in videos, infographics and other types of content as well. 6. Think from the viewpoint of your potential customers. What information would they want/need in order to learn more about your industry.

Keep in mind that blogging most likely won’t produce immediate results. Just like SEO, it’s a long-term strategy that can help build your credibility and authority over time. So if you’re not getting traffic or social media shares for your blog post for the first couple of months, don’t abandon ship. Stick with it and make it part of your overall marketing strategy.

Spy On Industry Leaders

Look at some of the most well-known companies or people within your industry. Who are the go-to sources when people think about your industry? For instance, for search engine related news, a lot of people think of Search Engine Journal. For blogging tips, they may think of Darren Rowse or Patt Flynn. After you’ve identified the people on top, your next step is going to be to imitate them.

I’ve been using SEMrush to “spy” on competitors and see where they’re getting links from. Chances are, if you can have a presence on some of the sites that your competitor does, you’ll be able to get some of the clout, recognition and authority they have too.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say we own a spa, and want to see where some of the top spas are getting links from so we can replicate their strategy and get a presence on the same platforms. I performed a search through SEMrush for “day spa,” and got a list of the top-ranking sites. You could also just enter your site’s URL. Here’s what popped up:

spa competitaion 

Let’s choose Massage Envy. Here are their referring domains (the domains of the sites linking to them). You could also look at the actual backlink URLs to see exactly where the link is placed.

massage envy 

Here comes the somewhat boring, but necessary, part. Start going through the backlinks and see which links are from authority sites that you could potentially appear on too. While dofollow links would be nice, this isn’t all about SEO. We’re trying to build authority by getting found on reputable sites within the industry. So don’t just look for opportunities for backlinks. Focus on finding sites that are known and will give you exposure.

Here are some tips for spying on competitors:

1. Look for the top competitors within your industry. Even if they’re much larger than you, it doesn’t mean you can’t get on the same sites they’re on. 2. When looking for opportunities, look for well-known sites and make getting on those sites your top priority. 3. Once you’ve identified sites you want to get on, don’t spam them by begging for links. Figure out who to contact, and email or call them. The way you go about doing this will depend on the site and type of link it is. 4. Spy on multiple competitors. Find any sites that they share in common and prioritize them. 5. Track everything. Put all of the sites into a spreadsheet and leave notes for any type of communication you’ve had with the site owner.

This is a strong strategy that can really help you find out exactly where your competitors are online, and mimic them to build your own authority.

Guest Blogging Is Not Dead

There’s no need to relive the whole “guest blogging is dead” debate. This isn’t about guest blogging for links. This is about guest blogging for the purposes it was originally meant for:

  • Reaching out and networking with other sites within your industry;
  • Getting exposure to a new audience; and
  • Establishing yourself as an authority.

Here’s why I love guest posting so much, and what I feel the real power of it is. You may have your own audience that knows who you are, your products,and services. But unless you’re Coca Cola or some other gigantic company that everyone knows, there are A LOT of people who have no idea who you are and have never even seen your company’s name.

The site you’re guest posting on also has an audience of their own that knows and trusts them. By allowing you to guest post on their site, they are giving you the “thumbs up” to their audience and saying you’re a credible resource of information within your industry. This is much more valuable than just a backlink.

Now think about this. The people who read your guest post probably visit other related sites as well. If you are able to get guest posts on those blogs too, then people are seeing your name multiple times, from several different sources they know and trust. 

Finding guest posting opportunities isn’t too complicated. But unfortunately, a lot of people prefer to take the lazy way out and send out generic email blasts to hundreds or even thousands of people whom they’ve never made any contact with before. Sure this approach might get you a couple of posts, but nowhere near the amount of success you’d get by doing it the right way.

But what exactly is the “right way” to guest blog? Here are some great articles that go in-depth on tips for finding guest blogging opportunities and also on good outreach techniques:

In addition to those articles, here are some quick tips to keep in mind when guest blogging:

1. Create a quality post! This should go without saying, but don’t give websites garbage articles and ask them to publish them. It will hurt your reputation and probably get rejected. 2. Have samples of your writing you can show blogs to demonstrate your writing ability. 3. Always come up with article topics specifically for the blog you’re writing for. Don’t use rehashed blog posts. 4. Share all of your guest posts through social media, to your email list, and anywhere else you can. This shows the blog you’re posting on that you appreciate the opportunity and also gives the blog more exposure. 5. Read the blog you’re guest posting on. See what the general tone is on the blog, and what popular topics get covered. Your post should appeal to their audience. 6. Read their guest posting guidelines if they have them. Most sites that accept guest posts have rules. Make sure you read them carefully and don’t break them.

Guest blogging is still a great way to network, increase your exposure, and build authority. You just have to approach it the right way and do it for the right reasons.

No Authorship? No Problem!

Losing Google Authorship was definitely a setback, and something I’m sad to see go. But remember, GA was just one way to help establish and build your authority. Start implementing some of the strategies above to help fill the gap created by the loss of GA.

What are some strategies you've tried (or used more) since the end of Google Authorship?

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Dominique Jackson is the SEO Manager at Nova Advertising, a company that specializes in helping local small- and medium-sized businesses increase their visibility online and gain more customers.
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Joe Simmonds
I'm sure that Google Authorship still makes a difference to rankings. Google aren't displaying the profile picture in the SERPs any longer, likely because it was pulling clicks away from Adwords. Doesn't mean that activity on your G+ profile doesn't have an impact on your site's rankings if you've got authorship set up.
Dominique Jackson
Joe Simmonds
The Google Authorship markup no longer works https://support.google.com/web.... Being active on Google+ is definitely a good idea though. Your posts can still show up in the search results of people who follow you on Google+.
Joe Simmonds
Dominique Jackson
I have a feeling that linking back to your site with anchor text that is the same as (or similar to) your G+ profile name that's linked to your site makes a difference to rankings. It seems like an obvious way for Google to measure the importance of the author of a site, something that they have a patent for.

It must be hard for them to gauge the importance of an author but given that they've relied so heavily on backlinks as a website ranking factor so far, author name backlinks must factor in there somehow!
Dominique Jackson
Joe Simmonds
I think that's a good idea. More and more blogs are actually requesting that you link to one of your social media profiles in bylines instead of directly to your website. So linking to your Google+ profile could make sense. It's something I've done in the past, and will continue to do despite the authorship markup being gone.