Adding your Face to your Google Listings

If you have been surfing the net recently, you may have noticed that some of the results that Google is returning are accompanied by a small picture of the author.  If you haven’t seen it yet, do a google search for “10 Facebook Tips” and take a look at the 2nd listing.

You should be seeing a listing for an article fro Mashable called ” 10 Cool Facebook Status Tips and Tricks” and right there on the left is a little avatar picture of the author, Amy-Mae Elliott!  How cool  is that!!??

Of course I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how this is happening, and it turns out it’s all part of the new way Google wan’ts to share our informaiton online. 

Rich Snippets!

OK so that won’t make much sense right now, but essentially a Rich Snippet is a series of codes used in the layout of your website to tell Google what the website is about.  Not like regular HTML though, this level of code identificaiton can actually tell Google if your site is a Review site, how many reviews a PRoduct has, who the Author of the post is and a whole ton of other information.

What you see in the result in Google depends on what Rich Snippets the authoer has used, and in the case of the article above, Mashable has set it’s code to tell Google who the Authr of the article is.  Google then cross-references it with it’s database of Google Users (ah see how GooglePlus is valuable now?) – and then shows a small icon and the name of the Author.

That’s great and all, but does it help your site any?

Well according to Google it makes ZERO difference to your rankings which is too  bad.  BUT… they do hint (and common sense would agree) that the listings with the author pics, or other Rich Snippet information tend to attract a LOT more clicks.  It makes sense if you think about it, the visibility is a lot higher for that lnk, and with it being so new the pure curiosity factor is helping too no doubt.

There are a lot of useful ways to use this new coding system, especially for Product sites.  Retailers and Reviewers can now add specific markup to tell Google what kind of product it is, the products name, how many reviews it has received, what the average rating of it is, what the price is … just tons of informaiton. 

The coding schema has been around for a while, but with Google heading deeply into the space you can expect to see a lot more of it.

Have you noticed any listings with ‘extra info’ added to them?  Let me know where below:

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  • Rich snipplets are definitely the next wave and knowing that the article was written by someone authenticated will make a difference to where users click.

  • George Smith

    How do we add it?

  • Right now Rich Snippets are a bit tricky to implement, and can take some working through.  Essentially they use the Schema.org [http://schema.org/] protocol for organising your markup into semantic heirachies.  To identify yourself as an Author, you use the People heirachy to markup your code, and then identify links to your About page with rel=author.  

    Sear Engine Land has a good primer article that decodes some of the jargon here:

    http://searchengineland.com/google-adds-authorship-rich-snippet-markup-80455

    Once you have marked your code up you can test it with the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool here:

    http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

    Although to be fair, even if your code is perfect and shows you as the Author (Im still working the bugs out for RF) – there’s no guarantee Google will begin to display it for your site.  Seems they are playing favourites with larger sites as beta testers?

    http://www.leemunroe.com/google-rich-snippets/