Ryan Hanley

author, speaker, marketing geek

How Rich Snippets Changed Content Marketing Forever (and Why Google Authorship is to Blame)

rich snippet

rich snippetGoogle Authorship is a form of “Rich Snippet.”

If you aren’t implementing the various forms of rich snippets into your content marketing strategy then you’re currently wasting quite a bit of content creation effort.

The way I look at things, if you’re going to put in the effort creating awesome content that both humans and Google love, why not maximize your return on that effort?

Rich snippets are a very important method for maximizing Return on Effort.

I know what you’re saying to yourself, because it’s the same thing I said to myself the first time I heard about rich snippets…

“Rich snippet” sounds like a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor not a content marketing tool.


…you’re right. Rich snippet does sound like a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor, but using rich snippets like the Google Authorship tag are critical to maximizing the return on your content marketing efforts.

What the Heck is a Rich Snippet

Snippets are the microdata attached to search results that often show as a few lines of text that show up below a search result.

rich snippets

Basically the traditional search snippet is what you’ve become accustomed to seeing in Google Search for many years now. But take a look at the image above.  In the YouTube search result {click here to connect on YouTube} there is extra data. This is where the term “Rich Snippet” comes from.  The data that Google displays is more robust than simple text.  In this case my last two YouTube video uploads are listed in the search results with links.

Think about if you had a YouTube show how powerful a rich snippet like this would be to increasing your video views.

A couple weeks ago we discussed Rich Media Content Marketing and it’s importance to building deeper relationships with your audience. Rich snippets are the same idea but for Google search results… we’re creating a more dynamic experience for consumers searching for topics within our niche.

The Rise of Google Authorship

No social network will play are more critical role in the success of your content marketing strategy over the next five years than Google Plus.

Every single day Google is updating and testing and implementing new algorithmic changes to Google Search.  A major piece of the puzzle is Google Plus and the closely related Google Authorship.

Google wants to take search results down to the author level.  They’ve started to do this with the different Google Authorship tags rel=publisher and rel=author. These tags allow Google to separate out the website housing and distributing the content with the author creating the content.  Google is then able to apply authority accordingly.

Let’s take a look at an example of this:

google plus search results

Here is a guest post I did for Ms. Ileane over at Basic Blog Tips.  The beauty of the Google Authorship tag is that as the author of the post, despite being on someone else’s blog, I get my Google+ profile picture next to the search results and authority credit in Google Search.

Google wants to be able to track and index quality content down to the actual human being writing that content across all the various websites they may contribute to.

If you’re an author or freelance copywriter or journalist having a Google+ account and applying the Google Authorship tag to every piece of content you create is an absolute no-brainer.  You’re building online authority with every word you write.

If you’re a marketer or even a brick and mortar business owner the Google Authorship tag is equally important.  Even if you don’t write guest posts for other websites, by applying the Google Authorship tag to your own site there is an increase in click-through rate on search results displaying the Google Authorship rich snippet that is astonishing.  I’ve seen studies where the increase in click-through rate has been as high as 47% regardless of where you should up in search results.

That means you could show up 1st or 7th, if your website finds it’s way on the first page of Google with your Google+ profile picture next to the search results you have a 47% higher chance there searcher will click on your link than the others listed on the page. {For more on the potential traffic boost from Google Authorship check out this article be Neil Patel}

This is HUGE!

Let me put the pieces together for you on this one…

For most of us reaching the first position on the first page of Google is an immense struggle. It takes time, effort, and a good understanding of content marketing and SEO.  Considering your competition has been online longer and has more resources to put into their online marketing efforts, it might even seem impossible to reach the 1st position on Google.

With Google Authorship, showing up first in search results doesn’t matter anymore.

You can drive more traffic to your website than the first search result if you have the Google Authorship rich snippet and they do not.

How about them apples?

Rich snippets, especially Google Authorship have changed content marketing forever.

The big guys can’t bully you out of the way. The content marketing game is no longer first position or bust.

How to Implement Google Authorship

1) If you haven’t already, you need to create a Google+ account.  Then visit the Google Authorship Signup Page.  Use the same email address you created your Google+ account with and enter it for authorship validation. Once this is done you will see a little check mark next to your email address on the About Page of your Google+ profile.

2) Make sure you’ve uploaded a high quality photo or image (personal photo preferred) to your Google+ profile.  This is the image that will show in search results and you don’t want to be looking like a goof because you didn’t take the time upload a nice photo.

3) On each page and blog post of your website add the rel=author tag in a link to your Google+ profile (see image below).  If your WordPress blog runs off the Genesis or Thesis frameworks then you can do this automatically through one-click functionality within those themes. Otherwise a good method is to add an Author Box to each blog page.

Example of Google Authorship tag:

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/101350861337322805122/about?rel=author”>Ryan on Google+</a>

4) Add a link in the “Contributor To:” section of your Google+ profile that points back to the homepage of the site you want the Authorship tag to be applied to. Once this connection is made you’re all set.

Google plus profile

An Easy Way to Add Google Authorship 

If you’re uncomfortable with the methods described above, Google provides an alternative way to establish authorship of your content using an email address on your domain.  Simply follow the steps outlined on this page to link your content with your Google plus profile whether you’re working with single- or multi-author blogs.

Verify You’ve Added Google Authorship Rich Snippet

Google provides a very simple, easy to use tool for checking whether you’ve correctly added the Google Authorship (or any other rich snippets) to your website.  Visit the Rich Snippet Tool and paste in the URL for one of your blog posts.  If properly configured the tool will display a sample search result with your Google Authorship Tag applied.

Rich snippet tool

The Rub

Google Authorship is only one form of rich snippet.  As showed above YouTube has it’s own form of rich snippet and review sites such as Yelp have their form of rich snippet.  The reason I feel that Google Authorship has changed content marketing and really shined a light on the power of rich snippets is because Google Authorship humanizes search results.

The Google Authorship tag adds a personal image of the person who created the content. This simple addition of a personal photo, the human being that wrote the piece, immediately adds social validation to the content. The content now has a face… and to dismiss the importance of this aspect to Google Authorship would be either naive or stupid.

You are neither.

Add the Google Authorship tag today and begin to reap the content marketing benefits of rich snippets.

Thank you and Good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley and if you enjoyed this article you’ll love the Content Warfare Newsletter, get it here.

About Ryan Hanley

I help make sales easy through content marketing. My work as a marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and Amazon bestseller author will help your business establish authority, attract an audience and grow revenue. Hire me to speak at your next event or grab a copy of my new book, Content Warfare.

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  • http://www.vfimf.com Andrea

    I am helping to run, Violin Master Class.
    We have been trying for quite a long time to get the picture, however still not there.
    For a month, everything shows green in the rich snippets tool.
    Can anyone sugget what might be a problem?

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Andrea, Have you added the code that Google gives you to your homepage?

      • http://www.vfimf.com Andrea

        Hello Ryan,
        yes I did add the author and so on. after that rich snippets tool was showing that everything works well.

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  • http://mysimpleengagementrings.com Terry

    Thank you for your post! I have mine done just now. How long do you think it will take for it to show?

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  • http://www.guideandnews.com Ehsan

    Thanks for sending me this way through your share on FB, Ryan.

    This is a comprehensive guide to rick snippets and Google authorship Ryan, can’t describe the importance of verifying the Google authorship and showing your face in Google search results.

  • http://thesislove.com Raaj Trambadia


    Google Authorship and Rich Snippets have really been helpful to generate more clicks without being on the top 2-3 results on SERPs. If I speak from a normal user’s point of view, I do have a reason why I would prefer clicking a result that has the author’s picture next to it. The reason is that I probably know that person and his/her blog and I’m sure I would definitely get what I was looking for.

    For example, I do read a lot about CSS and most, if not all, my searches have Chris Coyier on the first page. Even though w3schools makes it to the top, I prefer clicking on Chris’s article because I know he has what I want.

    Same goes for the rich snippets!

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


    Do you have the “Ann” portion of your name listed in the User Profile of your blog?

    That might be the reason.

    Great question.

    Ryan H.

  • http://bloggingspree.com Dita from BloggingSpree

    Hi Ryan,

    I enjoyed your article and I am going to implement it on my site. Actually, I thought I did. I checked the link you provided and found out that it is not working.

    I wish Google made it a bit more simple because it is really important to follow.

    Thanks for sharing.


    P.S. I just came in here from Ana’s trafficgenerationcafe blog where you compared Thesis and Genesis. Excellent article

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      Thanks so much. Once you get Authorship going you’ll have to let me know how it works out for you.

      Ana’s site is the great.

      Ryan H.

  • Peter

    I’m about to purchase Thesis and Thesis Awesome, but since I’m going to be purchasing the skin, can I just purchase Thesis Basic for $87?

    It looks like Thesis Professional at $197 is just added 2 skins along with Social Media Boxes and Email Signup Boxes, and it looks like Thesis Awesome already has that.

    I actually had my CC filled out ready to purchase and I believe I got one of those prompting. Thanks.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thesis Awesome is a good theme. Another one to check out is Marketer’s Delight 3 from Kolakube.com…

      I do like how in Thesis all these boxes are interchangeable.

      Appreciate you stopping by,


  • http://www.zenspill.com/ways-to-get-traffic/ Mark Trueman

    Hey Ryan,

    Awesome post. I have to agree with the idea that Google authorship humanizes search results. Because it puts a physical face to the search results, people are more likely to pay attention to that particular result over one that has no face.

    There is also the effect of being more easily recognizable. Before rich snippet, if I saw a result by Neil Patel, I might miss it because I didn’t take the time to read who it was by. But with a picture of Neil next to the results, its hard to miss and I will most likely click through to his link over someone else’s even if he much lower on the results.

    Now SEO becomes a bit more about being an recognizable authority in your niche than out ranking other on Google.

    Great post Ryan. Loved how detailed it was.

    – Mark T.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      Neil Patel is a master. Dude just cranks out useful content like no one I’ve ever seen before. Every post is well thought out and useful.

      It’s all about Human SEO dude. That is what all these new tactics are geared towards, Human SEO.

      Appreciate the thoughts,


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