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A new way to make your experts and thought leaders more visible in Google searches

One of Google’s latest search initiatives, the authorship markup feature, provides a useful way for B2B marketers to raise the profile of industry experts and ‘thought leaders’ who work for their brands.  

A key aim of many B2B marketing campaigns is building a thought leadership position, ensuring your company and its executives are seen as having strong insights and well-thought out views on current and future trends in your market.  Creating and sharing content such as white papers, opinion articles, videos, podcasts or being quoted in the press is all part of this. 

Author images in searches 
You obviously want this content to be visible in search engines and that’s where Google’s authorship markup feature provides a clear advantage.  When your content is listed in Google’s search pages, it automatically displays the author’s profile information, including a thumbnail author photo, with links to other articles and content they have produced.

More click-throughs for your content
When images such as this appear in searches, it naturally attracts attention and tends to produces more click-throughs -  so potentially can mean more people landing on your web pages.  It’s also a good way of raising the profile of your company’s experts as the authors of this content.

How does it work?
Author profile integrations are part of Google’s ongoing drive to improve searches by eliminating poor and duplicate content, while rewarding users of the Google+ social network. They appear in normal, organic search results when articles, white papers, podcasts, videos etc have been linked, using specific web tags, to the authors’ Google+ profile. 

When searchers click on the author’s image as it appears in search results, they are taken to a Google search page displaying more articles by the same writer. If they hover over the author’s byline name in the search listing, they are given the opportunity to connect with the author on Google+.

Recent research we’ve conducted at Searchmetrics suggests that in 13 per cent of Google UK searches at least one of the top 100 results incorporates the author profile information. But at the moment the rankings are dominated by writers from the US, not the UK. So if someone is searching for your key thought leadership term, your North American competitors are potentially beating you to top positions.

Get your experts on Google+
So the first thing that B2B companies need to do is ensure that their spokespeople and experts are on Google+ and are actively using the social network. With Google quoting over 100 million signed up accounts for the network, it makes sense for B2B marketers to take a general look on how Google+ can potentially add to their marketing mix. When on Google+ they simply need to add specific web tags to their new content – Google has given information on how to do this here.