Hi everyone! I am a long time subscriber to Randy Ingermanson’s newsletter (from the Advanced Fiction Writing Blog) and his latest issue carried an article that I knew I had to share with all of you. The method Randy outlines below acts as protection against plagiarists while ensuring you receive proper credit (and promotion on Google) for your published work.
Does Google Know You Wrote That?
Here’s something bad that happens to writers every day:
You write an article and post it on your blog. Or maybe on your web site. Or maybe you do a guest post on another site.
It’s a great article which you poured your blood into. It’s so good that within days, Google has seen it and started listing it high in the search results for some key phrase.
People start finding that article and coming to your site.
And then some plagiarist somewhere grabs the article and posts it on their site. Sure, you had a copyright notice on your article. But they do it anyway. A bunch of them.
Google sees that there are a ton of copies of the same article out there on the web. One of those articles is on a site with higher “authority” than yours.
And suddenly, some other site is getting the traffic that is rightfully yours.
What went wrong here? You did everything right. You created great content which should have brought you traffic.
But Google didn’t know you wrote it. So when other people took it, the credit got split up many different ways.
And you’re out in the cold.
That isn’t right. Somebody ought to do something about that.
Somebody did do something about that. Google did. Google created a way to claim the authorship of an article.
If you do your part, then Google will do the right thing by you.
And the plagiarists will be left out in the cold.
As a side benefit, when somebody searches for a keyphrase and Google shows your page in the search results, your picture will appear there too.
To see how this works in action, Google the phrase “Snowflake method” (using the quote marks to make it a phrase match search). There are more than 32,000 results for this phrase. The top result is my famous article on the Snowflake method, and it shows my picture.
Google knows I wrote that article.
How do you make this work for you?
The key term you need to know is “Google Authorship.” You can learn all the many details about Google Authorship by doing a search for this term.
I’ll explain the core ideas right now:
* Google needs to know you exist.
* You need to “sign” your articles on your blog or web site.
* Google takes care of the rest.
Let’s look at those ideas in more detail now.
First, how does Google know you exist?
That’s easy. You create an account on Google Plus. You do that by going to this URL: http://plus.google.com
This will take you to a sign-in page. If you have a Google account (for GMail or Google Analytics or one of the many other Google services) then you can sign in right away. Otherwise, there’s a red button in the upper right corner labeled “Create An Account” which you can use to create an account attached to any e-mail address you own.
Go to your Profile page and make sure you’re on the “About” tab of the page.
This page has a number of sections where you can fill in your Story, your Education, your Work, your Basic Information, your Contact Information, etc.
You want to edit your Links. This lets you tell Google your Facebook account, Twitter account, LinkedIn account, etc. Click the “Edit” link at the bottom of this section.
A dialog will appear that lets you edit your Links.
There is a section labeled “Contributor to.” You need to fill this in with the web sites where you contribute articles. These might include your web site or your blog or other blogs where you have an account as a contributor.
When you’re done, click the blue “Save” button at the bottom of the dialog.
That’s it! Google now knows that you are a contributor at these sites.
If you’ve uploaded your headshot to Google Plus, then Google also has your photo handy.
While you’re on your Google Plus profile page, do one last thing. Notice that the URL for this page looks something like this: https://plus.google.com/1234567890123456
That’s your Google Plus account number. Copy that with your mouse because you’ll need it in the next step.
By the way, this account number is public information. It will go onto every article on your web site that you want to claim as your own, and of course anyone can see that signature.
How do you sign your articles on the web sites where you’re a contributor?
You do that using the URL that you just copied.
You just need to add a little snippet of HTML with that account number.
There are several ways to create the signature.
Here is the easiest way, which works if you have a WordPress blog and want to sign your blog articles:
* Log in to your WordPress blog under the user account that you use for posting articles. (Usually, this will NOT be the admin account.)
* You’ll see your Dashboard appear.
* Click on the “Profile” menu item in the left sidebar.
* Your Profile page will appear.
* Scroll down to the “Contact Info” section of the page to the “Google+” field and paste in the URL that you copied from Google Plus. (If you don’t see the “Google+” field, you need to install the SEO plugin by Yoast. Most WordPress blogs use this plugin, so you probably already have it installed. It’s free.)
* Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the blue “Update Profile” button.
* That’s it! You’ve now signed every page of your blog that was posted under this WordPress user account.
If you’re a contributor on other WordPress blogs, you need to do the same thing on those blogs in order to sign the articles you wrote there.
If you’re not using WordPress, then there are other ways to sign your articles that take a little bit more work. You can learn the details by visiting the Google web page on Google Authorship: https://plus.google.com/authorship
Once you’ve done the above steps, Google may take a few days to notice that you’ve signed your articles. After that, your picture will appear in Google’s search results page when it lists your article.
From now on, every blog post you write will be signed and Google will know that you’re the original author of the article.
In theory, Google can then track how popular you are as an author and establish a reputation for you.
In theory, Google can also see who posted an article first, so they know you’re the original author and not a plagiarist who stole it.
It’s not clear if Google is doing these things yet, but it’s widely believed that either they are doing it now or will be doing it soon.
And that’s good news to honest writers everywhere.
This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 32,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit: http://www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.
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Do you use Google Authorship? Have any tips, observations, or advice for others about Google Authorship or a similar method? I’d love to chat with you.