ImageMore and more businesses have realised or are realising the importance of Google+, how useful it can be for SEO and how important this social network is in a businesses wider online activities. Authorship is one of the most talked about features, this allows you to link the content you publish online – be it to multiple resources - with your profile ensuring you get the credit for it in search results.

Social media signals are without doubt a significant ranking factor in Google’s algorithm and it goes without saying Google is looking at its own social network when ranking site and individual authority.

So with everyone jumping on the metaphorical band-wagon, how can you set yourself apart and truly get the most out of Google+ Authorship and reap the benefits in terms of SEO and your business goals?

Become an authority within your niche.

It's a simple idea but one that will become increasingly important in the coming months and beyond. Google have told us on more than one occasion that they are placing more enthuses on authored content and in a recent video from Google’s Head of Web Spam Matt Cutts, he said “We are doing a better job of detecting when someone is sort of an authority in a specific space”.

Matt has very recently followed up that comment on another video where he stated Google’s intentions with regard to authored content, saying Google hopes to “move from an anonymous web, to a web where you have some notion of identity and maybe reputation of individual authors”.

Rich snippets are becoming more and more prevalent within search results as individuals and businesses continue to set up authorship and take the credit for their content, I have recently seen as many as six rich snippets on a single SERP (search engine results page), whereas twelve months ago, it was rare to see more than three rich snippets per page.

The question many webmasters, social media marketers and SEO’s will be asking in the coming months, is how can you establish yourself as an authority within a particular niche. The answer is to look at your current (and previous) online activity, review what your competitors are doing then identify how you can improve on what is out there for online users within your niche.

My top five tips to becoming a niche authority

  • Identify your niche and the area your business can provide the most value to users and customers. Then review your businesses social and sharing content from the past 12-18 months, does this content reflect your niche? If not then be sure to check your identified niche is where your business is best suited and can offer the most value naturally.
  • Research your niche competitors, shortlist the top five and review their social activities, the platforms they are using and vehicles they use to show that content (infographics, videos, informative blog posts).
  • Ensure your website(s) have authorship set up correctly and your Google+ account is maintained and active on a daily basis with great content. You can follow Google’s set up guidelines here.
  • Produce informative content that goes above and beyond what the competition are currently offering, depending on your niche, look at the different ways to portray your expertise, be that infographics, short films, top recommendations, industry expert interviews.
  • Research and contact experts within your niche making sure to add them on your preferred social media platforms, ask to guest blog for them. When you write or produce content on your own site, let your fellow experts know, tweet them the link, and mention them on Google+. Don't be afraid to ask those influencers within your niche to share your content with their audience, remembering to highlight the benefit your content will give their readers.

Above all else, the key to becoming an authority within your niche is to ensure your business is set up correctly to benefit from authored content, and then produce great content that people will want to consume and share with their friends and colleagues.

It is a simple idea, but one that will become increasingly important in the coming months as Google and other search engines place increased enthuses on curated content and move away from an anonymous web.

To learn more on what Google has planned for the coming months, be sure to watch these videos from Matt Cutts talking about what we should expect in the coming months and their plans for the rel author tag.

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