Integrating Google+ with WordPress is becoming as essential as connecting WordPress to the Open Graph.
When Google+ showed up in Social Media land lots of people (including me) believed it didn’t make sense for Google to try and copy Facebook and create their own social network, especially when Facebook owned the market. But it turns out that Google+ didn’t want to do social, they just wanted to “improve” search, which is exactly what Google+ does.
Google is using Google+ to improve search results beyond just content. Content is just part of the equation. The 62 million users of Google+ are adding the next two legs of Panda’s algorithm: Relationships + Identity = “Authorship.”
Even If most people don’t actually use Google+ after signing up, it doesn’t matter. By signing up, you give Google enough personal data (name, birthday, location, email, etc), to dramatically improve your search results, and ultimately serve better targeted ads. This is the same user data Facebook and Twitter wouldn’t license, so Google went direct to the user to get it.
Search is now about Content + Relationships + Identity. And Google+ links your content to your Identity and your Relationships in an attempt to calculate your influence.
The Relationships are the Circles. It’s not clear how this is going to be measured yet, but we can assume that the more people, and especially the more influential people who encircle your blog will be a new factor in how well your content ranks. Relationships help us make a connection with someone, or their blog, or a company. Online relationships are nurtured with consistent, and quality content.
Now, your Identity online is comprised of each post, each comment, each website that you contribute to over your life. Black hat SEO content will be bad for your Identity, and good Content will boost your identity. Suddenly your “status” can be measured in an algorithm, and the internet isn’t the anonymous free-for-all that it was in the 90s. Your Identity is becoming as important to search results as a keyword or backlinks. And since Google still owns search, if you don’t take advantage of this, your Google search results will begin to suffer.
So back to your WordPress. If you want your sites and content to be ranking, you’ll want as many +1’s and shares on Google+ as possible. Each time your content is bumped or shared on Google+, your Authorship will get a bump inside Panda. So let’s go ahead and make this happen.
Linking Google+ to WordPress
You need to have a Google+ profile first, and then it just takes a couple lines of code in your theme. Unfortunately, it’s not as cut and dry as Facebook’s developer tools.
The first step is to link your Google+ profile to your website by adding the URL to the Contributor to section in the right sidebar:
From there, you wanna go ahead and create a Google+ fanpage for the site, using the Create a Site button on the bottom right of the page.
Create the page, and categorize it however you’d like. Think of it like your Facebook page, except it automatically gets crawled and indexed. Just a note, you can’t have your content auto-posted to Google+ like you can on a Facebook page yet, but still.
Sign up for more
The next step is to add this bit of code to your site next to the rest of your social media profiles using a text widget, OR using the WPMU Google+ Plugin :-). The long number in the URL identifies your Google+ profile, so you’ll want to copy YOUR profile number, not mine.
<a rel="me" href="https://plus.google.com/109377978379208666849?rel=author"> <img src="http://ssl.gstatic.com/images/icons/gplus-32.png" width="32" height="32"> </a>
This is what it will look like:
The last piece you need to add is your Author Page. This is the final piece that you need in order for Google+ to get your Identity properly indexed with your content. In Genesis, all you need to do is enable your Author Profile box, and then you can add a custom link into your menu that will look like this: http://www.austingunter.com/author/austin/, and generate a menu that looks like this.
That’s it! To test it out, set up some Google Alerts on your name (if you haven’t already), and then monitor alerts for your name and content. In my testing, +1s will index content as soon as 24 hours later. Authorship and Identity may take up to 14 days to connect Google+ to everything else. Par for the course, Google isn’t revealing any details about HOW this works, and it’s subject to change. But this is still an awesome thing to add to your blog AND all your client’s blogs as well.