As a freelance writer, you have undoubtedly encountered SEO (search engine optimization) at some point in your career, usually in the form of keyword density. However, SEO goes much deeper than that- there are a myriad of factors that search engines take into account when generating search results.
With the release of Authorship, Google is now beginning to put the emphasis on who created the content rather than where it's posted. This marks a major shift in Google's algorithm- anyone who writes content on the web should be aware of how Authorship works, and should know how to build your reputation within Google to establish yourself as an authority.
Verifying an author
The basic idea behind Authorship is to associate web pages with the Google+ profile of their authors. Chances are you have already seen Authorship in action when conducting your own searches in Google, ever notice those profile pictures next to search results? Those mean that the author of that page has enabled Authorship to verify their identity as the creator of that content.
The process is fairly simple: In order to verify the author of a page, Google uses HTML tags, namely rel=author (just add ?rel=author to the end of any link). On the website where you wrote your content, simply place a link to your Google+ profile using rel=author to tell Google that you created it. After that, create a link from your Google+ profile to the website (the opposite of what we just did). This creates what's known as a 'handshake' between the two sites, a foolproof way of identifying the owner of both the content and the Google+ profile.
The benefits of Authorship
While it's pretty cool to see your face show up in search results for articles that you've created, the benefits of enabling Authorship are more than just cosmetic. By associating content with your Google+ profile you increase your Author Rank, an experimental metric that Google uses to gauge the authoritativeness and credibility of an author. A writer with a high Author Rank is trusted by Google, and their content is more likely to rank higher in search results, an attractive prospect for potential clients (and for your own websites).
Making the most of Google+
When it comes to building Author Rank, your Google+ profile is just as important as the content you associate with it. Be sure to have a professional looking profile picture, keep in mind it will be appearing next to everything you write. You should also flesh out your profile and include as much information about yourself and your interests as possible, especially topics that you often write about. Be sure to participate in discussions on Google+ as well, and try to build a social following with people in your industry. Author Rank is derived from your posts on Google+ as well as your posts on other websites.