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The SA Incubator

The SA Incubator

The next generation of science writers and journalists.

Why Writers Should Be On Google+

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Forget about the ghost town label that’s been stuck on Google+. And it doesn’t matter if you won’t actively use Google+ (perhaps Twitter, Facebook and what else are sufficient for you). You should still create a Google+ account. Why? Because Google can display your author information, which it obtains from your Google+ profile, in its search results. This can boost your image... literally.

The search result page is no longer just hyperlinks any more. They now come with small square author pictures and the authors’ names below individual search results. It’s nifty. Plus it also gives readers the option to visit your Google+ profile straight from a search page from which they may even start following you and click on links you post or read other articles you’ve written. Readers also have the option to filter their search results to only show other articles you’ve written.

To include author information to search results, Google has to match your Google+ profile (it has to be public) with your articles. It’s not difficult to set up, as shown by this tutorial, and does not require any genius computer or coding skills, thankfully.

Author information in search results is still a Google pilot project but a quick Google search will clearly show that a number of people have already adopted it—especially bloggers. To be honest, I don’t know if author information gives you an advantage (e.g. pulls in more clicks) over others in the search results battle. From my own experience however, I find that I click on those results with author information more often, even if I’ve never heard of the authors.

In any case, it is becoming increasingly important to market yourself. You have to be out there networking and you have to work on your online presence and visibility. Perhaps having Google show your author information under articles you’ve written is a box you’d want to tick.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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