Have you noticed that Google has begun including people’s faces alongside some of its search results?
It’s quite powerful: peoples’ eyes are drawn more toward results with an image alongside them. Amongst other reasons, it’s Google’s way of indicating that there is value about those particular results: they were written by real people.
This feature raises an important consideration for all therapists – information you publish on the web receives more attention with your image next to it.
Remember: your professional profile, events and advertisements need to be promoted successfully, or else no-one will know about them & you lose money (or gain no new business).
Here’s how your articles could appear in Google.
(Click the picture for a larger image).
Click on the image for a fuller picture. Notice that in these search results, I am the only one with my image next to my profile? You may disagree, but I think it draws the eye to my Google entry … leaving all the other entries looking pretty much all the same. Could this mean that a potential client will give my entry a look before anyone else’s?
Benefits of Including your Image in Google Search.
- Every article you publish, every event you create, every workshop you promote and every advert you purchase on the Marple Cross Centre website gets included into Google within hours of you publishing it.
- Everything that you author on the Marple Cross website will automatically be tagged with your choice of image.
- Ideal for time-sensitive information: such as special therapy deals, financial incentives etc.
- Demonstrating your specialist knowledge and training by publishing unique articles when, say, you wish to apply to become a Senior Accredited member of BACP.
- Attracting new business to your private practice.
Set-up: The Three Easy Steps.
In total, this project will take you about 30 minutes, one mug of tea, and possibly half a pack of tissues to wipe your brow if you’re a little nervous of IT things.
Remember: associating your image with your appearance in Google search results is totally free or charge. You only have to perform three steps… and only the once. Afterwards, everything you publish on the Marple Cross website will be sent to Google automatically to be associated with your professional image.
Step 1) Create a Google+ Profile.
If you already have a Google+ Profile, skip over to “Important point #1″.
Here, you’re creating a profile that’s for your profession-use (rather than for you personally, like Facebook).
- Click here: https://profiles.google.com/
- Create and complete your new profile.
- Important 1): Upload a image that clearly shows your face. Any other image won’t work (Google can tell the difference).
- Important 2): In the section “Other Profiles” you MUST write your Marple Cross profile URL, and in all lower case. For example, my URL is: http://www.marplecrosscentre.com/therapists/dean-richardson/ – yours will be similar but with your own name (which you can find by looking in here: http://www.marplecrosscentre.com/therapists/)
- Important 3) You must also add the Marple Cross website URL: http://www.marplecrosscentre.com/ to the “Contributor to” section. This shows that you post articles to the Marple Cross Centre (or will at sometime in the future).
- Now go to Step 2.
Step 2) Grab your Google+ profile number.
- When looking at your new Google+ profile, notice the URL in your web browser. It will look like this:- https://plus.google.com/110150638309720611503/about/ (although your own big number will be different to this example).
- Make a note of the big number – for example copying it to the clipboard.
- Now go to Step 3.
Step 3) Enter your number into your Marple Cross Profile.
- Edit your Marple Cross profile by clicking here:- http://www.marplecrosscentre.com/wp-admin/profile.php
- Near to the bottom, find the field “If you have a Google+ Profile…”
- Enter the big number into this field.
- Save your profile.
You’re done !!
How long before Google starts showing your image?
Google has a disclaimer that they do not guarantee your image will be included in search results.
However, experience has shown that an image can begin appearing next to your Marple Cross related posts (your profile, your articles, your adverts etc.) in Google Search results anywhere from a week to a couple of months. Posting additional material on the Marple Cross website seems to help speed things along.
For your peace of mind, once you’ve completed the above three steps you can confirm everything is ready for Google by using Google’s own testing tool: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets Pop in your therapist profile page URL, or the URL of one of your Marple Cross website articles or events, into the testing tool and see if associates your image with your test URL.
If all is well … now you wait.
What’s happening behind the scenes (the technical bit)?
You don’t have to read this section to complete this project. I’ve included the information here for those interested in it.
Once you’ve completed the three steps above, the Marple Cross Website will get to work notifying Google that your Marple Cross therapist profile, and all your posts, all your articles, all your workshops and all your advertisements, are all to be associated with your Google+ profile’s image. That’s hard work for an individual, but easy work for the Marple Cross website – and it’s fast, too.
I mentioned earlier that setting up Google+ to link to your website was very complicated.
There’s a lot going on – you have to cater for these rules:-
- For every article that you you write, you have to link each article to a single, main, central page on your website.
- This main, central page is your professional profile – an outline of you and what you do.
- You have to link this profile to your Google profile, and vice versa.
- You also have to link with the right HTML tags (rel=”author” and rel=”me”) in the right order.
- If you make just one mistake, the whole thing collapses and your image won’t appear in Google’s search results.
- But you won’t get told of what mistake you’ve made – you have to figure it out for yourself.
Fortunately, the Marple Cross Centre website does all this for you … automatically
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