In the content marketing and SEO worlds, speculation and chatter continues to surge around the topic of content authorship—what it means, how it is applied and its true value. Especially in light of theannouncement this week.

Search engines are slowly turning the relevance dial in favor of the individual versus the publisher. This gives online content creators more individual ranking power than just the backlinking to publisher sites. Google will never tip their hat as to the actual logarithmic signals involved in a writer’s rank. How could they? Google’s never-ending battle with those trying to defy the system prohibits them from exposing their secret sauce. But we know the truth: contextual, relevant content from real content producers will reign king in search results.

Although Google announced this week that they have removed author images from search results, it doesn’t mean that they’ve done away with authorship altogether, only social annotations and images within search results. Google will continue rewarding high-quality content written by real people.

Why Adopt To Google Authorship?

1. Google Rewards Real People: As Google develops its algorithm to become hyper-personalized and contextually relevant, we’ll continue to see rankings favor towards real content producers that are subject matter experts in a particular area.

Othar Hanssen of Google said it best:

“We know that great content comes from great authors, and we’re looking at ways this markup could help highlight authors and rank search results.”

2. Authorship Gives Your Content More Visibility: Unlike even a few years ago when Google’s search results page was purely text-based, todays rich snippets that Google displays in search results display metadata in the form of an author image, byline and content blurb.

Users are more likely to click through search results that have rich snippets. Both SEO BodyBuilder and Cyrus Shepard of Moz report that they experienced a 38 percent increase in click through rate after the adoption of “rel=author” tags. Think about it, wouldn’t you want to click on a search result from a trusted person versus a plain-text result?

Where Do you Start?

If you’re not a technical person, authorship can leave your brain spinning. Luckily, there are tools and tricks out there that makes this process easier.

1. Make sure that your Google authorship is set up. Follow the steps here.

2. Leverage third-party tools to validate your authorship. A new platform called ClearVoice gives a public view into the content creator’s ranking power through an algorithm which includes a comprehensive body of published works, aggregate social shares of their content, topic analysis, and more. Here you can find your profile based on an index of 80,000+ online authors, claim your content, and even learn how to apply or improve correct authorship.

3. Check your code. Below is the type of semantic markup for with Google and Twitter authorship:

Google Authorship

You’ll want to ensure:

*Your content has true semantic Google authorship <a href=” rel=author”>Google</a>

*Your content’s  @href contains a G+ profile link and @rel=”author” or @rel=”me

*Your content’s @href contains a G+ profile link with the [?&]rel=author query parameter and @rel DOES NOT contain nofollow.

*Your readable author bio pages include <a href=”[profile_url]?rel=author”>Joe Smith</a>

Google provides a few different methods of directly applying verification, outside of semantic markup. These methods directly talk through Google Webmaster Tools or Google Analytics. More about linking authorship to your Google+ profile.

Twitter Authorship

Natalie Cooper, Editor of stipulates, “Making sure the true content creator’s Twitter handle is semantically put into an article’s social cards is paramount, not just for social media promotion. Associating author value and verification can be done using the correct semantic schema.”

Make sure your content has one of the following tags:

*meta[@name=’twitter:creator’] tag (@content is a valid twitter handle [0-9A-Za-z_]{1,15})

*<a> tag @href is a Twitter profile URL and @rel is “author” or @rel is “me”

*rel=”author” link on your author bio

According to product engineers at ClearVoice, Twitter authorship dominates Google (4 to 1). With that being said, stay ahead of the game and authenticate both your Twitter and Google+ profiles for authorship AND SEO success.

4. Tap into a community of authors. If you are a content curator or community manager for your business, and the above steps have got you overwhelmed, leverage existing writers out there who are subject matter experts. Focus on trustworthy, real authors and leverage by using the ClearVoice Search function which is based on topical relevance. Feature authenticated pieces from highly trusted, influential authors who create engaging content that garners social interaction, comments and links. These high-profile authors tend to have strong social followings and will have incentive to promote their work in order to drive their own personal brand and influence.

Scott Cohen, CEO and Co-Founder of 180Fusion fostered partnerships with groups like Google, Georgetown University, and USC.  He knew that their brand recognition and status as thought leaders and industry scions would allow his startup to grow much quicker and more effectively. In under 5 years, Cohen took a basement startup and turned it into one of the fastest growing marketing firms in America. 180Fusion now has offices in Utah and California and employs over 100 individuals.

This article was first featured on Forbes and can be found here. It has been shared with permission from the author.