Are you ready for the future of online freelancing? If you haven't set up your Google Plus profile, you're not.
As a freelance writer, one of the most important things you can build is a reputation. You are a brand. And as freelancing of all kinds becomes more common, and as more companies check social media profiles, how you present yourself online will soon be an even bigger deal than it already is.
But what's really coming is the use of your Google Plus profile for establishing your credibility and authority.
Why You Should Set Up Your Google Plus Profile
It's true that I'm not an expert when it comes to SEO. However, I do know people who are pretty good at it. And they tell me that Google Authorship is likely the Next Big Thing for SEO.
I've heard from People Who Know (or at least make good educated guesses) that once Google figures out how to really leverage its Authorship feature, links are going to be less important. It's harder to game the system when Google looks to who is writing for your site, rather than what links you have.
As a freelance writer more about providing content than anything else, this aspect of Google Authorship and the uses of the Google Plus profile don't really interest me. What interests me — and should interest you as a freelancer — is the fact that Authorship could give you more leverage.
Consider: If Google recognizes you as a reliable authority on a topic, and if the fact that you are writing for a site gives that blog better placement in the rankings, you have a bargaining chip. When (if) this situation actually comes to pass, those who are recognized as “authority” writers will be in greater demand. And that means you can charge more for your services.
But if you want to start building that authority, you need to set up your Google Plus profile now.
Adding Authorship to Your Google Plus Profile
One of the sections of the Google Plus profile is the Links section. This is where you can add links to sites that you write for. You can link to your profiles on other sites (think LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) as well as to items you author.
It can be especially useful to link to author pages on blogs where you contribute regularly. You can even link to author pages on sites where you used to contribute.
If the blog owner is on top of things, s/he can add your Google Plus profile to the site. Google places greater emphasis on the arrangement when you link to the blog you write for, and when that blog links back to you. I have several blog owners that allow my bio, which appears at the bottom of posts I write, to link to my Google Plus profile.
Even if you aren't a regular contributor, you can establish your Authorship. Include your Google Plus profile link in your guest post bio. Then, after the post goes life, link to that specific post from your Google Plus profile. This will help you begin establishing Authorship.
On top of that, when you have set up your Google Plus profile, it makes it easier for potential clients to get a look at your portfolio, and see where you have written in the past. It's a good way to get your work out there, and to make sure that you are building an online reputation that can help your freelance business in the future.