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Google Authorship: Will Businesses Without It Fall Behind?

Google Authorship: Will Businesses Without It Fall Behind?

Google+ Authorship

Google Authorship and the move toward author rank are hot topics in 2013, but some businesses are reluctant to take advantage of the evolving program. Many business owners and executives prefer their company’s content published online be under a brand name, not theirs or an employee’s. They don’t have time to write. They want to promote their brand. What if an employee authoring content leaves the company?

For some SMBs such as consultants and attorneys, the personal brand is important. Use of Google authorship can make a real difference in a promotion of their business. For corporations and other types of businesses, the difference is not likely significant. If you prefer not to take advantage of Google authorship, you won’t gain the benefits of it, but it probably won’t cause your website to lose rankings because of it – at least not today.

Will it in the future?

The Wall Street Journal pointed out that Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, wrote in his book, “The New Digital Age” (coauthored with Jared Cohen, released April 23, 2013), the following:

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevant.” Even quality content could be unread because of low ranking in search results.

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land  says Schmidt is talking about how governments might try to control information and search rankings, not what Google plans to do. I haven’t read the book yet; he may be right.

However, given the choice between promoting content written by known and trusted authors proven to be experts in their fields or content written by unidentified people, which do you think Google would prefer?  When you think about that, Google’s Agent Rank/Author Rank patent, and the push for Google+ with profiles of individual people using their real names, the path Google wants to take becomes clearer.

If you don’t use authorship, at least link your website and Google+ business page with rel=publisher markup. Google “strongly” recommends it. Linking your website to your verified Google+ business page and promoting your brand through the social network will help build credibility, and credibility helps improve a website’s rankings.

What’s the difference in the connections?

Authorship, which uses rel=author markup, links online content such as an article or blog post to the author’s Google+ profile. It claims ownership of the content by a verified author.

Rel=publisher markup links a website to a Google+ business page. It claims ownership of a website.

You won’t gain all of the benefits authorship currently offers using only rel=publisher, but your business could certainly benefit from it. You can also use both. You can link your website to your G+ business page with rel=publisher on your homepage and link articles and blog posts within the site to one or more individual’s Google+ profiles.

Want help sorting it out and getting it set up? Our door is always open!

Terri Stevens
Terri Stevens is an SEO specialist for Forthea. She loves to travel, especially aboard cruise ships (floating casinos!), and spends free time with family and enjoying the outdoors.


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