Why Google+ Is Making ‘Authorship’ a Must for Your Brand

Why Google+ Is Making ‘Authorship’ a Must for Your Brand image google plus logoHave you heard the news? Google+ has surpassed Twitter as the second largest social network amongst global internet users.

These three words are coming from all corners of the internet: don’t ignore Google+.

Sam Fiorella at the Huffington Post makes a strong case for why anyone ignoring Google+ at this point is pulling a risky move. Fiorella aptly describes the future of Google’s search engine as a convergence of people, data and context.

Essentially, Google is building a trust-based network, the likes of which have never been seen before. Relevant content that gets +1’ed by users and shared around the net will be rewarded. And, speaking of reward, there are going to be some big rewards coming down the pipeline for people using Google’s rel=“author” tag.

Why Google+ & rel=“author” Are Important

Former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, has said, “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 irrelevance.”

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When Schmidt & Crew say “anonymous” what they really mean is “users who don’t have a Google+ account.”

Sure, you may need a Google+ account to remain relevant. Maybe. But the more urgent and pressing issue here is the rel=“author” tag, which allows writers/brands/companies/whoever to attach an actual “verifiable” identity to the content that they publish online.

When you perform a search in Google, you’ve probably noticed that some websites have pictures of the authors next to them. For example, if you come across the top three results for “how to hire a lawyer,” then this is what you’ll see:

Why Google+ Is Making ‘Authorship’ a Must for Your Brand image Google Picture

Forbes.com and Entrepreneur.com are both credible websites you already know. But who’s this Aaron Larson guy? Well, it’s Google’s hope that you’ll trust Larson just as much as you trust Forbes and Entrepreneur. Also, Larson’s content has probably proven itself with quality links and shares. Lastly, in order to have his picture next to the result, you know he has a Google+ profile, which Google hopes will increase his credibility in your opinion.

Setting Up the rel=“author” Tag

If you want to get conversions from your content, then I would highly recommend you set up the rel=“author” tag ASAP. It’s not difficult to do, but we won’t spend time explaining it here. Instead, if you want to implement the rel=“author” tag, I’ll happily point you over to this article at Search Engine People for help.

While developing quality content should be your number one priority, your content development efforts can fall flat if you aren’t playing Google’s game. Use your Google+ profile or don’t. The important thing is that you have the rel=“author” tag on your content.

Two Last Words on Google+

I want to remind readers of two final things about Google+.

One, it’s not just for authorship benefits. Google products (Google Docs, Reader, YouTube, etc.) are all great Google features that integrate well with Google+. Once you have a Google+ account, you’ll find these programs really start to open up for you.

Two, you can absolutely have a writing service do the content development for you, but still get the valuable Google Authorship credit for yourself.

Do you think it’s imperative that brands jump on board with Google+, or do you see this shift in search engine behavior losing steam?

Discuss This Article

Comments: 5

  • “When Schmidt & Crew say “anonymous” what they really mean is “users who don’t have a Google+ account.”

    Sure, you may need a Google+ account to remain relevant. Maybe. But the more urgent and pressing issue here is the rel=“author” tag, which allows writers/brands/companies/whoever to attach an actual “verifiable” identity to the content that they publish online.”

    – I’m not all too sure about that. I think that solid content is solid content and assuming that it’s unique and uniquely valuable to the user, Google will still recognize that as it does now. However, amongst those people who do have author-tagged content around the web, being authorized is said to give you prominence above those who don’t.

    Barry Schwartz @rustybrick, has some interesting views: http://www.seroundtable.com/google-search-rankings-16343.html

    You can see more about my thoughts on what makes content unique here: http://www.lucasgarvin.com/seo/251/unique-content-is-important/

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Thanks for jumping in, Lucus. I definitely agree with you that “solid content is solid content.” That needs to be everyone’s #1 priority.

      My point is that writers who *do* posses great content should get on board with Google+ to disseminate that content even more effectively! Thanks again!

      Ben

  • This is both the good, and the bad news. Good, as those with information can educate a broader audience quickly; bad as everyone becomes a writer. Or plagiarist. The follow up to that is the meaning of “expert” begins to wobble.

    Am a “no hype” publicist for tipping journalists to the best sources…meaning most authoritative due to their Experience, Not because they have a large PR budget and appear on TV shows, as often happens. So with Google+ perhaps the definition of “Expert” will be over-hauled.

  • Hi, Bonnie! Thanks for commenting…

    The notion of “expert” was at risk with sites like Wikipedia and Quora in their infancy. Today, however, I think many of us would trust Wikipedia, especially when it comes to articles that are well cited and provide plenty of annotations.

    I think the rel=”author” tag will reward writers who truly are experts and back their credibility with plenty of healthy links and quality sources.

    As Lucas points out above, “solid content” (i.e. content from verifiable experts, as I would interpret him) always wins out in the end.

    Thanks again!

    Ben

  • Great article, although I are the great benefits of using google + authorship it’s main benefit is for seo. As for google + I cannot stand it although if it was not made by google I and most of my customers would not use it.

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