Digital Insights

Advantages of Google Authorship


Published: February 1, 2013

Google Authorship is a new way Google is trying to tie in their social media platform to the content they provide, while simultaneously punishing the people who steal content. The idea is simple. When an author publishes content on a specific domain name, they are able to link it to their Google+ profile. This simple link has a wide range of benefits for the content, the site and the author.

Linked content helps an author build an authoritative portfolio with Google. Imagine a user performs a search. The result they click is on and was written by Author, who has linked his content to Google+. Imagine they spend two or three minutes reading the page, then hit the back button to return to the search results. These results, now, are different.

Underneath the original result, three links have now appeared. These links fall under the category “Other articles written by Blog Author.” This gives Author’s site and his content more exposure, allowing readers to link the content they liked with the person who wrote it.

Google Authorship is still in an early phase of development and use, which means it isn’t fully in effect for everyone. It has issues to work out. Foremost among these issues is correctly identifying the author of any given piece of content. Google recommends adding a byline to every piece of content to make it easier to spot, but it will occasionally pull names or phrases from the piece and identify them as secondary or related authors.

Once an author is properly linked to their content, the benefits roll in. Any time a user returns to search results after a long enough time to be satisfied, the related links appear. This gives the author more exposure for their good content, a reward that is not tied directly to SEO. It’s also a deep benefit to the author because of the links Google pulls. These links can be to the same site, like, it could be to Author’s Google+ posts, or it could be to any other site that Author has written.

What does all of this mean for authors, publishers and businesses? Authors unquestionably see the most benefit. Those who run their sites based on pageviews, however, might find these results a little unsettling. They want to dominate the top results, not have their authors spinning off to other sites, which Google clearly supports. That said, businesses that rely on pageviews are not cut out entirely. Sites that offer many pieces of good content from the same author will likely see all of the links in the Authorship list coming from their site.

Of course, all of this helps to cut down on those who steal content. Content thieves tend to avoid attaching their legitimate names, and so their content suffers from not having an author tied in or from being tied to stolen content.