By now you’ve surely heard of Google Authorship, which ties directly into your Google+ account, and helps Google identify and connect you with your online creative work. It was, after all, released over a year ago.
Long story short, you need to have authorship enabled if you’re currently producing content online – either in a professional or personal capacity. It doesn’t matter if it’s a personal blog, corporate whitepapers, or as a freelance journalist. If you’re not utilizing Google authorship, you’re missing out.
Let’s examine the potential benefits of Google’s Authorship.
1) Ownership of your image, content, identity, and potentially your website
Traditionally SEO benefits are first cited when explaining Google Authorship, but I think common sense reasons need to be stated first. After all, as my grandfather is fond of saying (and perhaps Voltaire before him): Common sense is not common.
The first (and most overlooked) benefit of utilizing Google Authorship is claiming ownership of your image, content, identity and even your website.
You’re signaling directly to Google that your Google+ account (which for all intents and purposes to Google, is you), is directly responsible for your content (and even your website). This lets you claim ownership of your work to Google, and help shape your online identity (to Google).
The reason this is important? Well, currently Google is more or less is the unofficial Sherriff of the web. If traffic, visitors, comments, social interaction, and generally not-having-your-hard-work-ignored is important to you, then odds are you’re pretty reliant on Google for traffic.
There are unfortunately very few exceptions (Buzzfeed perhaps) to this rule.
So, claiming your content to Google should be pretty important, and will definitely help shape your online image.
Which leads us to ownership of your image.
2) Google displays your Google+ image as a rich snippet next to your content in the SERPs.
When you’ve finally done something right and your content ranks within the SERPs, you’ll see a happy thumbnail of yourself next to the content.
This will be an important part of shaping your online image. People will be clicking on a link next to your face and immediately associating what they read with that thumbnail.
Furthermore, the more that image is used across the web, the more likely it will pop up when someone is searching for you.
So, if you want to help control the images they see (not to mention the content, website, and overall online identity), you need to be using Google Authorship.
3) Increased visibility within SERPs
Increased visibility within SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages – basically the results displayed when you search for something in Google) is nothing to sneer at.
And plenty of research (not to mention good old fashioned commons sense) shows that having a rich snippet image of yourself displayed in the SERPs via authorship increases visibility.
Especially if there’s a lack of other rich snippets displayed within the SERPs.
This leads to benefit number 4…
4) Increased click through rates
People are naturally drawn to the extra elements within the Google’s result pages. It’s without a doubt one of the reasons Google’s been slowly but surely introducing more and more personalization into their results, and moving away from 10 straight URLs displayed.
Now there’s Local Listings, the Knowledge Graph, Google Shop, Google Maps, rich snippets (photos, videos, etc.), all mixed into Google’s results. Dr. Pete wrote a great article about the crowding of organic results that everyone should read.
The general consensus is that having Google Authorship enabled, and thus an image within the SERPs, increases the click through rates on your content, along with raising visibility.
5) Centralized content
Having all your content documented in a centralized manner makes it easy for others to find more of what you wrote.
One of the key ways in which this can happen (since most people probably aren’t going to go so far as stalk your G+ profile) is when someone clicks your photo or name within the SERPs.
Once someone clicks your photo/name, Google will automatically bring up more content associated with your Google Authorship – immediately making your work much more findable.
6) Build your authority
Creating and owning your identity, content and image within Google is the foundation of building authority. By continually publishing quality content that drives conversation you’re on the short path of being acknowledged as an authority by Google.
As of yet there’s no acknowledged differences for authorities by Google, but it’s something they’re actively working on:
Google’s ability to reward authority may well take the form of Author Rank (actually patented as Agent Rank). It has long been a card up Google’s sleeve, having patented the concept of using Authorship as a ranking signal back in 2009.
This means, properly implemented and utilized, simply being yourself could in fact lead to better rankings for your content. Assuming, of course, that you’re an authority within your field and continually creating quality content that drives conversation.
7) Quicker indexing of your content
There have been mutterings around the web that being tied into Google (via authorship) gets you the perk of quicker indexing. One post on the YouMoz Blog in particular seems to present decent evidence that Authorship allows for quicker indexing, at least. Better rankings, at best.
And quicker indexing of your work is definitely nothing to sneeze at.
8) An extra link to your social media account
Implementing Google’s authorship will naturally create a link in your content back to your Google+ profile. Now obviously, you could have been linking out to your social media accounts all along, but Authorship ensures it’s happening.
Again, this is beneficial because the link leads to a centralized location of all your content, not to mention an easy and simple tie in to your social media account.
And attracting more traffic and attention to your social media is never a bad thing.
So, is authorship something you can choose to ignore? Well, the more time goes by, the more that answer becomes a resounding no.
If you’re engaged at all in online content creation, for any purpose, you should be using authorship.
Authorship lets you:
- Claim ownership of your image, content, identity, and potentially website
- Get a mug shot within the SERPs
- Increase your content’s visibility within the SERPs
- Increase the click through rates of your content
- Create a centralized location for your content, making it easier to find
- Build your online authority
- Have your content indexed quicker
- Gain you an extra social media link
All of these should be important to you if you’re bothering to create content online. So quit procrastinating, and go set up authorship. Earlier begun, earlier done. And you certainly won’t regret it.