Several months ago I said that The Writer is King. Although “Content is King” remains a popular mantra, I think that people are starting to realize that the content has to come from somewhere—and that makes the content creator more important than the content itself.
With the increased importance of content creators, Google’s Authorship and its connections with Google+ are becoming more important with each passing day. Recently, Chris “Silver” Smith wrote a great article on Authorship after he attended SMX Advance. Several people and organizations (including John Carcutt, Janet Driscoll Miller, Mitul Gandhi, and Mark Traphagen) spoke at a special session on Authorship. I suggest that everyone read Chris’ article at Search Engine Land.
Unfortunately, many publishers are still not totally convinced of the need for changing their websites or marketing strategies so that they are influenced by Authorship. What is holding them up?
1. Google+ indifference.
John Carcutt notes that one of the toughest aspects of getting Authorship implemented was Google+ indifference. And I would totally agree. What has contributed to this indifference is the erroneous thought that Google+ is simply a Facebook clone with a few extra Google products thrown in every month or so.
And although many companies are finally starting to say they think it is important, deep down they still don’t believe it or else we would see actions from them.
2. Fear of promoting ex-employees.
I think this is probably the biggest reason for a company not embracing Authorship once they “understand” the real impact of Authorship and have gotten past their indifference to Google+.
However, I think this actually speaks volumes about a company as a whole in a negative way and also goes to show that they really don’t understand the power of Google+ and Authorship. I would argue that a company should be focusing on keeping their employees and treating them the same way they would treat their customers and not worry about what they should do if they leave.
I would also argue that if they do leave, their continued growth in Authorship can only help their past publishers. John Carcutt even describes a time (if it's not happening already) when employers may take Authorship into consideration when hiring.
3. Confusing implementation, or takes too much time.
When this argument comes up, it is usually just an excuse from someone who still doesn’t see the importance of Authorship, but is not willing to admit it. If someone really wants to do something and believes it is a good thing to do, they will find a way to do it.
Sure, if you have hundreds of authors, then it might take some time to gather all their profile IDs in order to implement things, but the actual implementation doesn’t take that long. Walking through the creation process of a Google+ profile for those few who actually don’t have one yet may take more time than actually implementing/connecting everything. Although many think they don’t have a Google+ profile, in reality most of them do. In fact, trying to figure out which one of their many Google+ profiles you should use may be the more difficult issue.
So now that we have gone through a few of the holdups with implementing Authorship, let's take a look at some of the important reasons for implementing Google+ Authorship.
1. Better organic CTR
Pure and simple, increasing your site’s importance and rankings in search results can increase the number of visitors to your site. However, with a growing number of knowledge graph items and other special features appearing in search results and paid ads, the little portraits associated with Authorship of an article are becoming extremely important just beyond giving the feeling of authority for a particular search result. They help a result stand out. Things that stand out tend to get clicked more often. Even if your site doesn’t show up in the top two positions, you could still get clicked more often if your result has a portrait of an author, while the others do not.
2. YouTube integration
Although Google is just now rolling out the ability to connect a YouTube channel to a Google+ Page (for business use), they have been bugging people to connect their channels to a personal Google+ profile for several months now. Once connected, Authorship (or Publishership if connected to a Google+ Page) can be attributed to YouTube videos. Authorship is not just about written content—it's about all content.
3. Help prevent duplicate content by helping defeat plagiarism
Even though an author is getting the credit for an item, it is still verified as content belonging to that one person and is officially on your site with that verification method. So if someone scrapes your site in order to post the content somewhere else under their own name, Google can recognize that your site has the verified content and the other site does not. This provides for a much better chance of Google pushing the scraper site down the list of search results so as to not take from your rankings.
4. More authority breeds more visitors
The more authoritative authors your site hosts, the more likely your site will improve in rankings for topics related to those author’s authorities. So if you have several authors that specialize in talking about the uses of widgets, your widget site will most likely have a better chance to rank better for searches related to widgets.
5. More easily attract guest bloggers
Because Authorship has benefits for both the publisher and author, authors will be more likely to guest post for a blog that has authorship incorporated into the blog. Authors like to have their work build up their reputation and authorship does just that. So make sure your site is authorship-enabled and steal away those authors from the competitor who hasn’t quite figured it all out.
6. Faster indexing
In the age of social media where information comes and goes faster than the blink of an eye, Google wants to make sure it gets important information indexed as close to real time as possible. Although Google has perfected the art of speedily indexing sites (sometimes within minutes or hours) after information has been published to the web, there are still a lot of ways you can help make sure Google sees your information sooner rather than later. Authorship may be one of these ways. Assuming your authors have any type of importance at all, there is a pretty good chance your site will start appearing in search results related to the topics of those authors on your site very quickly.
So has the monarchy of Content come to an end? Have we entered into the era of King Writer? Or are we experiencing a revolution of the people and changing to a republic with the Creators as our leaders? With video and other types of content beyond traditional writing becoming prominent on the web, the Writer may be just one of many who rule.
No matter what we call it, though, one thing is for certain: authorship exists and it is extremely important.