By Marc Purtell | Director, SEO
Google’s Authorship Program has been embraced to various extents within the SEO community but is still underutilized. Authorship allows mark-up crediting a piece of content with the author that developed it. When implemented, the authority of the author can have an effect on the content’s positioning in organic search results through a metric called AuthorRank.
This author attribution model is very beneficial to brands, because even if their domain does not have enough authority to compete with bigger players in the space, leveraging authoritative authors with this program gives them the ability to outrank these more powerful adversaries. Moreover, when an authored page ranks in organic search, a headshot of the author appears within the result, giving it more prominence over other results and positively affecting click through rates.
Part of the reason why authorship is not more widely used is because there is a fair amount of setup required. Rich snippets must be added to the byline of the article and the author’s Google+ profile must link to the website hosting the content. Due to the fact that the page requires structured data, the markup should also be tested to ensure there are no errors.
As part of a Google+ update announced on September 9, Google announced that they would make it easier to leverage authorship on a variety of major website platforms. Essentially, content published on a WordPress or Typepad platform when signed in through Google+ will be automatically attributed to the Google+ profile. In this case, no backend coding is required.
A number of other sites are also planning for similar integration, such as About.com, WikiHow.com, and Examiner.com. This is, yet, another step in Google pushing to further integrate its social media platform with more of the web.