You can write thousands of posts, but unless Google recognizes you as the author, it’s easy for someone else to steal your words. It’s like leaving a finished manuscript on a table at a writer’s conference. Someone is going to pick up your words and sell them as their own.
Authorship allows you to register your words. If someone copies and pastes your words to their own site and tries to take credit for them, Google will know. The thief will be penalized.
Depending on who you ask, Google is either a gift from God to the masses or the technical spawn of Satan. I’m going to let you make your own call on that.
In the world of the internet, Google is calling the shots. Follow the rules or disappear from search results. Your choice. When you set up your Authorship profile, your Google+ picture will show up in the search results. Having a photo increases the probability of someone clicking on your article.
Many things have authorship. PowerPoint, for example, even has authorship. Even images like vector art can show authorship. For PowerPoint, Google infers from text, not meta data.
Google Books does not show authorship yet!
Be smart and be thoughtful about authorship and how you implement it. Suggestions:
- Only the first author will show in the rich snippet.
- Be sure you get the snippet you want (watch for “by” in text followed by a name). Even editors or commenters can get picked up as the author – so, watch for that type of text.
- Author will only appear once on a page of search results. Example for site search of SearchEngineLand.com for “Danny Sullivan”, and Danny’s face only shows once in the results.
What does authorship mean for traditional PR and SEO?
- Traditional, offline methods for choosing a reporter to work with may not generate the best SEO. Make sure you work with people who have authorship to get that benefit in the SERPs.
- Does the site allow for authorship?
- Does the author have a Google+ profile? What sites are listed in their “Contributor to” section and other links under About.
- To check: search “site:URL” followed by author name. Ex: site: “nyt.com david pogue”
- Weigh the SEO value – does the author have ‘cred’ with Google?
- Weight the readership value. Realize the value in readers finding your content that contributes to SEO.
- Recognize the level of authority of the publication.
Here is Janet’s complete presentation