Hiring a Blogger with Google Authorship

As much as it pains me to say it, Google Authorship looks like it's here to stay, and while that may mean more publishers are forced to have a Google+ profile when they otherwise would not, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.

If you're concerned that Google Authorship - the bylines and author headshots that appear in search results - could have a significant negative impact on your ranking, then you might want to take a fresh look at the content you publish.

I've always believed that good-quality content is pretty much impervious to being downgraded by Google simply due to an algorithm update, and there's no better measure of what constitutes 'good-quality' content than whether or not you're willing to put your name to it.

But as an individual publisher, you don't necessarily have a Google+ profile that bears an individual's name, or that carries much clout when it comes to the search rankings.

Hiring a blogger with Google Authorship already up and running on other websites gives you a head-start, as you can effectively cash in on their existing kudos with Google.

If their headshot is already appearing in search results, for instance, you know that it has passed Google's guidelines (which, according to reports I've seen, require a passport-style shot with your full head visible, front-facing).

All it takes is to set up a linked byline or author page from your website or blog, with the correct Google+ link appearing on each page contributed by the blogger, and for them to link back to your site from the 'Contributor to...' section of their Google+ profile page.

There's an element of transparency to this, as you'll have to name the blogger and be willing to have your site listed on their profile, but again, if you've got something to hide, you should be looking closely at your content publishing plan anyway.

If you found this page in the Google search results, it probably had my byline and headshot alongside it.

I can help you to set up the same for any pages I contribute to your site, and will leave the 'Contributor to...' link on my Google+ profile for as long as we have an ongoing active working relationship (which basically means, until there's a full calendar month in which we don't produce any content).

Even if you want to publish your content with your own byline, that's fine, I'm happy for you to claim authorship of your content as long as you pay me for writing it in the first place, and I can still help you to set up the reciprocal linking between your blog/site and your Google+ profile, to get your byline appearing in Google's search results.


Honor Clement-Hayes said...

I find it interesting that you approached this as though it were a scary thing - I'm thrilled! I love that I'm potentially going to be of more value to clients due to my authority and I certainly ADORE the idea of having my picture next to my work. Prrrrr. Even big companies should certainly be giving individuality to their writers and connecting with readers on a more personal level.

Also have no problem with using Google+ - just another platform for self promotion! I'm in complete agreement with the people saying SEO is dead, long live online PR. Same thing: quality links from respected influencers, excellent copy, shareable content, good community management...all stuff that (to paraphrase Mr Cutts) should come as no surprise because we were doing it anyway, right?


bobble said...

You're right that it shouldn't be a scary prospect, but I've found there's a lot of confusion over what Google expect from publishers - whether you can assign Authorship to a business page rather than an individual (no, you can't), how you include Authorship in the first place (I think I'm aware of about four different methods, depending on whether you have one author or several, and whether you have author profiles on your site), and why your photo might still not be appearing in results (a not-very-well-documented list of reasons similar to those that can get your passport photo rejected).

Aside from the teething problems, it's no bad thing to give authors an individual voice, particularly if you've got multiple authoritative writers working for you - it's got to be better than having pages show up without any named contributor, and as you say, it adds a personal element to the content.

I'm still not convinced Google+ is the best platform to build Authorship on; Google already had alternatives like Webmaster Tools and Analytics that seem like a more natural fit for what is, essentially, a variation on SEO. As a consequence, it feels like Authorship is just an attempt to force Google+ profile links on to people's websites, which of course any sensible webmaster will do for the sake of their ranking.

And finally, I don't think SEO is dead. Some of the dodgy, out-of-direct-control tactics like paying people to link to you etc were never particularly good options, but good on-page SEO still works, and it can be as simple as publishing a single well-written keyword-rich page about a particular topic, which I've seen work time and time again. I suppose Authorship adds a useful extra element to this though, as nobody will want to put their name and reputation on the line by claiming Authorship of a shoddily written page that's only been published for the sake of a single keyword.

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