Authorship is not optional, it is a necessity. As most in the search marketing industry knows, when Google offers something new, it usually means it is something necessary for success in search. Well, authorship just received an official statement of it’s impact on search ranking. This is nothing to balk at, the quality technicians and spam managers of Google rarely make anything “set in stone” when it comes to the SERPs. Coming from the top brass at the search giant, this announcement from Eric Schmidt means that authorship has to be a part of any online strategy.
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.” – Eric Schmidt, Google former CEO.
If you are unfamiliar with Google authorship, I made a post about it and how to implement it. In short, it is an official Google link in the markup that connects the content with a specific author. The author’s information, such as number of Google Plus Circles and articles, will appear in some selected SERP results along with the author’s image.
Having some type of rich snippet has been shown to improve click through on organic results by 30% as far back as 2011 according to a Search Engine Land article. Along with the rich snippet integration in the SERPs, Knowledge Graph pulls in additional information about the author, his or her posts, and much more.
All of this goes along with what Search Engine Watch’s Thom Craver details with the statement, “Google+ has been designed to be an identity verification network.” Google+ has been built, not only as Google’s answer to Facebook, but as a product for gathering user data to be used as a revenue source and authentication system for content within the index.
There you have it. Concrete statements of fact that ambiguity is slowly being eradicated from the internet by those in power. It is becoming increasingly harder to hide your identity online, but to continue to enjoy this time of free online services, it is a necessary evil. Authorship is a method for creating credibility, not only for a content creator but for the results Google produces in response to a query.
During my time in my Masters course work, it was frequently conveyed to me that Wikipedia was not a reliable source; primarily because it allows anyone to edit entries. And although Wikipedia tracks the IP address and profile of those that edit entries, it can be hard to establish credibility for an entry. In the case of Google Authorship, organic results contain so much metadata that credibility for an entry can be determined quickly, without leaving the SERP in many cases. With this confirmation comes nearly 100% assurity that the first page is back in the limelight and many businesses will again focus on rankings versus conversions.