Google Authorship is Google’s way of expanding it’s social network website, Google+, into the professional social networking category of other websites such as Linkedin. The purpose of Google Authorship is to put a face and link on the content that you contribute across the web and provide a sort of online portfolio, all of which is accessible from your Google+ Profile.
Markup – Google rel=author
Google Authorship links your Google+ profile to content you create around the web. For Google Authorship to work you must have a profile photo with a recognizable headshot of you on your Google+ account. There must also be a byline with your name on it on every page of the content you are trying to link with your Google+ page that matches the name on your Google+ Profile. Last, you must have a verified email address on the domain you are trying to link with (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org) You can sign up for Authorship at this link.
How can using Google Authorship help you? Are you a content contributor across the web? If so, linking all your separate content across the web will collect your content and list it all on your Google+ profile in a neat list of links. Having an article linked to your Google+ Profile also means that your name and picture show up with Google search results that list your article. This also means a potential jump in SEO (search engine optimization) not only for you, but for the website or company you are contributing content for. A lot of linking takes place through social networking and Google is encouraging that all the more through the use of Google Authorship, when your content is shared around social networking sites, especially in Google+, this will up your popularity and increase your ranking in search results.
How does this help those you contribute to? Simple, when content you create is shared around the web and your popularity increases–and thereby your search rankings–any new content you create for other websites will also be higher in search rankings because of this. Your name is more likely to show up higher in Google searches, this means more traffic for the website you are contributing to, and more traffic to your profile as well, a win-win.
With all things, there are some caveats to using Google Authorship. First and foremost, you are linking your professional content to your public social networking profile. So if you are the type who likes to separate their work social interactions and casual social interactions, you might want to have a separate Google+ profile you use strictly on a professional basis. Which might be a safe bet if you are likely to post about how sloshed you got over the weekend. Another setback is the requirement of having a verified email address on the website you are contributing to. Chances are, if you are only contributing on a freelance basis, you won’t have a verified email on that site’s domain, as this is something you would typically expect from a long term staff member.
Google Authorship holds the potential to help link authors with the content that they create on the web in a convenient way, and may bolster search engine optimization as well. However, it may not fit every scenario or every preference. At the most, it is a tool for content creators on the web to build a portfolio that helps build reputation and popularity across the internet. At the least, it’s simply another social media gimmick that may not hold as much value as one would want.