What would you say if you spent a year writing a novel, only to have someone come along, copy down that entire novel and then republish it as though it’s their own? Not many writers would be very happy about that!
Unfortunately, the last decade of Internet growth has been a wild west of writing and publishing. For skilled writers, the environment has been even more difficult. More often than not, unscrupulous website owners would search the Internet for well-written content, copy that content, and then republish it on their own website. Content thieves have been the scourge of the Internet, and a thorn in the side of online writers for a very long time.
Here at MUO, we’ve tried to offer solutions along the way. Saikat showed website owners how to double check content submitted by authors for cases of plagiarism. If you want to fight back, you could even try to get the websites taken down for copyright infringement, by reporting the site to Google.
Thankfully, Google has developed a brilliant approach to this problem. That solution is Google Authorship.
Why Google Authorship is Good For You
When Google’s authorship effort first started, I initially saw it as an underhanded marketing technique to promote Google+, by somehow integrating it into the Google search algorithm.
However, the more I explored the reasons offered by Google for creating this author “verification” approach, the more it became clear that there are some tremendous benefits from it, not the least of which is a near shutdown of content piracy.
Your Search Listings Are More Clickable
Before we get to that, the first and most obvious benefit to getting your authorship set up with Google is the aesthetic quality of your search listings.
Just one glance at the listings with your image beside it makes it obvious which listing people are most likely to click on. Even if it isn’t listed first in search results, the human eye is naturally drawn to images before text, so having that image up there will immediately improve your clickthrough results.
Improved SEO Results
When it comes to the Google search algorithm, it’s not always simple to prove or disprove that something makes up one of the “signals” used by Google to increase or decrease your search ranking — not without a good deal of testing that is.
However, on its own Inside Search website, Google admits that adding your authorship will “help users find high quality content on the web.” So how exactly does telling Google that I contribute to MakeUseOf tell Google that articles authored be me there is high quality content?
Should I be arrogant enough to think that my name carries that much weight online? Well, sorta.
If you think about it, what other factor does Google or any other search engine have to determine your “quality” or online influence. Typically, the more famous a person is, the more likes or shares their content will have, right? So, search engines are turning to social connections and activity as another clue to calculate your “quality”. Have you heard about Bing’s integration of Klout “Snapshots” alongside its search results? Same deal.
So consider that number next to “have you in circles” on your Google profile. That number takes on a whole new level of importance when you’re an online writer. It’s the “Klout” factor for Google. Improve your social interactions and mix with Google authorship, and you’ve got a strong formula to juice up your articles with some major SEO adrenaline.
Validate Your Content as Original
Back to the topic of content thieves. Here’s how Google has solved the problem. To get Authorship working, you have to confirm to Google on both ends of the equation, that you are the authentic author of content being published at a website. On the one side, you need to log into your Google+ account and edit your profile stating that you are a contributor to the website.
On the other side, the website owner has to add a byline to your article stating that it was written by you, with a link back to your Google+ profile. On top of that, there’s a photo on Google+ confirming it’s you! Let’s see content thieves try to outsmart that!
Here’s one example, using Dave Parrack’s article about the culling of Google Reader.
As you can see, there are plenty of articles that have copied the content (most of the time from the RSS feed) and republished on their own sites. Well, when an original article comes from a site with an author that has been “authenticated” by Google – that article is assumed as the original. So, unless the website has a ranking far higher than your site (which isn’t likely if it’s a scraper site), then it has no chance of beating you in search results, once you have your authorship set up.
See Your Author Analytics
One of the coolest advantages to having Google Authorship in place and working is that you can also monitor the success of the articles you’ve published on that website using Google Webmaster Tools.
You can get there in Webmaster Tools under the Labs section in the left menu. Then click on “Author Stats”. This shows you a tally of impressions and clicks for each article, over the time frame you’ve specified in the date drop-down fields.
Not only that, but you can also see the clickthrough rates and the average rank position for that article.
This is extremely valuable information if you’re looking to see what kind of articles you’ve written that people really like, and which titles make them click through when they see it in search results.
On top of those 4 main reasons for setting up your Google Authorship, there’s also the fact that your Google + account gets featured with each of those optimized listings — hence you will start growing your followers faster (and thereby growing your authority). It prevents people out there from using your name on their sites. Even if some other site posts a byline with your name, it will not show in Google listings with your picture because you did not authenticate it in your Google + account.
That means Google Authorship equals higher SEO value, increased authority as a writer, recognition by your fans in search results, and a dramatic increase in your value as an online writer. So, what are you waiting for? Establish your Google Authorship today, and start blogging like the pros.
Have you established Google Authorship yet? What positive benefits have you seen from it? Share your experiences and advice in the comments section below!