I cannot believe how many blogs, mostly geared towards providing Social Media help to Small Businesses, are posting up that Google Authorship presents Branding opportunities for Small Businesses. Lets clear a few things up…
About Google Authorship
Google Authorship was designed to match up and credit content to the correct Author. The details in the Google Authorship program are as follows:
1) Make sure you have a profile photo with a recognizable headshot. (this would clearly exclude brands and businesses)
2) Make sure a byline containing your name appears on each page of your content (for example, “By Steven Levy”).
3) Make sure your byline name matches the name on your Google+ profile.
4) Verify you have an email address (such as firstname.lastname@example.org) on the same domain as your content. (Don’t have an email address on the same domain? Use this method to link your content to your Google+ profile)
There is Nothing in this Program for Brands.
This is a great program for Authors but Brands will not be able to use this program. Unless your brand is really small and your personal brand is huge… maybe, and that’s a huge maybe, your personal brand will garner exposure for your brand. My name happens to be my brand so it does help me but it will not help a Small Business since SMB’s cannot apply to this program. You need to be an actual person.
Unfortunately you cannot believe everything you read from Social Media “Experts” who are stating that Google Authorship will help your brand. It’s their goal to convince you that you need their services and if they tell you to start using Google Authorship, of course you should do what they say. Right? If you are already a blogger then you know you can establish your own credibility by producing content for a brand. It doesn’t really work the other way around.
Here is an example:
I manage a social media campaign for a local business. If I and another employee write blog postings on the company blog, our Authorship profiles show up next to that posting in a Google search, not the brand, like so:
I would think the brand would always have a larger reach than a single person. Of course if you have a popular blogger on staff that blogger may drive more traffic to your Brand thereby creating a branding opportunity but brands cannot participate in the Google Authorship program. I can’t make it any clearer than that and neither can Google.
So, if you are a small business, remember, Google Authorship is not an opportunity to brand your business but it is an awesome way to boost SEO and reduce piracy of your content. I highly recommend it. Just don’t try to set up your brand as an Author. Only the US Supreme Court recognizes Corporations as People.