The world of internet publishing is increasingly turning to authored content as a means of demonstrating authenticity and increasing author credibility. But how should publishers deal with authorship in relation to content on their multi-language websites?
Google conservatively estimates that hundreds of writers are already linking content to their Google+ profiles since it started incorporating authorship into its search results and introduced authorship mark-up support in 2011.
Setting up authorship is relatively easy. Authors simply have to create their own Google+ profile by visiting https://plus.google.com/authorship, add a short bio and a headshot, associate their profile with their website and insert the appropriate rel=”author” HTML mark-up into their authored web pages.
Why is authorship so important?
Authorship, according to a recent Search Engine Journal (SEJ) article (also authored), is the future of SEO. No wonder SEO agencies and brands alike are getting even more excited about this hot topic than usual.
- Gives you more visibility by displaying your headshot in search results, increasing click-through rates and helping other people discover your content more easily
- Rewards real-life humans: as more and more pieces of content are published online, Google has gone on record as saying it wants to reward real-life content producers
- Gives your entry a more human aspect to readers allowing them to engage with you personally
- Highlights you as an expert in your field. This has the lucrative knock-on effect of businesses being able to employ you if they enjoy reading your articles online. It’s great for firms too, because they get to employ top writers not only with expertise in their fields, but with robust social profiles and online influence
- Enables searchers to simply click on your byline to view other pieces you have posted on Google+ and follow you if they read something they like, further raising your online visibility
How does authorship mark-up improve rankings?
The secret to Google’s algorithm is as closely guarded as recipes for some of the more high-profile colas or fried chicken. But what we do know is that Google+ and Google authorship is already having a great impact on personalised search results.
This alone can bolster ranking for pages within your own social sphere, in turn opening up massive possibilities for individuals. This is because Google is more likely to recognise you personally as being an expert online and present your content higher in search results pages for users in your social sphere.
New connections also mean that your following should naturally increase, as profiles being exhibited wherever an article penned by you displays in Google search results. All this will make connected authors more influential and expands their online presence.
A fresh question surfaces when we consider the issue of teams of project managers, translators and reviewers translating content into multiple languages. Who should claim ownership for the content in this instance?
It would be fair for writers to ask Google if they could claim authorship over two pieces available in separate languages; for example: one for the original English copy and one for that which has been translated into French.
The search engine giant’s Webmaster Central Blog has clarified what happens in such a scenario. It says both articles, in English and the French translation, should be linked to the same Google+ profile, but in the writer’s preferred language.
This also renders the creation of different Google+ pages across different languages for a single person unnecessary. As the SEJ states, authorship is all about that one specific author.
So can two authors enjoy authorship/ownership of the same article in any circumstance?
No. Google is currently supporting just a single author for each article. It says, however, that it is still testing to discover the most favourable result for searchers where multiple authors are specified.
Why this makes sense
The reason why this makes sense is that in many ways it’s very similar to the way that books and novels are marketed across the world in various different languages.
For instance, J. K. Rowling’s famous series of Harry Potter novels has been translated into over 65 languages. As you might expect, the original author of the English text, Rowling herself, is credited as being the author of all the translated versions regardless of how many different translators, editors and proof-readers were involved.
The same laws apply for Google Authorship of online content and rightly so.