So, there’s been a lot of debate about the impact of Google authorship on search engine rankings. Some SEOs say it helps, others say it doesn’t. The truth is no one really knows that it does work. In fact, there was a heated argument about this recently in a private IM membership forum.
One of the members mentioned that he removed Google authorship from some of his websites and saw their rankings go from pages 5-10 to pages 1-3 within 72 hours. While there may be pockets of results with claims that Google authorship hurts rankings, there are even many more who claim it works.
The question now is, do we believe it works? Or are we just assuming it helps? Why are there so many mixed results? Is there concrete data to prove that it positively impacts search rankings or not? How do we determine its effectiveness or the lack thereof?
The Case Against Google Authorship
Recently, Matt Cutts announced that the Google Webspam Team will be doing everything possible to “penalize” or prevent authors who publish spammy and low quality content from getting the benefits of Google authorship.
Basically, that means if you produce crappy content and think you can spam the search engines because you have a Google plus account linked to your website, you’re going to be disappointed.
This goes without saying that if you produce high quality, shareable content, you’ll get higher preference on the search engines, resulting in better rankings. Yet, there are people who are doing the latter and getting their websites overtaken by people who are spamming the search engines. What’s with that?
If Google says that good content wins, why are there people with low quality content rankings higher than those with great quality content? The fact is there are other factors to consider… and maybe, just maybe, “someone” is trying to blow smoke up our fannies.
The Case for Google Authorship
The impact of Google authorship and Google+ was first made public by one of Moz’s rankings study. The study pointed towards an incredible correlation between Google authorship, Google plus and higher search engine rankings.
Of course, other factors were considered, but their results showed something even more interesting –that it seems Google+ was built more for SEO than for just social. Therefore, for people who frequently take advantage of Google+’s link authority and effectiveness, they’re bound to get better search engine rankings.
Summarily, the study showed that using Google+
- Authors can almost instantly get their content indexed
- Pages and posts on Google+ acquired accumulated pagerank, resulting in higher link equity
- Longer posts and articles got higher rankings because they were considered more informative
So Does it Work or Not?
Well, according to Matt Cutts, it doesn’t. So, who is telling the truth and who is fibbing? Truth is, I’ll take an objective study over a statement by someone who has a vested interest in ensuring the information about this “loophole” doesn’t circulate.
While there’s no real evidence that Author Rank helps rankings now, indicators point towards the fact that it might become a significant ranking factor in the future of SEO.
In Conclusion – My Advice
Add Google Authorship to your online marketing arsenal. Create a presence on Google+ for your floral shop, create and publish excellent content and share from there – doesn’t hurt – consistently. Most importantly, pay attention to all the metrics that will help increase your search engine rankings. Even if you don’t get any SEO benefit from Google Authorship, you can still benefit from the increased brand visibility, audience reach and acquisition, and revenue.