Google Authorship and Former Employees
One of the biggest risks when it comes to blogging and content marketing for many employers is this: What happens if the employee leaves the company?
This isn’t an unwarranted concern, considering 91 percent of Millennials say they expect to stay at a job for less than 3 years. Since companies started blogging, they had to make the choice of whether or not they should have individual bylines or a single company byline. The company byline is part of a mentality that goes back to the days when no one could represent the company except a designated spokesperson.
Today, every employee is a spokesperson. And with Google Authorship companies can benefit from an employee’s social reach, especially if they prop the employee up rather than keep her or him hidden.
Case in point
I left my job at the eBook distributor OverDrive in 2011. I loved working there, but wanted to focus on search, social and content marketing. (That’s how I ended up at Kuno Creative.)
While there, I was in charge of managing our company blogs, including writing many posts myself. Our fabulous team of bloggers was turning out 1 or 2 posts on most business days. And each of those blogs was a bylined post.
Flash forward 12 months and Google Authorship via Google Plus became the hottest topic in SEO. At some point, early in the life of Google Plus, I updated my profile verify that I was bylined contributor to OverDriveBlogs.com. My identity was at that point attached to OverDrive and all the blog post I authored.
The good news is that my byline on OverDrive blog posts wasn’t removed after I left. And as I built my authority on all things content, including eBooks, well take a look at this screenshot from my Webmaster Tools Author Stats:
Even after nearly two years, my blog posts for OverDrive are still receiving thousands of impressions per month based on my claimed authorship. And the results above are just the top four posts out of dozens that I wrote over the years.
Former Employees As Ongoing Advocates
As public and private personas continue to merge online, making employees company advocates, even minor spokespeople, is going to continue to be an import part of your content marketing strategy.
That requires a company to do two things:
1. Choose the people who are the biggest fans of what they do as contributors to content marketing efforts
Almost every company has people who absolutely love what they do. They also have employees who come in at 9 a.m. and leave at 5 a.m. and that’s that. The obvious need to hire passionate employees aside, the employees who post company news on Facebook and Twitter or are always coming up with inspired ideas are your biggest opportunities for increased search and social reach. Empowering these employees to contribute a blog post once in awhile or to write an eBook or guide means you can encourage them to take a bigger stake in the company while benefiting from their authorship.
2. Ensure that those people are officially recognized as contributors on Google Plus
While a significant social reach in any social channel is important, confirming authorship within Google Plus is going to be the difference between this search result:
And this one:
In order to do this, you’ll need to make use of the following resources:
- Google Authorship Signup (for enabling authorship on your site)
- Google Authorship Markup (for enabling authorship on other sites)
- Google Structure Data Tool (for confirming authorship)
Now even if a passionate employee takes her or his passion elsewhere, a company can still benefit from that person’s work, possibly for years to come.