Publisher or Authorship: Which Should A Small Business Website Use?

Carmen Rane HudsonSmall Business Websites & Blogs


small-business-websiteLast week I talked about Google Authorship. In that post, I promised I’d talk about publisher this week.

Since they’re so similar, I’ve decided to devote most of this post to evaluating the benefits of using one or the other for your small business website.

What’s the difference between the two? Google Publisher just attributes the work to the entire organization instead of to a single person.

The markup is almost the same. You use rel=”publisher” instead of rel=”author.” (If you like that HTML stuff. I don’t, so I use plug-ins).

However, the visual results between Authorship and Publisher are different. On authorship, you get a small box next to your content on the search engine results page that shows your picture. With publisher, a large box shows up to the right hand side of the search results page.

That box contains a business photo, a map, your address, your phone number, and a list of everyone who ever +1’d your site on Google+.

So which should you use? It depends. Ask yourself the following questions.

How Many People Create Content for Your Business?

If you’ve got 10 people creating content for your business and you want all of that content to feed into your business’ reputation, and not their individual author reputations, then Google Publisher is the way to go.

Who Is Your Brand Built Around?

If you’re trying to build a brand around you as the owner of your business then Google authorship makes more sense. Contractors billing themselves as “your hometown electrician,” for example, might wish to keep their name and face out there for people to connect with on a more personal level.

Do You Need or Want to Use Both?

It’s actually possible to use Author and Publisher at the same time. This would make sense if your business puts out a lot of content, but if you, the owner, are also trying to build yourself up as an Internet expert in your niche. Otherwise, just pick one or the other.

Just make sure you choose at least once of the two. Otherwise, you’ll have a lot of trouble ranking in the very near future, and that’s straight from the horse’s mouth:

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.” – Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, as reported by Tech Crunch.

No business owner wants irrelevance, so I can’t stress this enough: you need to jump on board one of these two trends right now.