Google authorship has made it easier for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to get their brands in front of prospective customers, because they can now have their brand represented alongside their content within Google’s search results. Therefore, in addition to the potential ranking benefits that Google authorship provides, it also presents a great branding opportunity.
Rel=Publisher and Rel=Author
With the information from a company’s Google+ business page taking up 50 percent of the right side of the SERP (search engine results page), it’s easy to see how the rel=publisher tag enhances a brand in Google’s search results. However, in order for a user to see these enhanced results, they must search for that company by name and location, requiring that they already know the brand.
However, for those who are not searching for a specific company, and are performing non-branded searches, the rel=author tag provides a great way for SMBs to get their brand in front of prospective customers for the first time, and at the right time.
Here are the ways Google authorship and the rel=author tag in particular can help increase an SMB's brand awareness, and also allow it to take advantage of brand recognition.
Increase Brand Awareness
Most SMBs aren't able to invest in massive branding campaigns, and therefore have limited brand awareness. However, Google authorship and the rel=author tag provides an inexpensive way to showcase a brand in Google’s search results.
The rel=author tag is particularly powerful if you're in a business where your personal brand is as important as your organization’s brand, such as law, medicine, real estate, and consulting. With Google authorship, one has the ability to increase awareness of their personal brand, which in the world of SMBs often translates to increased awareness of their organization as well.
Take Advantage of Brand Recognition
When performing a search, users typically click on results they perceive as most relevant to their search query. However, with Google authorship, SMBs can distinguish themselves from competing results by associating a picture of someone recognizable within the organization.
If the person is well known to the target audience, this may impact search behavior. Users may be more inclined to click on search results that are associated with a person or organization they are familiar with, even if there are other competing results that are just as relevant. Of course, this depends on other factors as well, such as ranking position.
Google authorship presents a great opportunity for SMBs to increase brand awareness, and when awareness already exists, take advantage of brand recognition.