Within the search industry we are all aware that Google are heavily promoting Google+ and the usage of Google authorship. But sometimes it can be easy to get caught up within our own bubble, so I wanted to see how (or if) brands have adopted Google authorship.
Is Google+ and rel=author markup really being taken seriously by brands?
At BlueGlass, we decided to analyze a series of top brands in order to review if they had began to build a strong Google+ profile and if they had adopted the usage of Google Authorship.
Fortune 100 Companies: 3.5% Actively Use Google+ Authorship
A large number of Fortune 100 brands had a Google+ presence – but only 36 percent were actively publishing content to their profile.
Many brands were failing to actively use Google+ at all, surprisingly these included the likes of Apple, Best Buy, Costco, Exxon Mobil and Time Warner. However, we did notice a common trend across the financial sector, with JP Morgan, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Metlife all failing to have a social presence on Google+.
Only 3.5 percent of Fortune 100 brands we found to be using Google authorship markup, these were:
- Home Depot
- Cisco Systems
As expected, large traditional brands are slower to move, which makes sense as they will have internal challenges and processes that will make it more difficult to move quickly and justify ahead of other priorities. However, that does potentially leave a big opportunity to their more agile and quicker competitors.
Tech Sites/Blogs: 52% Actively Use Google+
How are the top 50 tech websites taking up Google+ usage?
As expected, given the nature of their background, tech sites are much more onboard with actively using Google+ and linking up authorship.
However, we still found that it was rare for tech sites to have fully integrated Google authorship to all of their writers and in total 52 percent had used authorship. Significantly higher than the Fortune 100 brands of course, but still 48 percent who haven't acted on this yet.
The brands which were using authorship markup included TechCrunch, The Next Web, Engadget, and Wired. Whereas brands which haven't configured authorship yet include GigaOm, MacRumors, BuzzFeed, Business Insider, Twitter Blog and AdAge.
U.S. News Publications: 20% Actively Use Google+
How do the the top 50 U.S. news websites fair?
Only 20 percent are using authorship markup – and even then it's normally only for a small number of authors or a limited section of their site, such as a blog.
The brands which are using authorship include:
- The New York Times
- The Huffington Post
- The Los Angeles Times
- Chicago Tribune
- Houston Chronicle
- San Francisco Chronicle
- Boston Globe
Many newspapers haven't yet adopted Google Authorship markup, including:
- BBC (UK)
- Daily Mail (UK)
- Yahoo News
- Wall Street Journal
- Washington Post
- New York Post
- Miami Herald
- Post Gazette
Google's Own Blogs: 7% Actively Use Google+!
So how do Google compare to the rest?
This was definitely the most surprising finding of the analysis. Out of 141 Google-owned blogs, we found only 10 of these with Google authorship markup. That's only 7 percent that use Google authorship!
The blogs using Google authorship:
- Ads Developer
- Blogger Buzz
- El blog para Webmasters
- Google Apps Developer Blog
- Google Japan Developers Blog
- Google Webmaster Central Blog
Those not using authorship markup include:
- Agency Ad Solutions Blog
- Android Developers Blog
- DoubleClick Publisher Blog
- Google for Nonprofits
- Inside AdWords
Overall, this shows that despite Google heavily promoting the use of rel="author", the adoption from brands has generally been limited. Especially from Google themselves!
The more tech savvy and online focused businesses are moving quicker – yet many are still struggling to roll-out across all authors, and it's normally only a small number of writers, rather than all, who are successfully linked up with Google authorship.
This shows that there's a big opportunity right now to be making the most of Google+ – brands that are actively promoting themselves are making significant strides ahead of their competitors.
Many brands are struggling to prioritize Google+ activity, perhaps because their audience isn't very active yet. But if anything, that's the reason you want to be spending time on this now, so that you can take advantage and be one of the leading authorities when it does take off. Otherwise, it may be too late.
Google are completely behind promoting Google+ and marketers who are only focusing on the direct ROI of what works right now, really should be more forward thinking and investing in the future to prepare themselves for what is only likely to become more important.