Google Authorship and The Future of Your Reputation

It was just over a year ago that Google started introducing a series of new algorithms which in the past few months have started showing up more in search results.  By now you have probably noticed Google searches showing the picture of a person with a byline containing their name.

The concept behind authorship was for writers to be able to claim their content and to help establish credibility for the articles they have written on-line.  There is still (and always should be) a place for anonymity on the Internet, but with these new authorship tags Google is allowing people to put a name and face to their content in ways we have not seen before.

Google Authorship search result for Cory Doctorow

Many people who work in the fields of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) have been advising that both individuals and companies should be making Google Authorship one of their top priorities for this year.

What I think we are beginning to witness is something that Rachel Botsman discussed last year in her TED Talk "The Currency of the New Economy is Trust".  It is the concept that in the future your online reputation will follow you around.  Here is her talk:

You know how every business has to have a 'follow us on Facebook and Twitter' with said those logos emblazoned on almost every printed material they produce?  I would not be surprised, in the next few years, that people and companies will be clamoring over their on-line reputations in a similar manner.

For example, instead of trying to be just another social media site, has been growing because of its implied value to both professionals and companies as a hub to present yourself without posts from your aunt (who just had an absolutely wonderful vacation) clogging up your profile.

A few years back LinkedIn implemented recommendations, and earlier this year they have added to this the ability for your contacts to endorse the skills you have listed.  Both of these, combined with your activities in group discussions, are going to build up your profile, and the level of trust you have.

And this reputation is one that you will be able to grow on different levels with Google Authorship.  When a search result shows your picture and name, people can immediately click to see your profile on Google+, how many people are in your circles, other blog posts, and how you interact with the rest of the on-line world.

This will be a good thing for everybody, whether you are a company with a public facing blog, a professional looking for more exposure, or an individual with insightful thoughts on the things that truly interest you.

For a person is only as good as their reputation.  On, or off-line.