What Would History Say About Google Authorship?

I know this association is going to tick off a few, but as one of the older people now in the Internet realm, my intent is to cause pause before running out and linking blogs or websites to Google Authorship profiles in order to secure better rankings on SERP’s for personal brands.  I’m a Mom, so I’m just going to say what Moms say, “If everyone were jumping off a cliff, would you jump off, too?”

Truth be told, I like Google and I’m all about being with the times.  I know it’s not going to seem that way, but I do understand the benefits of claiming your brand.  I’m just really wrestling with the herd mentality of doing something because Google says we have to do it. The industry reaction appears to be admiration and support through blog posts and conference panel discussions.  Get the writers on board and you can change the world.  If you control the content makers and their careers, you can control the content (to a degree).

I’m also old enough to know how fast what seems indestructible can change.  I have an uncle that spent his life in a nursing home after serving overseas in combat during WWII.  Forgetting history is not an option for me – really for any of us.  My (our) ancestors would be disappointed if I (we) did.

What if Google’s leadership and vision ever changed – forcibly or through death or sale?  Would you want your personal identity stored in a data base for the new owners?  Some of you are more skeptical of our current president or gun control then you are of handing over your identity and all linking to a search company’s data bases.  True, we’re already tracked in so many ways, that for most of us, our identities were compromised years ago when we first opened our Facebook accounts.  But, let’s just hand over more?

As a reminder, between 1939 and 1945, the below image was a reality.  Hitler would have really appreciated access to profiles that connected the dots to everything people did or thought, everyone they communicated with, and everything they liked or disliked.

It’s an awful association, but profiling happened.  It’s not a new idea.  People were identified and categorized, while scared onlookers stood by, watched, and participated because if they didn’t they might lose what they have. Those who spoke up were shunned or eliminated.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

While the hot talk is about securing your brand, just don’t forget what happened a few decades ago.  Prisoners from this era would probably shake their heads at our naivety.  I’m not so sure that I can completely dismiss their lives by saying, “Yeah, but this is a different time and place.”

I also don’t have a good answer for reconciling what was learned, while moving into today.  I’m signing this post with my first name knowing full well, that even without a profile, you can research who I am.  The best I can do is write to warn the writer, who hasn’t become public, to first carefully consider the potential consequences before publishing online.  ~Jean

UPDATE 2015: Google’s Authorship was scrapped by the end of 2013. We believe Jean was a voice that contributed to this end. In an article, Forbes details the finale. Jean was one of the few in the search industry bold enough to ask Google to consider another perspective. (Read My 2013 SMX Conversation with Matt Cutts about Google Authorship.) Thanks for listening, Google.


Filed under Algorithms, Analytics, Business Strategy, Conferences, Google Plus, Leadership, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

4 responses to “What Would History Say About Google Authorship?

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