In order to produce the most authoritative content, companies will have to lean on their internal subject-matter experts. From an SEO perspective, establishing Google Authorship and building AuthorRank is a powerful way to increase traffic to and shares of your content. However, some employers may be reluctant to amplify the personal brands of their employees.
Here are three common fears about investing in building the AuthorRank of employees, and why they’re mostly unwarranted.
1) “What happens if the employee leaves the company? Will they take their AuthorRank with them?”
AuthorRank isn’t really a tangible metric or commodity – it’s just one of many Google ranking factors. However, AuthorRank can equally benefit the author and the platform where the content is published.
Even if an employee leaves your company, their content will stay on your company blog. If Google Authorship is properly set up, that content will be forever tied — through the SERPs — to the author’s personal Google+ profile. Therefore, a company can benefit from the content regardless of whether or not the author is still employed there — and the employee can reference that content for the rest of their career. As a former employee increases their brand reputation, the resources they published on your site will become more valuable.
An interesting question that arises from this is whether or not it is ethical for an employer to remove the rel=”author” tag (which helps establish authorship) on articles written by former employees.
2) “I don’t want to invest so much in an employee just so they can be poached by a competitor or go into business for themselves.”
It’s important not to manage employees out of a position of fear. You wouldn’t consider not training a new employee or not equipping them with the (proprietary) tools they need to succeed for fear that they would be poached, would you? Investing in their AuthorRank can create many opportunities for lead generation and brand authority – and it’s unlikely that an employee would want to leave a company that’s so invested in building his or her own personal brand. Promoting authorship is one way to create a “stickiness” factor with employees – increasing their affinity to the brand by tying the success of their content to the success of the business. Furthermore, it’s likely that an employer who invests in their employee’s personal brands would be able to attract top talent. This is the essence of creating an attractive employer brand.
3) “I’m afraid we might create a prima donna or “rockstar” that will turn insubordinate or become a cultural problem.”
Many companies have benefited from having a highly-visible “rockstar” or company evangelist among their ranks. HubSpot has Dan Zarrella. Rackspace has Robert Scoble. ESPN has Bill Simmons. Even prior to social media and blogging, Apple had Guy Kawasaki.
A digital evangelist can champion your thought-leadership efforts, speak at industry events and be the face of your company via social media channels. If you set expectations as their personal brand grows, you can avoid any HR headaches that might come with a suddenly valuable employee (who knows it).
All in all, the benefits of investing in the AuthorRank of all of your employees far outweigh the risks. If AuthorRank or Google Authorship is new to you, check out this excellent and comprehensive guide to Google Authorship Resources from Jeremy Rivera over at Raven Tools.
To get your employees started in content creation, check out our free guide: The 5 Ws of Content Creation.