Over the course of any decent search engine optimization campaign, you will undoubtedly run into the problem of creating new, relevant content that is attractive enough to be shared among your target audience and tastemakers. One of the most popular ways to create new quality content is by creating blog articles and guest writing. However, most of the people that should be doing the writing (company heads and decision makers) don’t have enough time to compose new content on top of their pre-existing duties. Instead, they task a team member within their organization with performing the services on their behalf and with their approval. While it may seem like a time saving measure, there are two major issues that can arise. Mainly, missing authorship and ownership of that content.
How Authorship Affects Your Rankings
Authorship is a relatively new ranking factor for search engines like Google. It’s a ranking factor that links a piece of created content to its Google Plus author profile. In Google’s eyes, when Google authorship is connected properly, brand awareness opportunities and opportunities to serve as the industry leaders are created, as well.
Authorship also has an effect on search engine rankings. While this feature is still relatively new and doesn’t weigh that heavily on your overall search rankings, it is starting to be a competition separator in competitive markets and niches, especially local search engine optimization. Authorship is currently less valued than having a great backlink profile or domain authority. If your niche faces strong competition, then authorship is certainly a great toolset for your search engine optimization arsenal.
Content Ownership is Huge
Right now, there is a big contention in the web marketing industry and technology sector over the concept of intellectual property and ownership rights for content creation and guest writing. The issue usually exists when a firm has hired an outside agency or company employee to do the majority of the web marketing work. Those individuals whether intentional or not, often put the content under their personal accounts.
When content is posted on various websites under personal accounts, only the person who created the account owns the content. This is true in both the website’s eyes and search engine indexing’s eyes. So the real questions is… who owns the content? According to most website terms of service, the outside agency, or company employee, owns the content as they posted it under their account. However, the firm that originally invested in the content is the actually owner. They paid for it and for the service to have it posted.
This means that all authorship and authority is attached to the agency (or company employee) instead of the firm that actually owns the content. That also means that, in the event of a problem with the outside agency of company employee, the firm is left to helplessly remedy the situation in house.
What Can Go Wrong
If you do not have the content you created under a centralized company account with access given to your decision makers, then you run the risks of losing work you have already paid for and completely wasting your web marketing investment.
Many web marketing firms and employees like to post off-site articles under their own name to protect “their” work. This is where the ownership issue arises. Without stipulating that the content be posted under a centralized company account, the content is posted under different authors and ownership.
This severely limits the firm’s ability to handle the issue in house. The only remedy left is to consult with an attorney on the legal ramifications of this issue. An attorney will likely be required to:
- force the off-site websites to change ownership
- recover any lost revenue and wasted expense on the content creation
Climb Rankings and Prevent Issues
The best way to prevent abuse and fraud on this scale is to demand that any content created on your firm’s behalf be posted under a centralized account that your firm controls. This way you get the search engine optimization credit and ownership that you deserve.