Authorship is a hot topic in the search world right now, and for good reason. Ever since Google introduced authorship somewhere around the beginning of 2012, authors have been given the ultimate credit for their work. With authorship, a searcher can see other articles written by that author, navigate to the authors Google+ profile page, and see a picture of the author for easy recognize-ability on a search. Finally, authors are becoming their own brands and are being sought out by companies (not the other way around).

As of right now, most people think of authorship as something attached to webpages. An author will write a piece of content that gets published on the web and becomes a webpage, and this is where the authorship tag attaches and shows that photo in the SERPs. However, Janet Driscoll Miller recently explained to Search Engine Land that Google is starting to apply authorship to more than just webpages.

The Google Authorship Beyond Webpages Findings

Google’s goal when it comes to authorship is to connect authors with their content and therefore help users see who the author is that wrote that content. With these goals in mind, it doesn’t make sense to limit authorship to only webpages. After all, authors publish content through many different mediums on the web and this content shows up in many different web searches.

This is where Miller decided to do her own experiment and look up many different formats of her content to see if authorship showed up. She found that authorship inferred with the following when she looked up content in these forms on a SERP:

  • PowerPoint Files. This works the same way it works for webpages. The bots are looking for “by” followed by the author’s name.
  • Excel Files. You need to add “by” and then the author’s name when working with an excel file if you want to get that authorship. This needs to be done in a tab in the workbook so that Google can use this as the title of the page. If you simply have a byline in one cell of the workbook you won’t get the snippet.
  • Word Documents. With these types of files, it doesn’t necessarily have to say “by” and then that author’s name. If you have any type of “About the Author” section or your name mentioned in the document in its own paragraph, Google will actually pick that up!
  • Rich Text Format. Rich text format (.rtf) worked the same way it works with Word documents. You don’t necessarily need a byline.
  • Image Files. When a byline is included in a SVG file in its text, authorship will appear.
  • Google Docs. Because Google Docs are tied to your Google ID, it’s no surprise that they also show authorship in a SERP.

Through Miller’s experiments, she actually did find instances where authorship wasn’t going to transfer. For example, it did not work when she tried to use regular text files, when file images are saved as postscript files, or Google Books entries.

What This Feature of Google Authorship Means to You

This is a great indication that Google is putting a lot of value into authorship, and so should your company. No matter how the content was published, authorship is likely still going to be a part of your search results. If your company isn’t using authorship at all, you’re not only hurting your webpage entries. You can learn more about how to get started with Google authorship here.