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Is there a general rule of thumb for authorship of company blog posts or articles?

Specifically, is there any possibility of hurting the search ranking of a website (or its blog posts) by not attributing them to a named individual? (I.e. just saying: "-By CompanyName" instead of "-By John Smith".)

I read about the ever-increasing importance of "Google Authorship" (attributing articles to authors with verified Google+ accounts, ideally with a photo) but I would much rather keep business and personal separate in that regard.

As far as I can see, associating an article with a Google+ account seems to increase the CTR (as people are generally more interested in reading an article when they can know what the author looks like) rather than the ranking itself.

Is it best-practice to always attribute articles/blog posts to named individuals, or can I safely continue to attribute authorship to a generic company name, without being concerned that search ranking of these articles could be penalized in some way?

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I am going to modify the question to make it more broadly applicable and less subjective. Hopefully it can be reopened again and others can have an opportunity to provide answers to the revised question. –  Austin ''Danger'' Powers Dec 7 '13 at 18:35
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1 Answer 1

From what I have read, Google views rel author as only for individuals.

Content that is written with the voice of a business can use rel publisher:

The problem, in the real world, is that sometimes our clients’ websites are full of content which cannot, or should not, be attributed to the writer. Instead, the content is the voice of the company or brand itself, and it is this that should be reflected in the SERPs. After all, employees come and go, but the brand and company values will (hopefully) live on forever.

Initial thoughts lead to the realisation that companies and brands could potentially miss out on maximising their "SERPs Real Estate". When the competition is filling the SERPs with their beautiful portrait photos and fancy titles, how can you make sure your company’s brand is also featured? Fear not, for Rel='Publisher' is here!

The linked article goes on in detail to explain how to implement it.

The article also points out that you are going to be missing out compared to using authorship markup:

...its not THAT amazing. As it only shows up when you search for the brand. Yes it’s useful and adds value to brand searches, BUT it’s not as cool as the rel=author tag where anything that you write will be attributed to you no matter which page/site etc it’s been written on.

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