Plagiarism has plagued mankind for as long as the written word has been in existence. Since the first author put quill to parchment, there have been those out there who seek nothing more from life than to take that information and re-bundle it under their own name, promoting it as their own original work. It’s theft, plain and simple, and it’s been a thorn in the side of authors, writers, poets, playwrights, and more for a long time. Today is no different. However, there is a new solution to deal with plagiarism and to protect your copyright – Google Authorship.
Copyright Protection in the Past
Once upon a time, there was no such thing as copyright, and intellectual rights to a work were not even a glimmer in the mind’s eye. Content was shared freely, and there were no owners, only originators. In fact, it was common practice during the middle ages for other authors to take one person’s work and embroider and expand on it, creating something different and then passing it along. It was great for those who didn’t write, but bad news for those who wanted to actually earn a living from their creation. Obviously, if you can’t own something, you can’t make money from it. Most writers never made a dime from their publications – they sought out patrons who would pay them to write specific items, but their general or personal work went unpaid.
Eventually, the concept of intellectual ownership arose, which was good news for creators (both of visual and written art). The first copyright law was created in 1710 in England, although it was very limited by today’s standards. From that point, the concept of copyright and the protections granted to creators evolved over time. Eventually, the modern concept of intellectual ownership arose, and a creator’s works were protected by copyright law automatically, as soon as the content was written.
That’s a wonderful concept, but it’s a difficult thing to enforce, particularly in our digital age. With the rise of the Internet, plagiarism has also seen a significant increase, so much so that Google has had to enact numerous algorithm changes to help block and demote sites that use duplicate (plagiarized) content. If standard pre-Internet copyright law isn’t enough to protect your content, what is a creator to do in this digital world? The answer is to use digital tools. Google Authorship is such a tool. However, it’s not a failsafe, and it won’t prevent people from nabbing your work and claiming it as their own. What good is it, then? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Google Authorship?
In a sense, Google Authorship is a content registration and tracking solution. It doesn’t keep someone from copying your blog post and slapping their name on it for use on their own website, but it does give today’s authors a way to crack down on those engaged in such activities.
Google Authorship is tied up completely with your Google ID and membership with Google Plus (G+). In order to register as an author with the search engine giant, you’ll first need to create a profile on the network. Don’t worry; it’s simple and easy to do, and it costs you nothing. You don’t even have to interact on the network if you prefer not to do so. The important thing to understand is that setting up your account will allow you to link any content you create to that account, giving you the means to track it.
Creating Google Authorship
There are several steps you’ll need to follow to create Google Authorship and begin protecting your original content on the Internet. As mentioned, the first step is to create a G+ account. However, there’s more you’ll need to do:
- Create a professional G+ profile, including a paragraph about you, and a professional profile picture. Google insists that you have an actual photo here, because in order for your account to be trusted by viewers, it needs to appear legitimate.
- Make sure you’re using the same name on your G+ profile as you’re using to tag your content online. If you’re inconsistent with the names you use, Google will have no way to link content back to your profile.
- Open your profile page and click on Edit Profile.
- Add the URLs of all the websites and blogs to which you contribute beside the “Contributor to” heading on the edit profile page.
If you need additional help setting up your G+ profile or Google Authorship, you can get it from Google.
How Does Google Authorship Protect My Work?
Simply put, Google Authorship does not protect your work. It merely associates your work with your name, as long as your work is appropriately tagged with your matching byline (written by John H. Smith). If that content is copied and shows up elsewhere online, Google tracks it and lets you determine who is using it and where. From that point, you have several options available to you, including contacting the owner of the site where the work is now appearing and requesting they remove it.
Other Benefits of Google Authorship
Google Authorship offers a number of advantages, including the benefits of spreading your content to a much wider audience. Because Google implicitly trusts those with Google Authorship, any content you create and link to your account becomes preferred by the search engine in its searches. That gives you greater prominence in the search engine results, more readers and potentially greater success with your online endeavors.
Creating your account takes virtually no time at all. Aggregating your work from various locations online will take a bit longer, but it’s well worth the time invested to reap the rewards offered by this new program. As a note, make sure you’ve optimized your account correctly with keywords appropriate to both your content and your online persona. Doing so makes it easier for Google to rank you higher in search results.
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