Google's Authorship signals might extend past published website content to other filetypes, according to a study.

Marketers have been alerted about the benefits of setting up Google Authorship, which links online content to authors’ bylines via Google+ profiles. Rich snippets that feature writers’ pictures and names next to domains entice clicks and provide better visibility in SERPs.

A recent study from Search Mojo’s Janet Driscoll Miller found that Authorship might not be limited to website content, and brands may be able to build authority with other indexable filetypes as well.

Miller told Search Engine Land that her experiments revealed Google can infer Authorship in PowerPoint files, Word documents and even Excel Spreadsheets that contain the term “by (author’s name).”

Documents might not even have to use the term – “by (author’s name)” – to display Authorship information in search. Miller found a white paper formatted in Word will appear in SERPs with an author snippet even if it doesn’t include an explicit byline. This suggests the search engine might be getting better at picking up context cues to infer authorship.

Google is continually making strides toward a more transparent web that gives content writers credit. 

This is in line with a recent Webmaster Help Channel video, in which Google Search Engineer Matt Cutts relays his excitement about Authorship’s potential. He says the search engine is continually making strides toward a more transparent web that gives content writers credit and makes it harder for people to anonymously post spammy content. Cutts suggests Google is moving away from basic ranking signals and shifting toward complex algorithms that provide internet users with better search experiences.

If Google recognizes online content published outside of website articles, it might become easier for writers to establish authority around their work. Brands that set up Authorship for their contributors can achieve better online visibility and showcase their internal talent.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.