Google to Show Company Logos in Search Results
Companies and brands who have verified their publisher status (similar to Google Authorship) could start to see their company logo or brand logo show up in the Google Search Results.
Companies and brands who have created a Google+ company page (business page) could soon start seeing their company logo appear in the search results alongside their search engine listing. The company or brand must have verified their Publisher status, which is similar to verifying Google Authorship. In order to verify Publisher status, the company would have to set up a Google+ page and link it back to their website. The website would link back to the Google+ page with the proper "rel=publisher" tag in the link.
We're speculating that once verified, the company's logo will appear in the Google search results similar to how we're seeing verified Authors' photos (avatars) show up in the Google search results. A sample search result is shown below. If this is the case, this is what will start appearing for our company, Standing Dog.
We are assuming that the "next step" here is that Google will start to show company logos in the search results because Google is now showing samples of the search results in the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool. It's my belief that Google is getting ready to launch this feature fairly soon--although I have yet to see any specific reports of company logos actually showing up in the search results.
Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool
Currently, if you use the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool, you can see what the search result will potentially look like once the site is properly verified. To test any page, go here:
Enter the URL of the site you wish to test, and you will see if the site is set up properly. You should test your site's home page as well as a few interior pages on your site.
Keep in mind that the Publisher verification is different than the Authorship (or Author) verification. The Publisher verification applies to companies or sites as a whole, while individual authors can also be verified on websites separately. For example, you can verify your website using the rel=publisher tag and one of your employees who writes blog posts for your company blog can also verify authorship using the rel=author tag.
How to Verify Publisher Status For Your Company
In order to be all set up properly for when Google starts rolling out company logos in the search results, you must verify your company's publisher status. There are specific steps for doing this:
- Set up a Google+ page for your business
- Add you company's logo to your Google+ business page
- Link your Google+ page to your website
- Place a link from your website that includes ?rel="publisher" at the end of the URL
That link should point to your company's Google+ page. Alternatively, you can follow the specific instructions provided here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1708844
I recommend that you choose a company logo that is sized correctly and looks professional when it shows up in the actual search results. You may wish to alter your logo a bit just for this purpose, since the actual logo that shows up in the Google search results will generally be smaller--and if it includes words they may be hard to read.
Update: May 15, 2013
In a unique twist, we're actually going to start seeing company logos in the Google search results, just as I predicted (when I originally posted this). However, it's not necessarily going to come in the form of Google's "publishership" that was previously mentioned. Companies don't have to verify their "publishership" by linking their Google+ business page.
In this case, companies can include the proper schema.org markup on their website. So, if you have a site and you're unable (or unwilling) to verify Google Authorship, then you should include the proper markup around your company's logo.
Google has published this information on the Google Webmaster Central blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2013/05/using-schemaorg-markup-for-organization.html and you can find more at Search Engine Land.