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How To Implement Google’s Authorship For Individual Pages Using Rel=Author

In the same way that rel=”publisher” is great for obtaining authorship for a brand or business website, rel=”author” is the authorship markup used for personal or individual content and pages.  With authorship, Google is able to easily verify and authenticate you as an author of original content across the web.  By doing so, it adds value to your online profile while establishing you as an authority on the subjects and topics that you write about.

Google won’t admit it, but for many sites, rel=”author” has increased rankings as well as improved search engine results.  At least one thing is for certain: it can’t hurt.

According to the search engine marketing experts at Virante, making the two-way connection between your Google+ profile and your content on the web provides multiple benefits:

1)      You qualify to have your Google+ profile picture show next to your content in search results (see image below).

2)      You may see a higher-than-normal click through rate (CTR).

3)      You might gain possible protection against being outranked in search results by people and websites that may re-publish your original content.

4)      You build Google page rank authority for your profile by connecting your authorship with your original content, especially on popular, high-authority sites.

rel=author search result

So how do you do it?  How do you “claim” authorship?  It’s not as difficult as you may think.

For starters, you must link your content to your Google+ profile (if you don’t have one, you’ll need to create one).  According to Google, it’s a simple, two-step process.  First, you must add a link from your website to your Google+ profile.  Second, update your Google+ profile by adding a link back to your website.

This can be achieved by following Google’s instructions:

rel=author

After implementing the markup, you’ll want to test it to see if it worked and to see what author data Google is extracting from your website.  You can use their structured data testing tool or you can manually check (do a Google search) for your own name.

If you decide to try Google’s structured data testing tool, keep in mind that it only looks at a single page.  For now, you’ll need to check your Google+ profile page and your content pages (each webpage with your original content on it) separately to ensure that they are linking to each other correctly.

You can add rel=”author” markup and link to any webpage that has your unique and original content on it, but you definitely need to set it up on your own website first.  Regarding connecting authorship to an entire site and multiple pages within a website, Google’s Matt Cutts has said that for personal sites, such as your own blog where you are the only author, it’s fine to connect the entire site to authorship (this can be achieved by simply putting a rel=”author” Google+ profile link within your website’s header).  For business sites (rel=”publisher”), the same is generally frowned upon.

Ideally, a rel=”author” connection should be made only between original pieces of content clearly authored by someone with a Google+ profile and those author’s Google+ profiles.  Lastly, and to reiterate, rel=”author” is for original content by real people.  rel=”publisher” is designed to create authorship for a business or brand.  Don’t get the two confused; Google is pretty straightforward with authorship markup as it applies to personal websites and business websites.

How To Implement Google’s Publisher Markup For Business Using Rel=Publisher

In today’s search world, it is absolutely imperative that your business website have Google-approved authorship implemented on it.  Previously, individuals had relied on the rel=”author” markup to connect themselves to articles, essays, and blog posts.  With this specific markup, individuals were then provided with a trusted identity and presence within Google+, which has now become an increasingly important factor for business websites to the search engine results pages (SERPs) as well as overall rankings.

rel=”author” worked great for individual authors, but for branding purposes and to establish a true Google+ presence for a business website , rel=”publisher” is the preferred authentication markup.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to implement rel=”publisher” markup on your website:

1) Create a Google+ business page

* This can be accomplished by first creating a Google (Gmail) email account.  Once you have created the email account and signed in, click on the “Google+” logo/link at the top left.

* Click on the logo/link on the left-hand side that says “Pages.”

*  Next, click on the “Create a page” button in the upper-right.

* Then, click on the “Pick category” option on the left-hand side and select the category of your business/website.

* Lastly, click the “Finish” button.

2) Add the rel=”publisher” code

* The code should be added anywhere in the <head> of your business website’s code along with the URL of your Google+ business page.

* It should look like this: <link rel=”publisher” href=”https://plus.google.com/YourGoogleURLHere” />. (The image below shows the popular SEO expert, MOZ, and a rel=”publisher” code):

rel=publisher code

 

3) Point your Google+ business page at your site to verify your newly-added rel=”publisher” markup.

* Access your Google+ page.

* Click Edit > About > Add Your Website.

* Entire your website’s domain in its standard form (i.e. www.domain.com not subdomain.domain.com/index).

 

4) Do a test

* Use either Google’s Rich Snippet testing tool or a manual test.

* For a manual test, perform a “branded” search (using your company’s name) for your website every couple of days or approximately once a week until you see the added rel=”publisher” information.

* It’s important to remember that you won’t see the results of implementing rel=”publisher” markup on your website and then setting up a link to your website from your Google+ business page overnight.  It will take at least a couple of days and up to a few weeks before Google “approves” the markup.

* If you do not see the rel=”publisher” markup after a few weeks, it is safe to say that you probably made a mistake somewhere during the process and it is recommended that you re-try implementing the markup.

** Below is an example of a branded search term search for a company (in this case, MOZ, again) showing the result of  rel=”publisher” markup:

 

Branded Search Test

 

It’s important to note that the rel=”publisher” code only needs to be present on your home page but you won’t be penalized if it appears on any other or even all other pages on your site.  Implementing rel=”publisher” authorship markup will help your business website gain trust within Google, as the search engine will begin to think of your site as an authority.

 

Gain Authorship on Your Site

 

One of the most important things you can do to ensure that search engines like Google can trust your site as well as increase its overall visibility is through authorship.

Authorship is simply another way for Google to verify your website and for you to prove its true value.  This is becoming increasingly more important as search engines shift to a more semantic approach, and are indexing and ranking search results based on quality and relevance.

You should definitely consider using the rel=”publisher” authorship markup for your business website.  Previously, Google relied heavily on the markup rel=”author” which tied your personal Google+ profile to individual articles.  Now, thanks to rel=”publisher”, your Google+ business page is connected to your website and this definitely provides better branding for for search queries while making it easier for Internet users to find you.

Below are step-by-step instructions on how to gain authorship:

 

1) Create a Google+ page for your business

* You will need to sign in to your personal Google+ account first.

* Create a new page by clicking on the “Pages” link which is found under the “More” category.

* Choose either the “Local Business” or the “Place” category.  Enter your company’s phone number and then “Locate.”  (If your company’s name doesn’t show up,  you can “Add Your Business To Google”).

* Edit company info as needed.

 

2) Add the “rel=publisher” tag

* Add the rel=publisher tag within the HTML head tag code of your homepage (or the most significant/important page on your website).  According to Google, the tag needs to look like this: <link href=”Your Company’s Google+ page url” rel=”publisher”/>

* You must then create a link on your Google+ business page pointing back to your website (this link should be the same url of the page that the above link was added to).

 

3) Test it

* You can utilize Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool to see if you implemented the rel=publisher tag correctly.  If correct, the tool will display the markup just as it would appear in the search results.

* Occasionally, the process of verification may take up to six weeks.  In the meantime, you can manually check Google by doing a search for your website’s name every couple of days.

 

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