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How to Implement the Rel=”Author” Tag – A Step by Step Guide

As Google develops and becomes increasingly “personalised”, we take a look at Google Authorship mark up. By using rel=”author” and rel=”me”, you can enhance the way the SERPs display your content and put your name and face to your work – the photo is taken from your Google+ profile.  There are, of course, plenty of “how to” guides on the topic but even the official Google guide is over-complicated. This will help you add Google authorship markup, quickly and easily.

What is Rel=”Author” and Why Should I Use it?

If you are a frequent blogger or writer, you can claim your hard work as your own and build a reputation for being an expert on your subject. Basically, by adding more information, Google can provide users with trusted authors. In turn, these authors will benefit from greater exposure and returning readership. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want their name and a cool little picture of themselves next to their work?!

Screen grabs explaining how to install rel author

Notice how much the result stands out from the rest (not just because of the two giant arrows). Which result would your eyes be drawn to first?

How Will it (Really) Help?

If somebody answered your question well once, would you go back to them when you had another related question? Probably! Google authorship markup makes it easier for users to find the authors they are looking for. By putting a name and face to online content, Google hopes that standards will get better and quality will be rewarded. To put it simply; If Google says this will help promote quality authors, and you consider yourself to be a quality author, then you NEED to utilise this feature. Here’s how!

1. Adding Rel=”Author” and Rel=”Me” – The Manual Way

Step 1.

Assuming you own a site with multipile authors, the first thing you will need to do is make sure that each author has an “Author/Bio” page.

Step 2.

Once you have author pages for each author, you must link from each blog post to the author page using rel=”author” in the header – This can be done through CSS where the name of the author links through to the author page and the “rel=author” attribute is included. Sites like Search Engine Land have implemented the rel=’author’ tag within the “by NAME OF AUTHOR” after their blogpost title, like this:

Step 3.

Each author page is then linked to a Google profile/+ page using rel=”me”.

Obviously, any Tom, Dick or Harry could write rubbish on the internet and say that you had written it, so you also have to verify the link by pointing your Google+ profile page back to your author page. This is actually much more simple to do than it sounds and can be done by editing your Google profile and adding a link to the “Contributors” section 

How to Link Your Google+ Profile With Rel=”Author”

2. A Simple Way to Add Rel=”Author” for One-off Guest Posts

The whole point of Google Authorship mark up is that you can put your name and face to the work you have spread across the internet. This shouldn’t apply only to blogs and sites that you contribute to on a regular basis, what about all the sites you write for on a one-off basis? They aren’t going to set you up with a full author page, and go to all the effort of connecting blogs to author pages and Google accounts. Surely there is an easier way?

To get the benefits of Google Authorship markup,without getting too wrapped up in HTML, simply add the anchor text to your name, somewhere within the blog post. This is a great way to claim single blog posts on sites that you have contributed to.

Step 1.

At the bottom of your blog post, write your name (Some people say you have to add a ‘+’ after your name, but you don’t) and add your Google+ profile URL with the rel=author code like so….

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/108291207599192163541?rel=author”>Ben Holbrook</a> which will then look like this…Ben Holbrook - Note the rel=author tag at the end of the Google profile URL

adding rel=author tag to one-off blog posts

Obviously, you would replace the code with your personal Google+ URL which you can get from your Google+ profile as shown below.

Where to find your Google+ profile

Step 2. 

As shown above, you then need to point your Google+ profile to the site that you are contributing to. When I have contributed a ‘one-off’ post, I normally point my Google+ profile to the individual blog post’s URL as opposed to home page URL but I have done both and it both works.

3. The Easiest Way to Add Rel=”Author” -  Using a Rel=”Author” WordPress Plugin

Let’s face it, we’re all busy enough without having to spend hours trying to implement rel=”author”. Luckily for you, I’ve wasted away countless hours researching rel=”author”, so that you don’t have to (although that wasn’t my original intention).

After reading hundreds of blogs and trying different variations, I wondered if there was an automated way to implement rel=”author” on WordPress sites. Five minutes later I had found, installed and implemented rel=”author”.

There are always new rel=’author’ plugins being created but they all do pretty much the same thing. Once installed it will add a section to the user profiles, that allows each user to simply paste in their Google+ profile URL. This means that WordPress knows which user is linked with each Google+ profile, and can display the relevant information in the SERPs.

As with the other two options, once you’ve installed a rel=’author’ plugin, you will still need to go to your Google+ profile and verify it with the site.

Which are the Best Rel=’Author’ WordPress Plugins?

On the Verve Search site we use the Google authorship for multiple authors’ plugin, which does pretty much exactly what it says it does. It’s easy to use and so far we’ve had no problems. I think its real charm is how easy it is to install. However, we tried the same plugin on the SEO Chicks site and it didn’t work. It seemed to affect the CSS and knocked the formatting out of whack. For this reason, you may want to try a few different plugins, to see which works best with your theme.

Other Rel=Author Plugins

Dempsey Marketing Rel=Author Plugin

The rel=”author” plugin from Dempsey Marketing offers some nice little extras. It’s equally as easy to install and will add an author box to every blog post that the author has written. This author box features the name of the author and a little blurb, which links to their Google+ profile. However, it may not be so great for sites that already have a ‘author-bio-box’ as part of their WordPress theme. For that reason, you may not want to use the Dempsey Marketing rel=author plugin.

A free rel=author wordpress plugin from Dempsey Media

Authorsure Rel=Author Plugin

The Authorsure rel=author wordpress plugin is another nice little free plugin, which is easy to install and makes life easier. It also adds rel=publisher on the home page which means your company logo is promoted in the SERPs. There is also a very helpful site which has been set-up to help people install the plugin.

Allow Rel=Author and HTML WordPress Plugin

This is one of the original rel=author plugins and it offers the most basic of installations (less to go wrong). The author expresses that the plugin “Can be used for evil” and reminds us that we should trust the authors we allow access to it. If you’ve tried a number of different plugins and have had no luck, give this one a try!

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39 thoughts on “How to Implement the Rel=”Author” Tag – A Step by Step Guide

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  10. Keshav Gurung

    Hi,

    I have been sort of blogging on my google+page itself, in ‘posts’. Do I Have to do the rel=”authorship” in these posts as well? Or does the google+posts not count as a blog? Thanks.

    Reply
  11. Shruti

    Great article, thank you! … have Google authorship confirmed, but can’t figure out how to get site verification. I use Genesis Eleven40 and all the instructions on the internet say to update the title area in header.php file with Google’s meta tag (this is the method I’ve chosen because I’m too dopey technically to do other alternatives). However, the Genesis parent header.php file says Under No Circumstances! to alter the file. So, where do I put this meta tag stuff to update header/title information? Google will not verify the site without it.

    Reply
    1. Ray james

      Hi Shruti

      If you want Google to verify your website head over to Google webmaster tools, follow the instructions and upload a google html page (which google will supply). The steps required take no time and it’s easy enough to obtain verification.
      If you want to place your rel author in the meta, don’t be too concerned about breaking your genesis theme, you are unlikely to cause any damage by placing an extra meta tag in the header.
      For your own peace of mind take a backup of any file you plan on editing.

      Ray

      Reply
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  13. Francis Obasogie

    Hi Ben,

    I must say the Google version of “how to implement the author tag” was indeed complex. I have just gone through your copied the steps now and suppose it will take some days for photo to appear.

    Thanks a lot.

    Reply
  14. Nizam Khan

    Excellent and detialed post. Well, verifying Google authorship is a way to increase CTR in SERP’s and no doubt having a plugin to the work is a great help. Thanks for sharing :)

    Reply
  15. Gina Begin

    I own a site (Oudoor Women’s Alliance) that has multiple authors with their own author pages. However, it is on the Blogger platform, which doesn’t have CSS for each individual post. You can only write in HTML and use CSS for the overall template. Is there a way to make this work in Blogger without having to write the name of the author at the bottom of every post that they create, since their name is already (automatically) add just under the title of their individual posts?

    Reply
  16. Jamie

    Thank you very much a was to much worried about how can i be appear in Google this was to much difficult to understand that actually what Google want but now i think this is enough for verification. Thanks

    Reply
  17. Heather Brady

    Hi there,

    I’ve been having trouble with these tags for some time. First all, I learned they cannot accept hyphenated names. After resulting that dilemma, I found that the wordpress.com interface changes the tags. For example, I copied the working tag from my site at http://www.duneskitchen.com about page into a post on my free wordpress blog. The interface moved the rel=author element to the end of the string when it published. Is there a way around this?

    Reply
  18. BallGum

    Thanks for the info, but for some reason my authorship just doesn’t turn up in search results at all, despite even the webmaster tools saying that it works and that everything is fine. I don’t know how to fix this.
    Try googling “BallGum Nexus 5″ and my Google+ profile won’t even appear.

    Reply
  19. Shahbaz

    I am only author on my blog and i just done as you said. But how much time will it take to show in search engines and why it is showing
    Email verification has not established authorship for this webpage.
    Email address on the lyricsbug.com domain has been verified on this profile: No
    Public contributor-to link from Google+ profile to lyricsbug.com: Yes
    Automatically detected author name on webpage: Not Found.
    on rich snippet testing tool ???

    Reply
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  22. Lawrence

    I am a bit confused. Everywhere I look, including here, people say use the format: href=”http://googleprofile” rel=”author” but Google specifically state use the format:

    href=”http://googleprofile?rel=author”

    Reply
  23. St Louis SEO

    Extremely glad to have found this article. I kept having issues with getting my profile info showing up, and after looking at multiple articles, even some that were confusing, yours seems to make the most sense. Seems like Google started cutting back on rich snippet data displaying recently. Was there a particular date that this took place? Thanks again, and I look forward to your reply.

    Reply
  24. Gorkreg

    Thanks a lot for this. It is all implemented now and ready to go. Now I just have to wait for Google. One question though: Do I have to claim the custom URL with the same name that appears in the blog posts in order to work? The problem is that name is taken so I am not sure what URL to take.

    Reply