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