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How to Implement the Rel=”Publisher” Google Authorship Mark Up

You don’t need me to tell you how popular ‘Rich Snippets’ have become to the world of search and social media. Everywhere you turn you’ll find write-ups about new schemas that allow you to add extra data to show how great your pages are in the SERPs. You may have even read my recent post ‘How to Implement Rel=’Author – a Step by Step Guide’, which discusses the benefits of putting your name and face to your content, and how to implement it.

However, in amongst the hype of how great it all is, a difficult question has arisen (in the real world), that I think needs to be addressed. After mastering the application of rel=’author’, my colleagues and I made sure to get all of our clients involved in schema, and offered a (perhaps a little over enthusiastically) helping hand. The problem, in the real world, is that sometimes our clients’ websites are full of content which cannot, or should not, be attributed to the writer. Instead, the content is the voice of the company or brand itself, and it is this that should be reflected in the SERPs. After all, employees come and go, but the brand and company values will (hopefully) live on forever.

Initial thoughts lead to the realisation that companies and brands could potentially miss out on maximising their ‘SERPs Real Estate’. When the competition is filling the SERPs with their beautiful portrait photos and fancy titles, how can you make sure your company’s brand is also featured? Fear not, for Rel=’Publisher’ is here!

What is Rel=”Publisher”?

A Screen Grab of Google SERPs page - the reason to install rel=publisher


As you may have guessed from the title of this blog post (at least I would hope you have), there is a rich snippets schema which can be used to further promote and highlight your company within the SERPs, and it’s called ‘Rel=Publisher’. In basic terms, rel=”publisher” is an authorship markup (as is rel=”author”) from Google , which connects websites (not people) to the Google+ page of the publisher. Typically, it seems that up to now only big ‘tech-savvy’ brands have implemented the rel=”publisher” schema, and I think I know why.

Firstly, the egotistical side of us would prefer to see our name and a picture of our selves in the SERPs, as opposed to seeing our company logo. For that reason people have jumped head first into the world of rel=”author”, adding it to any piece of content the possibly can. Rel=”publisher” has simply been left by the wayside.

Secondly, Google haven’t really done much to promote the fact that it even exists. Where are you Matt? We need your bubbly little face to tell us all about it!

How to Implement Rel=’Publisher’

1. Add the rel=”publisher” tag to the head of your site, with the URL of you Google+ Business page. BE CAREFUL – it MUST be a ‘business page’ not a ‘user page’.

It should look something like;

2. You need to point your Google+ business page at your site to verify the rel=”publisher” mark up. This can be done easily by going to the Google+ page > Edit > About > Add Your Website. It’s important that you use the canonical version of your site, or the mark up won’t work. e.g. NOT  subdomain

3. TEST = As with all Google authorship mark ups, you will not see instant changes in the SERPs as it takes a little while for Google to pick up the code. No one really knows how long it takes, sometimes it’s days, sometimes it’s months! There is a tool which you can use to test whether or not the code has worked called the Google Rich Snippet testing tool. However, you cannot rely on this tool as, Google themselves have admitted, there is a glitch with the tool which means it shows false results. My personal recommendation is to carry out a branded search for your website, e.g. “Verve Search”, once a week until you see the added rel=”publisher” information. If you do not see it after 6-8 weeks, you can assume you have made a mistake and my recommendation would then be go through it all again (unfortunately). More likely than not, it will work and you will have gained yet another presence in the SERPs that helps your brand stand out.

The one thing that strikes us with the rel=publisher tag is that its not THAT amazing. As it only shows up when you search for the brand. Yes it’s useful and adds value to brand searches, BUT it’s not as cool as the rel=author tag where anything that you write will be attributed to you no matter which page/site etc it’s been written on. But it’s still early days, this could well be the plan for rel=publisher in the future. It makes sense to allocate authority associated with a Google+ business page to all content and therefore see the company logo and Google+ linked page to any content that was written on the business blog (including blog/content on other sites that it was associated with, maybe in terms of sponsoring the article etc). What rel=publisher functionality is at the moment is simply share and promote content that you have shares on your Google+ business page, which perhaps is giving people another reason to switch Google+ rather than Facebook and other social property. Just saying.

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99 thoughts on “How to Implement the Rel=”Publisher” Google Authorship Mark Up

  1. Kasey

    Followed the directions and it only took a couple of minutes to implement on two sites. Hope to start seeing some results soon. Thanks for the post!

  2. Ruben

    Actually, I have several times thought that it might be more interesting to promote the company instead of a person in the company, but has not had the time to figure out how. Most companies would much rather have the company logo instead of a picture of an employee or owner.

    Thank you for sharing this. Hopefully Google will soon catch the idea that the company logo is a brand tool than the author picture.

  3. Laurinda

    I stumbled across Google authorship mark up today and the first thing I thought was how do I link it to the company Google + account instead of my own. Thank you for a straightforward (and easy to understand!) article.

    1. Susan Reed

      If you have a PO Box situation, then instead of creating a Google+ Local page (where they mail you the post card with the PIN #), just create a Google+ business page – where all you need to do is verify your website (by placing a link to the Google+ page in the footer of your website).

      What I find frustrating is when have a client that has both a Google+ Local page AND a Google+ business page.

  4. Björn

    I still not understand if you use the publisher Tag für the company site, where may all other sites linked under. Or do you have configure for each blog/website an site on it own. I understand the publisher tag for the company publisher site, not right?

  5. Pete

    It seems to have been around for a while but Google hasn’t mentioned it. How would it be if you used it on an e commerce site which has a blog (and author profiles set up and used in this) and a huge number of pages with 3000+ products. Would all of these pages then get attributed to the publisher as it isn’t really content to read like a blog or news story?

  6. Cancun Girl

    Thx for sharing this “rel publisher” post, I already have a profile in Google+, but I dont have a business page, do I have to cancel my user profile? or could I have both? I mean, I want Google to know that I am the person writing all the articles in my website via rel author, but my Google profile is my website’s name, I don´t use a person profile in Google+ because I just joined Google+ for the “rel author” technique. What would you recommend me to do? Close my Google+ profile, and change it to a business profile? Thx for your reply, have a nice 2014 year :)

  7. Brandon Phipps

    We had no issues with our company being verified with a Google+ Local page when using a PO Box. I know there were some steps that needed to be taken and a verification call from Google after the fact, but I believe the issue is that Google+ local pages are primarily for “brick and mortar” businesses that you can walk into and purchase goods / services.

  8. Ryan Law

    I’ve been experimenting with authorship markup, but it hadn’t even occurred to me to use publisher markup! With hindsight, I can already identify a few posts that would benefit from the clarity and direction of being directly associated with my brand, instead of myself. Thanks for the actionable post – I’ll be using this advice later today!

  9. Dellon

    Hope rel=publisher pick up it’s importance soon. Both author or publisher should be weighted equally as each entity. As employees moves on, credit should not leave the “owner” as it was intended. Thank you for pulling these info together.

  10. Audrey Wright

    Hi there, I have a few questions, I hope this is the right place to ask them.
    First of all, can rel=publisher work along rel=author in the means to show both the author of the publication and the publisher itself in the microformats.

    Second is more of the goal I’m trying to achieve. A few weeks back when I first started to fiddle with structured data markup in my blog, something unexpected happened.
    When googling my name, I found out that the Google Knowledge Graph picked it up and displayed in the box to the right.
    A few days later when I tried the same search, nothing similar occurred. How do you suggest, I originally was able to appear in there and how to I bring it back? Or was it just a temporary bug in Google’s algorithm ?

  11. Katherine Korytkowski

    Thank for the info, it seems I did it correctly because it all came up green and with a yes that it was able to be read, but there are 2 things that did fail and not sure how to get it working… Any help on them would truly be great! Thanks Again!

    Error: Missing required field “updated”.
    Error: Missing required hCard “author”.

  12. Bonnie Bornstein Fertel

    Can you help (please) with some detailed instructions on implementing the rel=author tag. I tried some time ago and it doesn’t seem to have worked! I’ve seen it for others, so I must have done something wrong (?)
    Thanks :-)

  13. Stephanos

    Very interesting post. It helped me a lot to understand the difference between rel=”publisher” tag and rel=”author” tag. The latter one is not always applicable since in many websites their content can’t be attributed to one person. I think if a webpage has a blog incorporated into it we can use the rel=”author” tag for it and for the rest website the rel=”publisher” tag.

  14. Jamal A N

    Thank you ! very detail information. With your tutorial i made the “Publisher markup is verified for this page.”

    Maybe for your update, after i put the code on the head tag, the result can be shown by 15 minutes (maybe because i already had the business page before)

    Thanks again

  15. Tristan Jones

    Just curious, with the recent update to the Structured Data Testing Tool, it’s no longer so easy to see if your publisher markup is working. Are you aware of anywhere else or any Google policy changes recently?

  16. Honey Vig

    Thanks I was first stumbled by how to implement rel=”Publisher” on my website. First I tried with anchor tags, then got stuck with my personal gplus account url. It was a bit confusion between what to use there personal or business page url – but now after reading this article I totally understood the whole process.
    Thanks again mate!

  17. Biswas

    Google Publisher is very essential for company’s brand name. I think Google Publisher has no effect on keyword ranking in SERPs. Lastly a very good and well written content which is very easy to understand. Thanks once again.

  18. XeBii

    Hi, Thanks for the helpful article.
    But i’m not able to verify my Publisher page in Google Webmaster snippet tool.

    I followed all your instructions and also linked my website in my Google+ Page
    but no luck :(

    Please advice …

  19. baguz

    For Now, i Just have a problem in Rel=’Publisher’. But now i know where the problem. But i have a question about google+ business Page. It is Google+ Business Page Need to Procced Address Verifying First ?

  20. Ruven

    Very informative post mate, keep posting such good stuff, making this website as my bookmark for my future website purposes.

    Thanks in advance!

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