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How To Add Rel Author Markup For Author Citations

Brand | 23rd May 2012

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Video Transcript

The way Google displays search results is changing and has been changing for the last few years, away from traditional text to incorporate author photos and other schema information. To ride the back of that trend and make sure your search results stand out, then rel=author is a really quick, effective way of doing so. What this does is it adds the author photo next to their results, and also it shows how many circles they’re in on Google+. So it can add an authority factor.

To add rel=author markup is actually really simple, and all you need to do is follow these five steps.

The first step is to create an individual page for each author on your site, which you probably already have as a result of WordPress or Blogger output. If your website is only run by one person, then you can just make an About Me page, and that will serve the same purpose. The information that you have on this page doesn’t matter too much for this purpose. You can have, obviously, information on the author, photos of them, their Twitter account. But the one thing that’s important for this is to link to their Google+ profile, and that’s the individual profile for each author.

That link is structured like any other hyperlink. The link goes between the speechmarks, is the Google+ URL. Then instead of closing the command, you then write “rel=author” in speech marks and then you close it up. You then add it to your link as you normally would, and then you close off the “a href” command with an </a> as usual.

That’s all you need to do for each of those author pages.

Next you need to tell Google which author has written which blog post. You do that by linking from each blog post to the individual author page. Again, you should use the rel=author tag to do this, to pass that information over. When you’ve done that, you’re actually finished with all the things you have to do on your website, so it’s quite a simple process.

Next you need each individual author to go to their Google+ profile, edit it, choose the ‘Contributed To’ section, and then change that information to say that they write for your website. Once that’s done, they can hit Save, and then you go to the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool. If you search for that, then it will come up. Put in the URL of one person’s blog post, and it will actually show you how the results should look. If it looks wrong, Google will actually say, “This part of the process is wrong. Here’s how to fix it.”

Once you’ve done that for all of your authors, you’re effectively done. It’s really just a waiting game then to see how long it will take Google to incorporate this into their results. For us personally, when we first did this, it was over a year ago, and it took around about three months for the information to appear in the search engines. The last time we did it, within 24 hours all 20 authors appeared with their information in the search results. So they are a lot faster now, and generally the waiting time isn’t very long.

One thing to bear in mind is that the photo that each author has in Google+ is what will show in the search results. Obviously, if people have personal Google+ profiles, it will show their personal picture. So you may need to have a work profile if you want them to have a specific branded photo, but that’s your call and it’s just something to bear in mind.

Follow these five steps and your search results will stand out a lot more. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video, and for more information on what we do, visit Koozai.com or any of the profiles below. Thank you.

About the author

Mike Essex

Mike Essex specialises in digital marketing and everything search. A recent project of Mike’s was featured on BBC News, Radio 5Live and the Times here in the UK, whilst also featuring on USA Today and ABC News in the US. He will be writing throughout the month about digital marketing and much more...

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