John Waghorn

The Business Benefits of Using Rel Author

24th Mar 2014 SEO Blog 6 minutes to read

Rel AuthorRel author is a great way to build your reputation as a credible author within your field, become a trusted voice within your industry, and get your content seen within the SERPs. Not a bad thing when it comes to Content Marketing and SEO.

To provide clarity on a subject with which many businesses may be unfamiliar or unsure of its real purpose, I’m going to explain what rel author is, how to get it implemented, and most importantly what the benefits are to your businesses online marketing efforts.

What is rel author?

Let’s say you write blog content on your own website or you provide content for external websites, such as a monthly contribution to an online news site. Rel author essentially allows you to display your name and avatar in the search engine results page (SERPs) next to the articles that you create or relevant content that you are associated with.

This is achieved by creating an author box at the end of your content, adding the rel author code in which you link to each author’s personal Google Plus profile (more on this later).

Using one of my own examples for a recent Koozai post that I created, here is what rel author looks like when displayed in the SERPs.

Rel author

As you can see, my author photo displays next to the Meta description as well as my name and the number of Google plus circles I’m currently in, as highlighted above.

It doesn’t take long to set up rel author and once it’s in place, anyone searching in relation to the topic covered in this post could be presented with the above result in Google. This will apply to other blog posts that I’ve written too, as long as the search terms are relevant to the topic that I’ve written about.

How do you set up rel author?

Setting up rel author is easy to achieve and in this excellent video, Koozai’s Online Marketing Manager, Mike Essex, takes you through the steps you should follow.

To recap, here are the main steps:

1. Create an individual page for each author on your site or an author box for each piece of content.

2. Link each author page to the author’s Google Plus profile using the rel author code.

3. Use the rel author code again to link from each blog post to the individual author page or if you’ve opted for an author box you do not need to link back to an author page.

4. Finally, on the author’s Google Plus profile, under the ‘About’ section (first image below) you need to add that you are a contributor to the blog/site you write for (second image).

Google Plus About

The example below is from my own personal Google Plus account and all you need to do is edit your profile and add the contributor links into this section.

Contributor to

To test that rel author has been set up properly, you can use the Google rich snippets testing tool and enter a blog post link to visualise how the result will display.

Again, using the above example, the tool confirms how my Koozai post will appear in the SERPs:

Rich snippets testing tool

If your photo appears and there are no technical issues stated beneath the image then you’re all done.

The benefits of rel author

As soon as you are using rel author for all of your contributors and writers, there are plenty of benefits to enhance the power of your business. Let’s look over some of these in more detail.

Gain authority and trust

Like any information that we absorb in life, we tend to listen to those who either hold power or that we value with respect and trust.

Rel author allows you to build both your presence and authority within your industry and become recognised as the go-to person for information on a particular subject matter.

Therefore, if your avatar appears more often in relative searches concerning a specific subject, trust will be generated over time by the person searching based on familiarity. If they have also found that your content provides them with the insights/answers they need, this means that they’re more likely to return to you again in the future too.

It’s the perfect way for people to view the personalities behind a brand and for them to associate you as an established source who knows exactly what they’re talking about.

Social media influence and credibility

Authority can also be gained as rel author displays the current number of Google Plus circles you are in.

So, if a full page of search results displays multiple author avatars on the left-hand side, you’re able to see how influential or active each one is.

In this instance, regularly updating your Google Plus profile and adding new followers/circles will help to give you more credibility and act as another indication of authority too.

There is talk of Author Rank, which effectively helps to determine where your content gets placed in the SERPs. Whilst this has not been officially announced, it’s worth considering that the more active you are on Google+, and the more your content gets shared and engaged with by other influential Google+ users, this could have a positive impact on where your content gets placed in the SERPs. More information can be found in the excellent post by Moz.

Building any profile takes time, but if you’re active on this social channel it’s only going to give you more influence when users view any rel author results in the SERPs.

Content that draws you in and encourages clicks

Click Through RateIn a world where a large proportion of businesses are using content to enhance their brand, you need to do everything you can to really stand out from the crowd.

If you are presented with ten links on a regular SERP and one of them has an author photo displayed next to it, this can act as an added incentive for users to click through to the page. The results themselves look more visually appealing than those without rel author displayed.

Previously, only those who were signed into Google would be presented with rel author results. Now however, these results appear for all users, which is why it’s even more relevant to make sure it’s instigated sooner rather than later so that your pages/links are visually more appealing in the SERPs.

Get ahead of the game

It’s highly unlikely that Google’s rel author is going away anytime soon, so as more businesses start to introduce it, this metric as a ranking and usability factor will become commonplace.

If you don’t have rel author now, you’ll probably need to implement it further down the line anyway. So, instead of waiting until it has to be carried out, why not set it up as soon as you can and start taking advantage of it in the meantime?

Remember that trust and authority are two huge factors for any business and this method is definitely one way to help your company and the faces behind the brand gain the recognition you deserve.

Set up rel author today

Although you may be new to the world of rel author, it’s worth implementing at the earliest stage so that your writers can gain authority, whilst building trust, and encouraging a higher click-through rate to your site pages and content.

Whilst this metric isn’t the most fundamental process that needs to be carried out on your site, it’s definitely one factor that influences the success of your business. For this reason alone, you should make sure that you’re taking advantage of rel author today.

Image credits

Click through rate image from BigStock.

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John Waghorn

John used to be in a band. Hey, if he can still go on about it, so can we! He’s an Apple Sour drinker, a positive thinker and we’re always mesmerised by how he styles his hair. Answers on a postcard if you think you know how he does it.


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