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Google Launches Authorship Markup! What does it mean for SEO?

As we know, in search engine optimization knowledge is power. The more you know about the ins and outs of the search engines the more traffic you can get into your site’s conversion process. Newly released Google authorship markup is one of those topics that could very easily slip through the cracks if you aren’t paying attention. Luckily, we are paying attention and monitoring Google updates daily.

What is Google Authorship Markup?

Google Authoriship Markup
Google Authoriship Markup

Google authorship markup is pretty basic. Google has now made it possible to connect content with authors. This of course has always been possible, but now there is a method that Google has created to enable this connection, which means it will be more authoritative in their view of the internet.

Here is a quote on the topic from Google.

“We now support markup that enables websites to publicly link within their site from content to author pages. For example, if an author at The New York Times has written dozens of articles, using this markup, the webmaster can connect these articles with a New York Times author page. An author page describes and identifies the author, and can include things like the author’s bio, photo, articles and other links.”

So maybe this doesn’t sound too exciting to you at first. But as an author and an SEO expert, I can tell you we’ll be able to leverage this to gain some traffic – and traffic is always exciting! But before we get into that, let’s take a look at the technical side of things so we know how to set this all up.As with many Google identifiers, authorship markup uses a rel attribute which is part of the HTML 5 standard. All this does is indicate a relationship with a content page and an author.

According to Google

  • A content page can be any piece of content with an author: a news article, blog post, recipe, review, short story, etc.
  • An author page is a page about a specific author. For example, a news site might feature an author page for each of its contributors. The author page should be on the same domain as the content page.

If you would like to identify the author of the page, Google would like you to add a simple rel=”author” specification. Let’s be clear, this is a hyperlink, not a piece of code that goes in the header like a rel canonical specification. Here is an example of this in practice.

Written by <a rel=”author” href=”../authors/mattcutts”>Matt Cutts</a>.

So what does this do? It tells the search engine that this piece of content can be attributed to this particular author URL.

Linking Multiple Profiles with Authorship Markup

Google has also made it possible to link multiple profiles. To be honest, this part is a little confusing but I understand why they did it. There are clearly going to be many profiles for an author on different sites. For example, I have a personal website, a profile on SEO Inc., an Ezine Articles profile, etc. Google wants it to be clear that all of these profiles are the same people. So as of right now there is specification that will allow us to do that. Google has mentioned that the following sites are using the code already.

“The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNET, Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker and others. In addition, we’ve taken the extra step to add this markup to everything hosted by YouTube and Blogger. In the future, both platforms will automatically include this markup when you publish content.”

Now back to how to correlate multiple profiles using Google authorship markup…

In order to make this happen we need to use the rel=”me” attribute. Here is an example of this in practice from Google.

Say that Matt is a frequent contributor to http://example.com. Here’s a link from his http://example.com author page to the page he maintains on :

<a rel=”me” href=”http://mattcutts.com”>Read more about Matt</a>

In turn, Matt’s profile on points back to his author page on http://example.com, like this:

Matt has also written <a rel=”me” href=”http://example.com/contributors/mattcutts”>lots of articles for the Foo Times</a>.

The reciprocal rel=”me” links tell Google that the profiles at and http://example.com/contributors/mattcutts represent the same person.

Pretty basic right? So all we do is add this specification as a link within the content.

What does Authorship Markup Mean for SEO?

The first thing that comes to mind is that certain authors have search traffic. This authorship markup specification will allow us to better optimize the profiles we would like to rank. Along these same lines, many times we run into clients who want to own their branded search space for own name. This could be due to a reputation management issue or simply because they want to be visible online. This authorship attribute should let us get better rankings for those online properties.

Let’s try this thing out!

Written by John E Lincoln

Have a question about Authorship Markup? Ask below!

About Garry Grant

Garry Grant is a veteran expert in search engine optimization and the digital marketing industry. With nearly 20 years of experience, Garry has successfully built a multi-service operation at SEO, Inc., developing proprietary technologies through complex strategic solutions. He has extensive experience in key initiatives and operational responsibilities grounded in information technology and performance management.

Garry’s expertise and esteemed reputation, coupled with SEO Inc.’s impressive client success record has earned him such accolades as Entrepreneur Magazine's 2005 Hot List for the Hottest Internet Property, Inc. 500 2007 Honorary award for Fastest Growing Private Company in America, an Inc. 500 top 50 Company in San Diego, and interviews with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, Entrepreneur and The Huffington Post.

Garry Grant began his online career in 1993 creating strategic Web and e-business solutions for Homepage.com, The Rush Limbaugh Show, Premiere Radio Networks, Clear Channel Communications, EarthLink and Artisan Motion Pictures. Today, Garry and SEO Inc.’s highly skilled digital strategists develop proprietary technology and strategic digital marketing direction for Fortune 500 companies including, SC Johnson, McAfee, Entrepreneur.com., Inc Magazine, IGN, Tacorri, LPL Financial, National Kidney Foundation, G4 TV, Fuel TV and Sony, just to name a few.