Authorship in Search – Google’s Reward to Great Authors

By on Jun 30, 2011 in Search | 23 comments

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AuthorGoogle has been recently pushing authorship markups to be included on websites, as they will be starting to highlight content creators in their search results.  Matt Cutts also mentioned on an interview by Danny Sullivan that they’ll be using another site/content metric in gauging quality and importance of content through the reputation of its creator – which he called AuthorRank.

This new metric will help search engines identify high quality content, given that great content are from great authors. Google SERP’s landscape is consistently evolving, and apparently they are complementing their results’ user-interface with more trust indicators to fully enhance their users’ search experience through features such as Google preview, sitelinks, Instant Pages on Chrome, rich snippets and now with the authors’ images and names that will be powered by authorship markups (from schema.org’s microdata, rel=”author” on HTML5 or XFN’s rel=”me”).

The images that will be used by Google’s search results are drawn from Google Profiles and will look something like this:

Authorship in Search

How may it change Search?

Ways to Confirm Authorship in Google

There are several ways that Google can look for authorship of content and they have set up a guide on how you can do this on Google’s Webmaster Support, though I’ll be listing some of them below:

Here’s some examples given by Google:

Here’s some examples of how you might use authorship markup and Google Profiles to help Google surface your content. (This feature is being rolled out gradually and will be implemented algorithmically, so author information will not always display in search results.)

1. You write an article for the Foo Times, and also have a Foo Times author page

  • The article should link to your Foo Times author page using rel="author".
  • Your Foo Times author page should link to your Google Profile using rel="me".
  • Your Google Profile should link to your Foo Times author page. When you add this link to your profile, be sure to check the This page is specifically about me checkbox. This creates a rel="me" link to your Foo Times author page.

2. You write an article for the Foo Times, and you have no author page on that domain.

  • The article should link to your Google Profile using rel="author".
  • Your profile should link to the Foo Times home page.

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Image Credit: Magical-Night

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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  1. Sean

    July 1, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Saw this article on SEL. It was on younger stages before. Now I guess they’ve some use for it using Author Rank. Cool.

  2. Wow. The potential social bias implications of putting everyone’s picture by their listing in organic search results would be a bloc of data that would be most interesting.

    I can see it now. Google gets sued for discrimination in search results that have been tied to the plus one social search system.

    This actually worries me a tad bit.


    • Kaiserthesage

      July 3, 2011

      Post a Reply

      This addition to Google’s SERP can really do a lot of changes in terms of search behavior. Though I think it would still need a lot of tests for us practitioners, as it’s still on trial version 😀

      I think most that have to worry are those who are in the corporate side, seeing as most of them publish content anonymously. They might have to revise their content strategies.

  3. lawmacs

    July 2, 2011

    Post a Reply

    i have reading about the author rank quite recently and it looks like a good idea at first glance not seen any negative review about this yet Thanks for the heads up on this one Jason

    • Kaiserthesage

      July 3, 2011

      Post a Reply

      Thanks for including this post on your weekly roundup Gary! :) And glad that your readers found it useful.

  4. Tad Chef

    July 2, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Sadly Google doesn’t know by itself who the author is and you have to tell it which is quite difficult, especially on sites where you don’t control the markup.

    • Kaiserthesage

      July 3, 2011

      Post a Reply

      Agree Tad, though I guess/hope that they’ll make this process more simple for authors in the long run. I guess it’s just right, as spammers may find their way to spamming this procedure if there will be no reciprocals from sites you contribute content to that you don’t have control of.

  5. Zarko

    July 4, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Hey Jason,

    I connected my account with my google profile as soon as they published their post on google webmasters blog, of course before that I already added rel=”author” to my blog, but I have yet to see my picture next to the search result :( Anyway, love the recent google updates, authorship as well as google+

    not sure if your on, but seeing that Google has limited their number of members temporarily I can’t send any invites…

    • Kaiserthesage

      July 4, 2011

      Post a Reply

      A lot were too excited to test Google+, didn’t make it in time :(

      With lots of addition on SERP’s landscape, it seems that it (with pictures) will look like more of a status news feed by Facebook in the future. But I’m still excited 😀

      • Nabil

        July 6, 2011

        Post a Reply

        I stuffed that author stuff on my blog yesterday, but I still haven’t seen my picture in the search result. For how long is someone supposed to wait?

  6. I can smell blood:) Google continues its full swing of changes, from SERPS new look, authorship, Google plus and the incoming revamp of GMAIL UI. We all know what Google is up to, a competitive nature of Search Engines and the compelling demand for socialization.

  7. Ah, how worrisome! I have so many posts in different blogs and website. I’ve been writing and publishing internet stuff since 1992 lol and it’s all under different names. I will have to think about revising my strategy.

  8. Rahul

    August 19, 2011

    Post a Reply

    This is great! I just confirmed my authorship. I also read that a website with confirmed authorship will rank higher in SERPs.

  9. Hey Jason!

    Awesome article! Just wanted to ask regarding sites that use article spinning methods. For example they take an article from another site and spin it to call it their own. Will Google be able to pick up on this?

    I hope so for the webs sake. Thanks again for the post will start going through my site to ensure that i have relevant authorship mark ups in place

  10. Jeanette

    October 30, 2012

    Post a Reply

    Thanks for this great article Jason!
    There are two questions bugging me and it would be great if you would help.

    1. How can a brand act as author?

    2. Is there any way to contribute content to more than one author? Imagine
    – the results of a study issued by a professor (author #1) and his student (author #2) on a corporate blog (author #3)?
    – Or an interview, which per se has more than one person’s content.
    – Or an article of a guest blogger on a blog …

    Cheers, Jeanette

  11. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the layout of your blog?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content
    so people could connect with it better. Youve
    got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  12. Theron@Read More

    February 17, 2013

    Post a Reply

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative.
    I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future.

    Many people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  13. Thank you for your informative blog post. Authorship verification for search is totally great. I have done it for my blog. The good news is that, after verifying for this authorship, I am getting more visitors that is unexpected. It will help you get more traffic.


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