How rel=author Can Impact Your Blog’s Ranking in the Search Engines

This is a guest post by Alicia Lawrence

How rel=author Can Impact Your Blog’s Ranking in the Search Engines

Google’s authorship program is a tool being used by authors of all types for higher rankings in the search engines. Using the rel=author markup, users can see who created or commented on a particular piece of content via a picture of the author that is displayed in the search engine results under the title of a blog post. Google believes this feature will allow users to more easily find and follow their favorite authors as well as create a sense of trust and transparency. To find out more about how rel=author can impact your blog’s ranking in the search engines, keep reading.

How Does This Markup Benefit Blogs?

The most significant way the rel=author markup can benefit a blogger is by how it affects clickthrough rates, especially if that face is the only one seen in a page of search results. Users can see at a glance whether a result is from someone they trust or from someone they’d like to know more about. It helps build an author’s brand as well by making snippets from a blog stand out more when compared to other results. SEO experts believe the tag will help Google’s search engines determine which content is authentic and which is not. It will become a signal of trust to users.

Why Did Google Implement This Tag?

Though there are likely many reasons, one of the most likely is that Google wants to promote transparency when it comes to content. Authors are less likely to churn out spam content when their face and name are attached to it. Likewise, those who do create spam content will be less likely to use the tag, and their listings in the search results will not be as appealing without the enhancement of the author name and photo.

How Does a Blogger Claim Ownership of Content?

There are already plugins on the market, including the popular Yoast SEO and All in One SEO, which will handle inserting this tag for you. Alternatively, you can insert it yourself by inserting the following into your header.

 <a href=“[GOOGLE ID#]?rel=author”>Your Text Here</a>

Multi-author blogs will need to tag each author in their articles. Obviously, to use this feature, you will need to have a Google+ account that uses your real name and photo.

What About Bloggers Who Contribute to a Number of Sites?

Google has thought about contributing bloggers, too. In your Google+ profile, simply add the sites that you contribute to under the “contributor to” section. You can then use the rel=author tag on those sites as well to claim your content.

You can check to see if the connection worked by using this rich snippet tool.

How Will This Affect Blog Ranks

The Google Authorship program has been around for more than a year now, but it’s still not entirely clear how significantly blogs that don’t use the tag will be affected. Currently, there are still more bloggers who do not use the tag rather than bloggers that do. As that changes, Google’s algorithms will likely be adjusted to put rank those blogs that use the markup a bit higher because the content creator is more transparent about his or her identity.

As more people use it, though, the benefits for increased clickthrough rate will be reduced because more results will compete with the enhanced listings. If you want your content to rank, though, reputation and authority using the Authorship tag will be significant factors in doing so.

Googles rel=author is a powerful tool, especially if you want to develop your personal brand as an author and creator of content. Implementing this feature is pretty easy and quick, so it’s definitely worth your while.

About Alicia

Alicia Lawrence is a content coordinator for WebpageFX who helps companies like Havahart, and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her work has been published by the Association for Business Communication, Yahoo! Small Business, and Spin Sucks.

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  1. says

    Hi Silviu,

    I’ll admit a plugin is the easiest for your personal blog BUT if you just want to do the line of code I suggested I would put it in the bottom of each post. If you do it with the line of code like this, make sure you verify your email with Google Authorship (for some reason it won’t let me paste the link in this comment box).

    There are many different ways you can add it in though. You can add the rel=author through the head of every page that you want to attribute to that particular author. This works best on sites with templates or includes where you want to add the author tag to all or most of the pages.

    After you have implemented the code, add the website to the Contributor To section in Google+. It’s also preferable to add a contact email (can be private) at the same domain name that you are trying to implement rel=author.

    The Google ID is located in your URL (it’s the line of digits between and /post) Go to your profile page and you will see it.

    As far as I’m aware you still have to create accounts for each author.

    Hope that helps!

  2. says

    Hi Alicia,

    It’s so funny because the last post I visited this was the topic as well. Even funnier was that she was linking to the post I had written about this which was July of last year.

    Yep, I jumped on the bandwagon as soon as it was announced because I could see where this could really help with rankings. Now my blog has remained the same for the last two years in page rank status so this hasn’t helped me at all in that respect. I do like the part where when I search for posts and see the image next to the link my eyes goes to them first. It’s even better when I see my own.

    It’s only been a little over a year so I’m sure that with time this will be explained and played with enough that Google will be able to have this all in place exactly how it should work. All I know is I could see the writing on the wall so I just did it.

    Thanks for sharing this and nice to see you here. This is definitely still an important topic, especially for new bloggers.


    • says

      Hi Adrienne,

      Ha that’s ironic. I think what also comes into play is your score on Google+. If you are very active and are in a lot of people’s circles, Google will see you as an influencer and rank your posts higher as well. Hope you start seeing a return for your investment soon!

  3. says

    Hello Alicia,

    This is a very interesting post. I am still in the process of creating that Google authorship. What is exceptionally interesting for me is the fact that you are suggesting you can use a line of code instead of a plugin. This is very important when you have many plugins installed and you don’t want another one to increase the loading time. Whenever I can, I prefer to use a line of code instead of a plugin.

    Could you please tell me :

    a. Where exactly do you insert that line of code? The header? This is a little bit confusing. The header is usually an image. Maybe you refer to a html tag.
    b. What is Google ID? What do I have to put there?
    c. Can this line of code help me get rid of the necessity to create accounts for each author that wants to guest post on my blog?

    If I succeed with this, it would be extraordinary.

    Have a wonderful day

  4. says

    Great explanation, Alicia. I have found that this makes for a much more impressive search engine result. I can’t be sure of cause and effect but my Google Page Rank went from a 3 to a 4 after I claimed authorship.

  5. says

    Interesting mine did not work in the snippet tool but If I search my blog I see it, why is that Alicia? Thanks for sharing this information as I’ll be diving deeper into it.

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