Google Gives Advanced Tips on Authorship: What This Means to Your Business

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Authorship has been a big topic in the SEO world for quite a while (and rightfully so). Authorship not only helps your entry jump off the page and seem more “human” to Google users, but it helps others find all of your work online easier, and it positions you as an authority in the eyes of the Google bots. Authorship is the future of search, so now is the time to get started building up your author rank and getting more involved in Google+.

For those who are unfamiliar with how authorship works or how to get started, you can learn more in this past SEJ article. The next step is getting more advanced and looking at what Google has to say about authorship and how to take full advantage.

Google Announces Advanced Authorship Tips 

Google has written quite a bit about authorship in the past, but just last week Google made some announcements about authorship that are not generally discussed. Consider some of these tips when analyzing your authorship strategy and efforts at a more advanced level:

  • Authorship should only be used when there is one author. It should not be used for multiple authors or for a page with multiple snippets of content.

Authorship should appear on pages where there is one author who wrote one piece of content. In some cases, companies have a page that lists articles found on many different websites or are a feed for lots of articles, and yet they still put one author on that page. One person probably created that page, but that doesn’t mean authorship should be used.

Authorship should also not be used if there are multiple authors on one page. If there is one piece of content but many people wrote that content, authorship probably shouldn’t be used. On that note, it is possible to just tag one author. It’s not really fair, but it’s up to you.

  • Authorship (rel=author tag) should only be used for real people. Use the rel=publisher tag when showing business authorship.

Using some sort of persona or company mascot for authorship is not what Google intended. Authorship is about real authors and giving those real authors credit. Things get confusing when you try to use a fake person or you’re a company owner who wants total control over all the content written for your company. Give real authors credit and allow him/her to use his/her own Google+ profiles. This is what Google wants and this is what users want, so you should come out on top in the end if you follow this rule.

If you want to use the rel=publisher tag as opposed to the rel=author tag (which is what this article is discussing), that is an easy way to show business authorship. This means that a piece of content will be connected to a business Google+ page, so it’s a good way to keep things organized. You can learn more about the specifics of publisher markup here.

  • If you have articles in different languages, all of those articles should link to the same Google+ profile.

Authorship has everything to do with that one particular author. If that author wrote three different articles, one in English, on in Spanish, and one in French, they should all still be linked to that same Google+ profile. Google made it clear in their announcement that creating multiple Google+ pages in different languages for one person is not necessary.

  • Authorship is not for product description pages or property listings EVEN IF one particular employee customized the description.

A description for something like a produce review or property listing is not the type of information that Google wants authorship to portray (and the author should not, either). An author should have only well-written articles and opinion pieces connected with authorship. It needs to be all about that author and what that author can offer, not something as general as a description of a product.

Google ended this announcement by saying that you don’t have to participate in authorship. All you need to do is remove the authorship tag from the articles and you’re set to go. If this isn’t possible for some reason, just make your Google+ profile private.

So what does this mean for your company? Because these tips are coming straight from Google, it’s important to really pay attention and take them to heart. Some of the above suggestions are still easy to work around at this point, but Google will surely start changing this in the future. If they don’t want authorship to be connected with product listings, it’s only a matter of time before some sort of penalty is put into place. We’re not there yet, but it’s best to prepare while there is still plenty of time.

What are your thoughts on Google authorship? Do you find it hard to abide by some of these more advanced suggestions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit:

Amanda DiSilvestro

Amanda DiSilvestro

Online Content Editor/Writer at HigherVisibility
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a... Read Full Bio
Amanda DiSilvestro
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  • Justin

    Great little article Amanda! Had a quick question I was hoping you are able to clarify for me:

    Should we not be using sitewide?

    On our blog, we have individual authorship markup for each article, in addition to the above publisher mark-up.

    Thoughts and advice are appreciate and thank you again for your contribution.

  • Justin

    Sorry, in my previous comment, the HTML was removed.

    We are using the rel=publisher markup sitewide .

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      From my experience and through my research, I think it’s perfectly fine to have authorship markup for each of your articles that were written by authors with real Google+ profiles and then ALSO have rel=publisher markup sitewide. Of course with the publisher markup you have to have it connected to your company Google+ profile (not an author) and then you’ll see a little checkmark next to your company name on Google+. I hope that makes sense!

      Does anyone else have advice for Justin or an opinion?

  • Riza

    Interesting for Google to address concerns. I say, their answer about whether or not authorship should be used for multiple-authored sites is quite reasonable. While the second one is obvious.

    Unless you have other tactics in mind. This is really helpful. Some questions are now put to rest.

    By the way, this post has been shared and “Kingged” on the IM social networking site,

  • yaseen khan

    Hi Amanda DiSilvestro, thanks for sharing. Google Authroship always help me to rank better than non google authorship sites.
    I have one doubt, can I show my company logo (google authorship) at google search engine. whether it is possible to show my company logo at google search engine.

  • Ryne L


    You have the right idea here.

    For some businesses, which are built upon personalities of the individual proprietors, Authorship would be a better idea than Publishership – think individual attorneys, social media personalities like or iJustine, etc. These businesses would probably do better to have Authorship set up sitewide because their face and name are the most marketed parts of their businesses, so they’ll pull in more clicks than the lesser-known branding would.

    Larger companies, like multi-attorney law firms, large brands like Pepsi or Kraft, creative agencies, eCommerce sites, etc. should strive to use the Publisher tag site-wide, and then apply the Authorship tags on specific pages that were written by individuals, like static content and blog posts.
    Several small studies have show that sites that people typically expect a larger brand for, instead of an individual, may actually get a decreased CTR for using Authorship site-wide. This is because, in consumers’ eyes, Brand X is a brand they trust and support, and using a previously-unknown individual as the face of the company in the SERPs is a bit like displaying the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz: it makes the property feel amateur, smaller, and the listing looks like a blog listing in the SERPs, instead of a commercial eCommerce listing. Using Publisher tags sitewide works better here, and then tagging individual Authors on blog pages, guides they’ve created, and other individual content pieces, tied back to completed, central author profiles, is the best way to go for most businesses with multiple employees.

    TL;DR: You need to meet consumers’ expectations when using Authorship and Publisher tags, and the type of business you have, and your vertical, will dictate which one is better.

  • Dawit

    Great article! had a quick question for you. I’d like to know how other publisher are going about this: When you mentioned “Give real authors credit and allow him/her to use his/her own Google+ profiles.” Are you saying let the employee use his/her own Google+ profile (linked to their personal email)?

    Our company has a Google business account and all of our emails are Gmail so I was wondering if it would be best to create Google+ profiles using their company emails and using that for authorship or just letting them use their own personal Google+ profiles? The latter would definitely be easier especially if the employee leaves later.

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      That is a really good question and I’m sorry I missed it earlier! You certainly can have the employee use their gmail account (that’s what I do) , but what I meant above was use a personal Google+ as opposed to a business Google+. There is an alternate way to do this that I have to dig up here but I’ve definitely written about how to make that happen before! I’ll try to find it and come back, or feel free to DM me on Twitter and we can email. @ADiSilvestro. Thanks!

  • Zac Johnson

    Great post and recap. I’m focusing on my Google+ author rankings a lot more lately and making sure I’m getting the necessary credit and placements on sites I’m writing for. Everyone is talking about Google+ and how important it’s going to be for rankings and building your personal brand… soon enough it will be here in full swing!

  • Radko Aleksandrov

    Many of us in SEO espouse the great benefits of Google Authorship and the potential of the rumored AuthorRank. Many in SEO would argue that AuthorRank has not yet been implemented as part of the Google algorithm. Or has it been added already?

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      I know that Google has said that they are going to start boosting authoritative websites and author rank (author’s attached to that site) is going to be a part of that. In any case, I would say that authorship is a part of the algorithm whether it has been announced or not–it certainly will be someday so the sooner you can get started the better!


    Great article to remind the importance and how to use the authorship the right way. I have noticed when I use my Google+ on newly launched sites it helped to instantly rank higher.

    Thanks for the ideas Amanda.

  • Naomi

    Great article Amanda! Was wondering why there should only be one G+ page with multiple languages linked to it. Does Google only display end user language settings?

  • Stephanie Drescher

    Thank you for the article Amanda, Google Authorship, is still something I am trying to figure out. I don’t think I am leveraging it properly just yet. But articles like this help.

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      Glad to hear that Stephanie! If you need any help you can feel free to reach out to me–I know a lot about authorship being a full-time online writer 🙂 My Twitter is @ADiSilvestro

      • Stephanie Drescher

        I just might do that Amanda! Thanks:) Just started following you on Twitter. @stephdrescher

  • kunal

    what about if i write content for 10 different sites means 1 Author and multiple sites then what should i do in my each site and mine google + profile.. how can my image will show in google serp of all different sites keywords.

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      It’s all about what you put in your “Contributor To” section on your Google+ profile. You can find this by going to your profile and editing, your about section, and then adding links to your “Contributor To” section. Add links to your author pages on those sites and if the sites have the authorship markup set to go you should be good!

  • Andrew Huskinson


    You can have as many Profiles in your name for the person you are and the entities you own or are associated with.

    An example I use in Google+ Discuss Community and the Google and Your Business help forum a lot over the past year without complaints.

    A professional, lawyer say, can at the same time:

    Do personal consultancy.

    Be employed, say for a college.

    Work as a partner in a commercial practice.

    Also you need to factor in here Places and + Local Business Pages.
    And think about who’s Copyright Posts are.

    For the consultant them selves we advise on the forum (Jim Jaggers) that they make a Places entry at home if they want one. Also register their professional entry and vertical directories at home. In Places and +Local Business Page use their own phone no and just list as Lawyer. And establish Authorship on their own +Profile under their own email account.

    So they can then network from their own +Profile and make Posts in their own Blog, as a guest, or in Google Communities with Authorship.

    When they are employed lets assume the employer owns their content. They can have a +Profile under the employers email and then be invited to be a manager of a +Page. If the college want that to be theirs the +Profile can be hidden from search in the settings and not used. When a Profile is used to post as a manager its not visible.

    When they are in a partnership their contract will determine who owns content. Lets say the practice want them to be a visible author of content, but the practice own the content and keep it if the professional moves on. Again a Profile can be made under the Practice email and a different picture used to differentiate Posts. The professional can network from the Profile for the practice and Post on Pages they are a manager for. When they Post elsewhere for the practice they will not mark it up as an Author but could use rel=publisher from the practice.
    From a Places and +Local Business page point of view the practice has Divorce Lawyer say so that it is found in a local search rather then any Places entry the lawyer has at home.
    Where lawyers homes are spread out they may come up for a local search from having the Lawyer category and Divorce in their description. Its up to them to pass work on as their contract.

    Remember Google, apart from a transfer of Circles, between +Profiles ONLY, do not transfer or copy any data from one Profile or Page to another. All you can do is copy data out to a flat file using Takeout. When you merge a +Profile with another only the Circles copy and it does an automatic Takeout of the data, it is NOT copied from one Profile to another.

    People just jump into business social without thought.
    They continue using what is really a personal gmail and profile.
    At some point they realise they have bee YouTubing business stuff on that gmail. Fortunately you can change the gmail link.
    They start networking from their personal Profile for the business and find content is jumbled up,
    And set up Brand pages when they are Local and should have been using a +Local Business Page. So if they want to link social to a Places entries Google+ search results page they have to orphan the Brand page.
    Also I suggest for self owned businesses you Post from a +Profile, set up just for that business, rather than a +Brand page as it is more flexible.

    There are legal and disclosure benefit to having separate Profiles. And if you partition personal and business logon’s by device some security management benefits as well.

    Cheers. Andrew.

  • Andy Kuiper

    Good post and really helpful comments – especially Andrew Huskinson’s 🙂
    thanks all 🙂