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Google Authorship for SEO: What You Need to Know

Google first introduced Authorship two years ago in an effort to provide more power to authors and website owners to have full control and claim ownership to the content they produce. Since then, Google Authorship has become an indispensable tool in enhancing SEO campaigns, while also allowing authors to gain more visibility for their content, connect with their niche, and establish their credibility. These things happen because more people are inclined to click on search results written by “real” people.

If you are just starting out with Google Authorship for your SEO efforts, you want to make sure that you will be able to get the best out of it. In order to do that, there are some important things you need to know about authorship that will allow you to use it the right way. Below are some of them.

You don’t own the content unless Google says so

Regardless how much time you have spent writing a piece or how many articles you have posted online, you can’t claim ownership for them unless Google officially recognizes you as the author of that content. What this means is everything you made are vulnerable to being stolen by others and they can get credit from the content you wrote as though they were their own.

Of course, you want to have control over your hard work and Authorship will allow you to do just that. Since it serves as a form of byline that puts your name, image and link to your G+ profile next to all the content you made, you can be assured that all your work will be properly attributed to you. And if someone copies them on their site and takes the credit, Google will easily know and implement the necessary penalties.

Some types of content do not qualify for Authorship

According to Google, Authorship is applicable for a single content or page (containing a real person’s perspective or analysis on a particular topic) made by a designated author. It should not be used for a compilation of articles or content by the author. Google also discourages authors to use authorship for property listings and product pages since they are not perspective or analysis oriented.

You can verify your authorship status by visiting

google authorship

Authorship is for real people, not for mascots

While it is alright to use personas or the image of your company mascot or your favourite cartoon character on your other social networking profiles, Google discourages this on authorship annotation. What they want is to feature the person who actually wrote the content, as it indicates that the search result is the perspective of a person, which also sends out the message to searchers that the content is credible.

Authorship supports one author per content

Currently, Authorship only supports one author per article, blog post and other type of content. Hence, if you have co-authored a piece with someone, the only option is to choose who between the two of you will be tagged as the author. Fortunately, Google is already experimenting on how to incorporate multiple authors on their Authorship program.

There’s a difference between rel=author and rel=publisher

Google noted that rel=author and rel=publisher are complete distinct from each other. Rel=publisher is the easiest way for a company to create a shared identity by linking their business website to their business G+ page. Rel=publisher, on the other hand, is specifically made for authors to connect the individual content they make from a URL or website to their G+ profile.

Content of different languages but written by the same author must be linked to the same G+ profile

If, for instance, you have written a particular content and it is translated to different languages, you do not have to make multiple G+ profiles. Rather, all the articles you have authored, no matter what languages they are in, should be linked to a single G+ profile in your language of choice.

You don’t have to use authorship if you don’t want to

If, for some reason, you don’t want authorship annotation appearing on search results, you may simply opt to make your G+ profile private. Another option is to remove the contributor links or markups on your articles so that they no longer connect with your profile. However, if your main goal is to use Authorship to boost your SEO efforts, establish your credibility, and validate all the content you wrote, then preventing authorship annotation from appearing on search results may not be a good decision.

Sherry Sims is an avid writer who enjoys tackling topics related to social media, search engine optimization and technology. She also blogs for

Join The Conversation

  • Oct 15 Posted 3 years ago Sarah Jane

    Hi Mitz,

    I think Alice is right - both about the typo and the great article ;)

    We found that while more and more people are coming round to the idea of Google Authorship, a lot of people overlook the importance of Google Publisher when it comes to 'brand power' and creating that brand entity that SEM is becoming more and more about. We've created an ebook on the subject - the ultimate guide to Google Publisher. You can download it for free here -

    Hope people find it useful!

  • Sheersocial's picture
    Oct 11 Posted 3 years ago Sheersocial

    Hey Mitz. Did  you mean to say rel=author in this part "Rel=publisher, on the other hand, is specifically made for authors to connect the individual content they make from a URL or website to their G+ profile?" If so you may want to make the little, but important change.

    GREAT write up! Gonna share it!

  • navneetsau's picture
    Oct 10 Posted 3 years ago navneetsau

    What an impressive article Mitz. Thank you for sharing your invaluable thoughts about Google authorship which is an essential topic to consider for seo perspective. It is an easy & effective way to be an authorized user for your real content which you have created by hard & smart work.

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