Rel=”author”: Verify authorship to lend authority to your content

One of my favorite things about SEO is that so often it, unlike most things in life, just makes sense!

Reading the latest SEOmoz blog post, Using Passive Link Building to Build Links with No Budget, I came across a fantastic idea.

The author states that Google knows people will happily write crap in order to pull in search traffic. But rarely do people want their real names associated with that crap. So he surmises:

Rel=author is going to be one of the biggest trust signals in the coming years. If you are consistently writing quality content within the same industry (not poker one week, weight loss the next) that gets social shares, attracts links and is on well-respected blogs (owned by another well respected author) Google knows you’re not some shady internet marketer that’s promoting the latest e-book on Clickbank. This is awesome and everyone that’s trying to build a legitimate business should be using it.

As someone who consistently writes what at least I think is quality, one-topic-per-blog content, this seems like a no-brainer. And in WordPress at least, it really is. The blogger linked to Google’s old instructions on how to set up with data, but I’ll link you to the newer version.

If you’ve got a WordPress blog, first make sure your GoogleCards plugin is installed and working properly. Then go to Appearance > Widgets and expand your GoogleCards box. Check the box that says Add rel=”author” to links?.

Then just continue in the Google instructions for adding links to your Google+ profile:

  1. Add a reciprocal link back from your profile to the site(s) you just updated.
    1. Sign in to your Google+ profilepages opens in new window'
    2. Click Edit profile.
    3. Click the Contributor To section on the right (depending on how many photos you have, you may need to scroll to see this section), and then click Add custom link.
    4. If you want to keep your email private, change the visibility of your link by clicking the drop-down item at the end of your email list, and selecting the option you want.
    5. Click Save.
  2. To see what author data Google can extract from your page, use the rich snippets testing tool.

I used the rich snippets testing tool on a post of mine, and look:


Ain’t it pretty?


  1. Jennifer Skates

    You pretty much rock! Thanks for keeping all of us posted and for sharing your insight!

    • cathyreisenwitz

      You rock ma’am! Thanks for stopping by! You blogging anywhere these days? Still in the SEO game?

      • Jennifer Skates

        No blog. Or at least not recently. Still love keeping up with SEO trends and have been able to assist some friends/family with their sites. The first undertaking was a flash site (lucky me) but I’m proud to say they’ve seen the error of their ways, kicked their flashy design to the curb and now use WordPress. Thanks to that and some social networking, blogging and fresh content, they’re holding their own on local search. Don’t you just LOVE people who listen?

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