Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

Linda Buquet

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This post is so hugely important that anything I add may make it too long and hard to read. So I'm going to try to keep my comments to a minimum and quote others who have it this big complicated issue nailed.

1st off there is TONS of confusion about Rel="Publisher" and Rel="Author". I don't think most are even clear about how or why you should use it and how very important it's becoming.

Many in local ask me how to do the "markup thing" to get their picture in the SERPs.
Yes that's one bene, but it's so much bigger than that!

If you care about where the future of search is heading, read every link in this post to get clarity on these issues.

1st up a Quote from Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google. Then below that some important links from Mike Blumenthal that directly relate to local.


Mark Traphagen on Google+ Quoted Eric Schmidt of Google
Mark Traphagen - Google+ - Has Eric Scmidt Just Confirmed Author Rank?

It's been some time since we've had any public statement from a Google employee on Google Authorship becoming a major ranking factor in search results. Until now.

In his upcoming book The Digital Age, according to +TechCrunch, Schmidt says the following:

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

"It's important to distinguish between Authorship and Author Rank" See later in comments.

"Authorship already is in the SERPs (the author photo rich snippets we've been seeing for almost two years now).

Author Rank is the (yet to be implemented) ranking of Authors by topical authority in order to boost their search results for relevant queries."
Mike Blumenthal's recent post about Google's LOCAL PUBLISHER TAG.
Google+ Promotes Publisher Tag for Local Listings

With the developing Google+ Local management interface Google is now actively supporting and encouraging Publisher Rich Snippet Tags for Local listings. Last week we saw that Google was using the new interface to promote Adwords Express Plus, now they have added a feature to encourage businesses claiming their listing to implement the publisher feature. It leaves open the question of whether Google thinks it is spammy to include authorship on a local website but makes clear that Google thinks every local site should implement the publisher tag.
In comments Daniel Berman offers brilliant explanation that helps clear confusion.
Matthew Hunt asks re author or publisher markup? Daniel replies:

Its not a matter of either or, its a matter of both and. You want to setup the rel=”publisher” to provide a context of identifying your business website to Google and especially giving you the chance to give them the categories that your business best fits, and then tying all of that back to your NAP information that Google has on file.

You want to setup your rel=”author” markup to recognize your contribution to the content as published by the business, but recognizing that your role as a human being is larger than just your position at that business. Maybe you also have a blog, and a hobby website. If you setup the rel=”authorship” formatting on all of those sites then your online identify or persona becomes clearer to Google as whole.

That said both are needed, just like getting a yellow page listing for your business and business cards for yourself are helpful so that people can find the business but also personally connect with you as a person.
So then Mike followed up with this post to help further clarify.
Google Local: Rel = Publisher Or Rel=Author? You Should Do Both

There were a number of questions after I reported that a new Google+ Local claim of a business in Plus (not the Dasbboard) generated instructions to add the rel=publisher rich snippet to your website. Many asked whether rel=publisher should replace the rel=author snippet. The answer is that you should do both.
Mike linked in that post to a good <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/seosmarty/relpublisher-versus-relauthor">slide show</a> that <a href="http://myblogguest.com/blog/">Ann Smarty</a> did which details the differences.

<iframe src="http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/15613923?rel=0" width="427" height="356" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" style="border:1px solid #CCC;border-width:1px 1px 0;margin-bottom:5px" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen> </iframe> <div style="margin-bottom:5px"> <strong> <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/seosmarty/relpublisher-versus-relauthor" title="Rel=Publisher versus Rel=author" target="_blank">Rel=Publisher versus Rel=author</a> </strong> from <strong><a href="http://www.slideshare.net/seosmarty" target="_blank">Ann Smarty</a></strong> </div>​

The information above is a TON to try to understand and digest. Especially on top of all the crazy new G+ updates and issues we need to try to understand and keep ahead of the curve on.

But if you task yourself with studying the info above this weekend and start learning to implement this for your clients, I think your business will really benefit in the long run.
 

Nick Rink

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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

Thanks for putting this info together Linda. I think the comment from Daniel and the slideshow by Ann are among the best I've seen to try and explain it all in a relatively simple way. Attempting to explain this to clients can be difficult, so it's nice to have some eloquent options available!
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

Thanks Nick. I agree, so hard to explain. Just send them to this post.

One of the main reasons I worked to pull this all together is to use in my training. There is already SO much Advanced G+ content in my training already. I just had to expand training from 3 - 4 hours AND this week just had to add another hour, so now it's 5 hours. It's just jam-packed with no room to add more, so I can't really invest the time to try to explain all this. (I think it's impossible to even TRY to explain in just a couple sentences.) So now I have a link I can send training clients to for complete details.
 

Susan Walsh

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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

Hi Linda,

I was just on Mike B's blog and trying to digest all this information. There's been a lot going on this past week. Thanks for putting it all together. I love the quote from Eric Schmidt and was going to investigate what book Mike was talking about and here it is on your post.

We always provide our clients with G+ Local training once the page is all set. This post helps enormously. I have a on-site training this Friday - need to go update my slides.

I wrote a quest post months ago on Search Engine People which included how to setup Rel=Author with Google+ and WordPress if anyone is looking for directions. Do you or anyone know where directions are to setup Rel=Publisher? I'll guess I'll go "Google" them.

Thanks again for putting this all in one place.

Susan
 
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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

This is a ton to digest. I have a question after watching Ann Smarty's slideshow. Her text mentions 'Business G+ Pages'. Does she mean Google+ Business pages or Google+ Local pages? Any thoughts? That is confusing me.
 

David Deering

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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

Miriam, I believe it only applies to Google+ Business pages, although I could be wrong. But I haven't seen a way to link and verify a website to a Local page as you can with a Business page. But implementing a rel=publisher tag is very simple. You just add it under your other meta tags so that it looks something like this:

link href="https://plus.google.com/b/....." rel="publisher"/ (with the < and > at the ends; my tag was getting edited out when I kept them in the post)

Then link and verify your website on your Google+ Business page (in the Website section under the Contact Info section).

A rel=publisher tag should be added to your homepage. A rel=author tag, on the other hand, should be added to each page that you author, such as articles in your blog, and linked back to your personal Google+ page. So on my blog article pages, I add the following code:

link rel="author" href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/107534960995428499496/posts"/ (again, don't forget the < and > at the beginning and end of the tag)

If you use WordPress, I'm sure there are some plug-ins out there that you can use. As you probably know, there are many benefits to using rel=author and rel=publisher tags, and word is that they will become even more important for rankings in the future. So it's best to start now.<link href="https://plus.google.com/b/....." rel="publisher"><link rel="author" href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/107534960995428499496/posts">
 

Randy Kirk

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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

David D,

Thanks for that. Do you mean that you add that tag to every post within a blog? I'm almost 100% blogger, but a spaz on html. Where do you add this?
 

David Deering

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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

Randy, yes, you add those tags in the HTML code of the page. They go under the title and description tags. I add the rel=author tag to every article page that I write. But if you're using an off-site blog such as Blogger, then you could probably either use your name as the anchor text and link it to your Google+ profile (Example: Written by [a rel="author" href="https://plus.google.com/...."]Randy Kirk[/a] or you could use the rel=me tag to first link to your author bio page, then use rel=author from your bio page to your Google+ profile. Hope this is not confusing anybody. It really is pretty simple. If I can do it, anybody can. :)

Here's one of my recent posts. View the page source and you'll see exactly where I placed my rel=author tag in the code and how it should look. And while you're there, hit the "+1" button! lol

Hope that helps.
 
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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

David,
Thank you so much for your reply. I like it so much, I've bookmarked it and bet I'll be pointing others to it before long.

I appreciate it!
 

David Deering

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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

Gotta love a man that knows how to ask for what he wants! :p
Well, I never usually get what I ask for (especially with a woman), but I've learned that it never hurts to ask (especially with a woman). LOL

And anytime, Miriam. Glad I could help. Feel free to send me a private message or email me if you need some help or guidance. That applies to anybody else on here, too.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

LOL David. :D

Thanks for offering to help folks here!

FYI little bit of a discussion on this started on my G+ stream here.
 

Nick Rink

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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

Miriam, I believe it only applies to Google+ Business pages, although I could be wrong. But I haven't seen a way to link and verify a website to a Local page as you can with a Business page. But implementing a rel=publisher tag is very simple. You just add it under your other meta tags so that it looks something like this:

link href="https://plus.google.com/b/....." rel="publisher"/ (with the < and > at the ends; my tag was getting edited out when I kept them in the post)

Then link and verify your website on your Google+ Business page (in the Website section under the Contact Info section).

A rel=publisher tag should be added to your homepage. A rel=author tag, on the other hand, should be added to each page that you author, such as articles in your blog, and linked back to your personal Google+ page. So on my blog article pages, I add the following code:

link rel="author" href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/107534960995428499496/posts"/ (again, don't forget the < and > at the beginning and end of the tag)

If you use WordPress, I'm sure there are some plug-ins out there that you can use. As you probably know, there are many benefits to using rel=author and rel=publisher tags, and word is that they will become even more important for rankings in the future. So it's best to start now.<link href="https://plus.google.com/b/....." rel="publisher"><link rel="author" href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/107534960995428499496/posts">
For anyone using Wordpress then Wordpress SEO by Yoast works like a charm. There's a spot for the rel=author tag in your User Profile and a spot for rel=pub in the plugin settings menu. On top of all that it's just generally a kick-ass SEO plugin!
 
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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

I dug into this some months ago and came across a great article explaining how publisher and author tags can conflict, making it far less likely for your author photo to show up in serps.

I'm posting this before reading all the articles in the OP, so I may have to edit this later if new info is given.

Here it is in a nutshell.

1. Publisher tag is placed on a single page, and on the page most frequently visited (usually the homepage).

2. Authorship then has to be handled in the same way it's handled when multiple authors contribute to the site.

---> Any articles written by Author1 is linked to a Bio page using rel="me". The single Bio page then contains a link to the G+ Profile using rel="author"

I have noticed that this doesn't test well on the rich snippet tester, but several articles I came across hold that it is the best way to handle it.

If I find those articles again, I'll share them here.

QUESTION:

For businesses with multiple locations (and multiple Google Plus Business Pages) I would imagine the Publisher tag will go on each corresponding location page, not the home page, right? Does that make sense to anyone else?
 

David Deering

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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

For businesses with multiple locations (and multiple Google Plus Business Pages) I would imagine the Publisher tag will go on each corresponding location page, not the home page, right? Does that make sense to anyone else?
Hmmm, I can't say with certainty, but I would say that a site should have only one rel=publisher tag. From everything that I've read, a rel=publisher tag applies to the entire site, and attributes ownership to a particular Google+ Business page. I think that adding a few different rel=publisher tags on the same site would confuse Google and end up diluting the value of the tag. Personally, I would only link the homepage to the main Google+ Business page.

Thanks for sharing the link and the video, Linda. Apparently then, I had it backwards: if a site has an author bio page for each author, use the rel=author tag to first link the author's name to their bio page, then from the bio page, use the rel=me tag to link the author's name to their personal Google+ page. I've seen it both ways, but it's probably best to use the video's suggested method. Thanks for sharing that.
 
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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

rel=me, =author?... hmmm now you have me doubting what I read lol

I'll have to review.

I see your point about publisher permeating the whole site. I don't think the rich snippet tool sees it this way if you put a sub page URL in it. I'll have to check this later.

If that IS the case, though... this means one Google Plus Business Page for the entire business / franchise... which is unfortunate. I can understand that if you're using the page for the brand, but if you're using the local business type, this doesn't make sense.

All of this discussion is reminding me why I've left publisher tags on the backburner. Authorship is much easier and seems to matter more anyway. In my own tests (though limited) I found authorship made much more of a difference in ranking, and certain in CTR since the photo grabs so many eyeballs.
 

David Deering

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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

rel=me, =author?... hmmm now you have me doubting what I read lol
lol Exactly, KungFu--Google has not exactly covered all of the bases with this rel=author/me/publisher stuff in their posts. Hopefully they'll clarify things a little more soon. But unless your site uses author bio pages, don't even worry about the rel=me tag. Just use the rel=author tag to link your name or page to your Google+ personal profile.

I'd recommend just throwing in the rel=publisher tag on the homepage. It certainly can't hurt.
 

Linda Buquet

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Re: Critical 4 Local - Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup - What you NEED to Know

All of this discussion is reminding me why I've left publisher tags on the backburner.
The whole thing is just confusing!

Isn't it confusing enough that we have to deal with ?Google Places? err? I mean ?Google+ Local?
err? I mean "Google+ Pages? err? I mean ?Local Google+ Business Pages? err? I mean
?Merged Google+ Local Business Social Combo whatever the F* you call it Pages? :p
 

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