The Rel=Author Basics

Google introduced ‘AuthorRank’ back in June 2011. It allows authors to let Google know what content they wrote; helping to support and identify popular writers and bloggers across the web by displaying the author’s image and profile in search results.

This is important as it helps personalise the search result, adding a human edge to the website and increasing click-through-rate. If implemented properly, you’ll see the below in the search results:

relauthor The Rel=Author Basics

So how can you do it?

First of all you will need a Google+ account with a photo. Secondly you will need to link your article posts to your Google+ profile. To do this you will need to add two tags to the head of your website’s source code.

The first looks like this:

<a href=”” REL=”ME”>James Finlayson</a>

You have to enter the tag into your webpages ‘About’ page or – if you’re writing on a multi-author blog – the user’s profile page. You substite your own Google+ URL link which can be found by clicking on the icon in the top right hand corner and profile. What this does is inform Google that the author of all this content is the same person as the Google+ profile.

If you are a WordPress user, the link can also be added very easily. Firstly, log in to the back-end, then click on to ‘menus’, which is under the ‘appearance tab’. Then click on the screen options in the top right hand corner. A series of tick boxes will then fold-out;  tick the box ‘Link Relationship (XFN)’

Once this is done you are able to edit your menu options to include ‘author’ which will cause the rel=author tag to be added to it.

After this is completed you will need to add an author box at the bottom of each blog post – most themes support this automatically. If you need to do it manually, then edit posts.php adding, after the end of the post: ‘’Written by <a rel=”author” href=”../authors/JFinlayson”>James Finlayson</a>’’.

To prevent just anyone doing this, you need to link your Google profile back to any websites you write on. You can do this by going into your profile editor and adding a link under the links section back to your site.  The links back and forth should look a bit like this:

 rel author connections The Rel=Author Basics

Why you need to implement it?

Well there are many positives to implement the ‘rel=author’ tag. Whilst the tag doesn’t yet affect search rankings yet, it may do so in the near future as Google continues to push the integration of its social media with its other services. As well as this the likelihood that someone will click on your search is much higher as consumers love to put a visual face to an article. This increases the personality behind your brand and, in doing so, makes your brand more human.

  • It’s easy to implement
  • A higher CTR, tests have shown an increase in 38% CTR with an Author Rank addition
  • It boosts your company’s credibility
  • Author attribution helps people recognise your content more easily
  • Reduces the risk of your work becoming plagiarised
  • When people read an article they like they want to learn more about you
  • People will psychologically feel as though they are dealing with a human being, who they ask questions and theories

After you have successfully added the tags, it may take up to a week before you begin to see your Google+ image next to your searches, so be patient.


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