How To Use The ‘rel author=’ Attribute For SEO

Have you seen little pictures next to Google search results and wondered how they got there?

rel author= example

They’re there because the author created a link between their content and their Google+ profile using the ‘rel author=’ attribute.


What is it used for?

The ‘rel author=’ attribute is used to associate yourself with all of your work, such as your blog and blogs you contribute to, so that it can all be attributed back to you. This is helpful if you are having issues with people stealing your content and claiming it as their own. It’s also helpful in building your personal brand, since when someone clicks on ‘More by John Smith’, it will show them more content that John Smith has created.

How does it work?

It takes a small amount of effort on your part, but essentially it ties your content to your Google+ profile. You do have a Google+ profile, don’t you?

How to set up ‘rel author=’

  • You’ll need a Google+ account. If you don’t already have one, set that up now.
  • Optimize your Google+ account. This includes doing things like:
    • Selecting a clear headshot as your profile picture.
    • Editing the “Contributor to” section in the “About You” portion of your G+ profile. Make sure to have the URL to the homepage of all the blogs that you contribute to.
  • Link your content to your Google+ profile. It’ll look like this:
    • Byline
    • For example, on this blog post, I have this link with no byline; you can’t see it unless you look at the source code. Mine looks like this:
  • Test that the link is working by inputting the URL of your content into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool

If the Authorship Testing Result says ‘Authorship is working for this webpage.’ then you’re set, authorship is working for you!

authorship testing result

Make sure that you include the authorship link on all of your content, and soon your picture and author info will be showing up in search results!


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