rel=”author” frequently asked (advanced) questions

Webmaster Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Using authorship helps searchers discover great information by highlighting content from authors who they might find interesting. If you’re an author, signing up for authorship will help users recognize content that you’ve written. Additionally, searchers can click the byline to see more articles you’ve authored or to follow you on Google+. It’s that simple! Well, except for several advanced questions that we’d like to help answer...

Authorship featured in search results from one of my favorite authors, John Mueller

Clicking the author’s byline in search results can reveal more articles and a Google+ profile

Recent authorship questions

1. What kind of pages can be used with authorship?
Good question! You can increase the likelihood that we show authorship for your site by only using authorship markup on pages that meet these criteria:
  • The URL/page contains a single article (or subsequent versions of the article) or single piece of content, by the same author. This means that the page isn’t a list of articles or an updating feed. If the author frequently switches on the page, then the annotation is no longer helpful to searchers and is less likely to be featured.
  • The URL/page consists primarily of content written by the author.
  • Showing a clear byline on the page, stating the author wrote the article and using the same name as used on their Google+ profile.
2. Can I use a company mascot as an author and have authorship annotation in search results? For my pest control business, I’d like to write as the “Pied Piper.”
You’re free to write articles in the manner you prefer -- your users may really like the Pied Piper idea. However, for authorship annotation in search results, Google prefers to feature a human who wrote the content. By doing so, authorship annotation better indicates that a search result is the perspective of a person, and this helps add credibility for searchers.

Again, because currently we want to feature people, link authorship markup to an individual’s profile rather than linking to a company’s Google+ Page.
3. If I use authorship on articles available in different languages, such as for English and for the French translation,
should I link to two separate author/Google+ profiles written in each language?

In your scenario, both articles:
should link to the same Google+ profile in the author’s language of choice.
4. Is it possible to add two authors for one article?
In the current search user interface, we only support one author per article, blog post, etc. We’re still experimenting to find the optimal outcome for searchers when more than one author is specified.
5. How can I prevent Google from showing authorship?
The fastest way to prevent authorship annotation is to make the author’s Google+ profile not discoverable in search results. Otherwise, if you still want to keep your profile in search results, then you can remove any profile or contributor links to the website, or remove the markup so that it no longer connects with your profile.
6. What’s the difference between rel=author vs rel=publisher?
rel=publisher helps a business create a shared identity by linking the business’ website (often from the homepage) to the business’ Google+ Page. rel=author helps individuals (authors!) associate their individual articles from a URL or website to their Google+ profile. While rel=author and rel=publisher are both link relationships, they’re actually completely independent of one another.
7. Can I use authorship on my site’s property listings or product pages since one of my employees has customized the description?
Authorship annotation is useful to searchers because it signals that a page conveys a real person’s perspective or analysis on a topic. Since property listings and product pages are less perspective/analysis oriented, we discourage using authorship in these cases. However, an article about products that provides helpful commentary, such as, “Camera X vs. Camera Y: Faceoff in the Arizona Desert” could have authorship.
If you have additional questions, don’t forget to check out (and even post your question if you don’t see it covered :) in the Webmaster Forum.

Getting started with structured data

Webmaster level: All

If Google understands your website’s content in a structured way, we can present that content more accurately and more attractively to Google users. For example, our algorithms can enhance your search results with “rich snippets” when we understand that your page is a structured product listing, event, recipe, review, or similar. We can also feature your data in Knowledge Graph panels or in Google Now cards, helping to spread the word about your content.

Today we’re excited to announce two features that make it simpler than ever before to participate in structured data features. The first is an expansion of Data Highlighter to seven new types of structured data. The second is a brand new tool, the Structured Data Markup Helper.

Support for Products, Businesses, Reviews and more in Data Highlighter

Data Highlighter launched in December 2012 as a point-and-click tool for teaching Google the pattern of structured data about events on your website — without even having to edit your site’s HTML. Now, you can also use Data Highlighter to teach us about many other kinds of structured data on your site: products, local businesses, articles, software applications, movies, restaurants, and TV episodes. Update: You can see the full list of schemas supported in Data Highlighter here.

To get started, visit Webmaster Tools, select your site, click the "Optimization" link in the left sidebar, and click "Data Highlighter". You’ll be prompted to enter the URL of a typically structured page on your site (for example, a product or event’s detail page) and “tag” its key fields with your mouse.

Google Structured Data Highlighter

The tagging process takes about 5 minutes for a single page, or about 15 minutes for a pattern of consistently formatted pages. At the end of the process, you’ll have the chance to verify Google’s understanding of your structured data and, if it’s correct, “publish” it to Google. Then, as your site is recrawled over time, your site will become eligible for enhanced displays of information like prices, reviews, and ratings right in the Google search results.

New Structured Data Markup Helper tool

While Data Highlighter is a great way to quickly teach Google about your site’s structured data without having to edit your HTML, it’s ultimately preferable to embed structured data markup directly into your web pages, so your structured content is available to everyone. To assist web authors with that task, we’re happy to announce a new tool: the Structured Data Markup Helper.

Like in Data Highlighter, you start by submitting a web page (URL or HTML source) and using your mouse to “tag” the key properties of the relevant data type. When you’re done, the Structured Data Markup Helper generates sample HTML code with microdata markup included. This code can be downloaded and used as a guide as you implement structured data on your website.

Structured Data Markup Helper

The Structured Data Markup Helper supports a subset of data types, including all the types supported by Data Highlighter as well as several types used for embedding structured data in Gmail. Consult for complete schema documentation.

We hope these two tools make it easier for all websites to participate in Google’s growing suite of structured data features! As always, please post in our forums if you have any questions or feedback.

Using markup for organization logos

Webmaster level: all

Today, we’re launching support for the markup for organization logos, a way to connect your site with an iconic image. We want you to be able to specify which image we use as your logo in Google search results.

Using Organization markup, you can indicate to our algorithms the location of your preferred logo. For example, a business whose homepage is can add the following markup using visible on-page elements on their homepage:

<div itemscope itemtype="">
<a itemprop="url" href="">Home</a>
<img itemprop="logo" src="" />

This example indicates to Google that this image is designated as the organization’s logo image for the homepage also included in the markup, and, where possible, may be used in Google search results. Markup like this is a strong signal to our algorithms to show this image in preference over others, for example when we show Knowledge Graph on the right hand side based on users’ queries.

As always, please ask us in the Webmaster Help Forum if you have any questions.