Authorship Versus Publisher Markup: Which One and When

With all of the updates Google has done over the last few years, the question that seems to excite our clients most is, “Can I get that little picture of me next to my search results?!” The answer is both yes and no.

Authorship is for tying content to an author

Think about this for a moment. Your name is John Smith. You have a brother Joe Smith and you work for Smith & Smith Law Firm. When a user goes to your homepage, should they associate that homepage with John Smith, Joe Smith or the Smith & Smith Law Firm. Which one makes most sense? The answer is of course, Smith & Smith Law Firm. So the rel=”authorship” markup would not be appropriate here. You would want to relate this page to your business’ Google+ page.

Next, we travel to your blog where you, John, wrote about a change in auto insurance law that went under the radar. You would want to be the “author” of that post. It’s not a page you’d want to associate with your brand or business location. It’s you showcasing and sharing your knowledge.

Rel=”publisher” markup is cool too!

Getting the little picture of you next to your website in the SERPs is a neat feature to personalize your content. But the rel=”publisher” markup is cool too. Let’s just take a look at Verizon Wireless as an example. When I search for their brand, the following results are returned.

publisher markup

Along the right hand side, you can see how the rel=”publisher” markup displays their brand. Recent posts are being pulled from their Google+ Business page. Their logo, social following and even some other information Google was able to capture is all displayed in a user friendly way. Using your rel=”publisher” markup properly will help Google better display your brand. It also increases click-thrus in many cases and gives potential clients even more access to content they may not have otherwise found.

The purpose

The purpose of these markups is for Google to display the best possible search results. By properly setting up Google+, Google Plus for Business, rel=”author” and rel=”publisher” markups, sitelinks and a paid campaign for their brand name (very cheap and easy),  Verizon Wireless has just about completely controlled the way that their website displays in search results when we search for their brand. These markups impact on rankings are up for dispute among the SEO community, but there’s no disputing the importance of utilizing them properly. We strongly believe that whether or not they impact your rankings now, there is no question they will soon.

We will do a post soon on how to properly setup everything from authorship to sitelinks. Stay tuned!