Official Google information: everything you need to know about authorship

Google has recently published frequently asked questions about the rel=”author” tag.

For example, you cannot use mascots in the author image, you shouldn’t have multiple Google+ profiles for multiple languages, and authorship isn’t for product listings. Here are the details:

1. What kind of pages can be used with authorship?

Pages that contain a single article or a single piece of content by the same author can use the rel=”author” attribute. If the page is a list of articles or an updating feed, then Google won’t use the rel=”author” attribute. Google also won’t use the attribute if the author frequently switches on the page.

If the page consists primarily of content written by the author, and if the page contains a clear byline on the page, stating the author who wrote the article (using the same name as used on the Google+ profile), then Google might use the rel=”author” attribute.

2. Mascots are now allowed

If you have a pest control business and want to write articles as the ‘Pied Piper’ then you’re free to do that. However, Google’s won’t display author information in the search results. They just want to show the author images of real people in the search results.

Important: Link the authorship markup to the Google+ page of a person. Do not link it to your company’s Google+ page. Google wants to feature people with the rel=”author” attribute.

3. Only use one Google+ page, even if you write in different languages

If your website contains articles in different languages, do not use two different Google+ accounts in different languages for the same person. One author should have only one Google+ page.

4. Each article can have only one author

At this time, Google’s search user interface supports only one author per article, blog post, etc. This might change in the future.

5. You can prevent Google from showing authorship information

If you don’t want to see author information next to your website in Google’s search results, make the Google+ page of the author not discoverable (instructions). It also helps to remove any profile or contributor links from the website.

6. Authorship is not the same as publishership

The rel=”publisher” attribute enables businesses to link whole websites to the Google+ page of that business. The rel=”author” attribute links articles to the Google+ profile of a person. Both attributes link relationships, but they are completely independent of one another.

7. Do not use the rel=”author” attribute on product pages

The authorship annotation is useful to searchers because it signals that a page conveys a real person’s perspective or analysis on a topic. Product pages are not perspective/analysis oriented. For that reason, you shouldn’t use the attribute on these pages.

If you write an article about products (“Camera X vs. Camera Y: Faceoff in the Arizona Desert”), you can use the rel=”author” attribute with that article.

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