Google Local: Rel = Publisher Or Rel=Author? You Should Do Both

There were a number of questions after I reported that a new Google+ Local claim of a business in Plus (not the Dasbboard) generated instructions to add the rel=publisher rich snippet to your website. Many asked whether rel=publisher should replace the rel=author snippet. The answer is that you should do both.

Daniel Berman explained it best in the comments:

Its not a matter of either or, its a matter of both and. You want to setup the rel=”publisher” to provide a context of identifying your business website to Google and especially giving you the chance to give them the categories that your business best fits, and then tying all of that back to your NAP information that Google has on file.

You want to setup your rel=”author” markup to recognize your contribution to the content as published by the business, but recognizing that your role as a human being is larger than just your position at that business. Maybe you also have a blog, and a hobby website. If you setup the rel=”authorship” formatting on all of those sites then your online identify or persona becomes clearer to Google as whole.

That said both are needed, just like getting a yellow page listing for your business and business cards for yourself are helpful so that people can find the business but also personally connect with you as a person.


Here is a good slide show by Ann Smarty detailing the differences.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Local: Rel = Publisher Or Rel=Author? You Should Do Both by

24 thoughts on “Google Local: Rel = Publisher Or Rel=Author? You Should Do Both”

  1. AFAIK you only need to confirm publisher at a domain level. i.e on the root/home page.

    While authorship is on a per page basis.

    I vaguely remember the validation tool once complained if you had both on a page. I think it has now goten over that.

  2. @Andy, at this time Google are saying author markup has no influence in ranking. But it is definitely in the pipeline.

    What it does do is make you stand out with a photo and link to your profile. So it may increase your CTR.

    1. Here is what Eric Schmidt recently said in his book on the topic: “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

  3. Thanks for the clarification, the slideshow summarises perfectly. I agree with @Tiggerito that I thought it was only the homepage that needs the rel=author snippet. Is there any final answer on this?

  4. So just to make sure I understand this correctl, the rel=”publisher” can be used for any business? Or is it only for businesses such as a newspaper that churns out content? Can this be used for a car dealership or a law office?

  5. RE: “All Local, All The Time…”

    Yup….like that I do! But a quick google on that phrase shows that yup, this blog post comes up but NO smiling Michael….

    C’mon Mike….AR is cool!



  6. Daniel as I said in the other post, your comment was DEF worth quoting!

    I also just quoted you in the following post: Critical 4 Local – Author Rank, Publisher & Author Markup – What you NEED to Know

    In that post I also link to both Mike’s posts here, PLUS expand on the importance of both, leading up to the new and upcoming ‘author rank’ and an extremely important quote from Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google. Snippet below.

    “Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification…”

  7. Ann’s presentation really cleared branded authorship tags up for me. I did wonder how authorship would be used on brands as it could easily be spammed with logos etc.. which I’ve seen happen. However I have seen a massive reduction recently in G+ profile pics on commercial and branded keywords indicating they are shifting towards businesses using rel=publisher instead of them getting away with rel=author.

  8. So what is the best way to set up both and where should rel=author and rel=publisher appear in your website source code?

    I use wordpress genesis site and have the Yoast seo plugin
    **In the user section on WP there is the section to enter google Authorship link
    **In the Yoast dashboard there is a place to enter google publisher link.

    So when I check my source code…….I see rel=publisher on the home page, however all my other WP Pages and Posts have rel=author.

    Does that sound correct?

  9. Google seems to have changed how to edit the “Contributor to” Links for “rel=author”
    Go to Google+;
    Click on “Profile” in Left Navigator
    Click on “About” under your header image
    Scroll to “Links” in Right column
    Click Edit at bottom of Links cell
    Add Custom Link in “Contributor to” (or edit) and save
    (This worked 05/06/13)

  10. For something like a local business page, with just a few different pages, it’s clear rel=”publisher” should be set but…

    Can rel=”author” be used too? For example, in this case the page home is like an article, providing the info about a small business, and has the “publisher”, but taking into account it’s like an article (info, length…) can rel=”author” be set at the same time?

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