Understanding Google My Business & Local Search
Google+ Promotes Publisher Tag for Local Listings
Mia Culpa: Due to carelessness and haste I originally published this article indicating that Google was promoting authorship.. My thanks to A. J. Kohn for highlighting my error.
With the developing Google+ Local management interface Google is now actively supporting and encouraging Publisher Rich Snippet Tags for Local listings. Last week we saw that Google was using the new interface to promote Adwords Express Plus, now they have added a feature to encourage businesses claiming their listing to implement the publisher feature. It leaves open the question of whether Google thinks it is spammy to include authorship on a local website but makes clear that Google thinks every local site should implement the publisher tag.
The interface provided is slick, simple and avoids all discussion of technicalities that could be involved in establishing a publisher relationship. It gently instructs the business as to how proceed and if they are flummoxed by the task of inserting the single line of html onto their site, they are given the option of emailing their webmaster with instructions. A single button test of the install completes the circle of simplicity.
Clearly Google is not just highlighting rel=publisher for local but is making it incredibly easy. It is apparently an effort to get as many business to use it as possible. The interface is refreshingly clean and functional. A nice change from the interface kluge that is the current dashboard and a refreshing alternative to the historically complex ways of implementing this feature
It has been a long and tedious struggle living with Google local over the past several years. It reminds me of the maturing of a petulant teenager as he/she seeks their own path in life. Google’s rapidly developing G+ Local Interface may just grow up to be a fully functional adult in the local space. There seems to be more than a glimmer of hope.
Here are screen shots & feedback from the process:
When you select “email these instructions” Google sends the following email to your webmaster:
I’d like you to link:
to the Jaremko William M MD Google+ page:
Do this by adding a link to your website’s homepage, as in:
<a href=”https://plus.google.com/117682777922465528654” rel=”publisher”>Google+</a>
For more information, visit http://www.google.com/support/+/?p=link_page_to_website&hl=en
When you test the publisher code from your site there is a simple feedback mechanism advising you of whether it was done successfully.
© Copyright 2023 - MIKE BLUMENTHAL, ALL RIGHT RESERVED.
Thanks for pointing out this new possibilities
Any ideas how this will affect businesses with multiple physical locations but one website. Will they need to put multiple rel=”publisher” links into their website pointing to the Google+ Local pages of each of their locations?
Awesome news Mike! It was so hard for me to explain before and even some of the G help docs contradicted each other or were very confusing!
Now I’ll just link everyone here! 🙂
Thanks for all you do!
@Ehg & Linda
Great question. Currently G+ Local is really designed for single bricks and mortar locations. It doesn’t work well for multiple locations that really need a single social presence. The same appears to be true of the implementation of this rel=pub feature. I can see no effective way to implement this across multiple Google local listings. but I will look.
@Mike I look forward to reading what you come up. My other thought would be to create a single brand presence on Google+ in addition to the physical locations. Then I could setup their website with the rel=”publisher” markup to the brand presence Google+ page, and let the Google+ Local pages float.
I wonder how this is going to play out with franchised businesses who share a single root domain.
Clearly we are still living in the half baked world of the transition to some more complete version of G+. We ain’t there yet.
The G+ environment is not yet ready for the multi-location, single brand entity. This quote from Google in response to my questioning is as true now as last August when it was made:
“I .. asked Google for a public comment about the new product transition and a Google spokesperson said:
Our long-term vision is to enable business owners to simply and easily manage their presence across Google, whether they’re posting on a local Google+ page or updating their local listing. We’ve recently enabled verification for business owners who created pages via Google+ Pages for Business, and are working hard on ways to help additional business owners fully upgrade their listings and take advantage of the interactive features of Google+.
“I then posed the following hypothetical current situation to the spokesperson: A multi location business has created a Google+ page for Business (but not in the local category) and has 25 locations. Should they keep the Business page AND claim the 25 locations? Should they get rid of the current Business page and just claim the 25 locations? Should they just wait?”
“The spokesperson noted”:
In the case you outlined, we’d encourage the business owner to hold tight until we enable verification for more and more businesses.
I do not see a solution to that problem as of yet. I don’t really see a work around although there may be one.
I think it better for them to wait for the more mature version of G+ that Google spoke of last August.
My Google places verification has been stuck for months in Google’s “Pending” hell. A month or so back I received a reply from a Google support rep that they were aware of the problem and that it was being sent to Engineering for review. Still have not heard anything back. While conversing with Google support, I told them that I had a Google+ page, even gave them the url, and asked whether that was a problem. No problem I was told. Then just this past week, I find my Google+ page disabled; of course, with no explanation other than to review their TOS. Unable to find any obvious violation, I changed my main company graphic and submitted for review. Who knows when, if ever, I’ll receive any explanation for any of this? How can any business take Google seriously when they insist on playing these childish games. If I did something wrong, tell me and tell me how to fix it. Until they take my business as seriously as they do their own, how can I in good conscience recommend them to my local business clients? Publisher tags? Had those in place and verified on my, now disabled, G+ page. Sigh.
Are you a service area business that doesn’t take client visits at your place of business or is your business office located in a residential area?
When you write an article with so many grammar mistakes as this one has, it takes away from your credibility.
I felt speed was of the essence and I take full responsibility for my poor editing. If you have specific grammar corrections that you think I should make, please send them along. Several readers already do that and I am grateful. There is nothing more difficult for me than editing my own writing.
Its an interesting evolution and development, Mike. Thanks for the heads up.
I have a question. Do you believe that establishing an author connection increases credibility or “trust” in the eyes of google and its algo’s. Is that part of this process?
Another observation with regard to this change is that it is one that vividly suggests that owners of smb’s become intimately more involved in their websites, especially if it involves a “trust” or algo orientation that could involve ranking and/or visibility.
For some smb’s its an issue. There are businesses that are investment vehicles with an ownership position that is different than the “face” or management.
Who would be the “author” or face? What happens if the business chooses active management as the “author” and then that management changes? Is all credibility or “trust” associated with the author LOST???
What occurs when the “author” passes away or sells the business?
What occurs if you are the LA Dodgers and outrageous high spending folks engage in a hugely expensive divisive divorce, one of the consequences of which is the forced sale of the business? What is the consequence with authorship?
If google is establishing a level of trust or credibility it forces businesses wherein ownership is somewhat anonymous to make some tough choices.
It appears to me Google, the humongous monopoly of eyeballs on search is again mandating how businesses operate. Again they are Google’s rules with regard to how businesses operate.
Nobody or no entity has a check and balance on Google’s actions. Yet for many businesses Google is the major source of leads and businesses because Search rules and Google has a lock on search.
I’ve been in conversations with a business with probably in excess of $ 1/2 billion in sales…all local ( a lot of locations). It is a type of business, the entirety of which is a significant contributor to the entire economy in terms of gross dollars, numbers of people hired, etc.
One interesting little tidbit from this business on a rounded sort of number:
Of leads that result in sales….the leads that come from the web are 80% from google. That is simply overwhelming.
Every time google makes a decision of this ilk it impacts business in general, businesses, employees and employers.
My questions involve what is the critical weight of this decision? Did google make this decision independent of any other source? How will it affect businesses?
How will businesses deal with changes in “author” and will these changes affect the rankings of businesses?
I recall when the places forum announced one change affecting how business names should show. The folks inside insular google mandated that legal names were required.
If you’ve ever been involved in legal names for businesses you might realize that the legal name for something like a computer services business in Olean , NY could be something like “PuffDaddyBoomBoomBialys, Inc.”
Of course that same business could be known and do business as Blumenthals.
I hope Google looks hard at this new set of rules and it’s impact and how they utilize this change. When google burbs the rest of the business world suffers the impact of an earthquake.
This rollout is for the rel=publisher relationship not authorship as I originally wrote. At this point, given the immaturity of the G+ Local environment, I question how much current trust is passed as either a result of authorship or publisher status. That being said, I do think that both are efforts and will be efforts at establishing long term trust relationships over which they have some say… ie they can remove your Listing or remove your Plus account under more stringent terms than in the past. And which is likely to confer some ranking benefit as well.
Neither authorship nor publisher work that well yet for multi location, multi practitioner businesses. The structure of G+ Local is till mired in a single location bricks and mortar solution. Given what Google has said, we can presume that there will be the ability to have a single brand page function as a host to the publisher assignation and to provide an umbrella for the social stream of many locations.
At this point there seems to be little benefit of using publisher in terms of showing visible signs of trust to searchers. For authorship that is not the case and Google throws a great big picture up. Perhaps as this whole thing mature’s that will change.
Google’s long term interest in all of this is determining which people to trust and which publishers to trust. How that will actually play out with implementation is unclear.
The reality that you mention of Google generating 80% of all leads is true in many industries. It is not a de facto cause for declaring them in need of anti trust regulation but it show send up a red flag for every business to develop both alternative marketing avenues and to leverage other channels for post sale customer relations and retention efforts.
Good article Mike. One caveat is that many professionals (lawyers) are using their personal Google + profile to link to. I have been an advocate of setting up publisher as opposed to author, but they do like seeing their picture.
This can be used in conjunction with rel=author. It need not be exclusive.
Good post. I implemented this a while back and works well. We tried the author code, but once we added publisher our pics come up. Will your Google + profile come up in search at the same time as your key phrase for your website? Should do but seems not to.
@ Mike: per your comments:
send up a red flag for every business to develop both alternative marketing avenues
true. easier said than done.
…. and to leverage other channels for post sale customer relations and retention efforts. haven’t you been preaching that?? 😀
From the highest pulpit I can find. Once Google has sent you that customer, make him or her your own so that you never need Google again to sell to them.
Mike, service area with address hidden. I work out of my house. My listing had no issues for a long time and then .. Pending .. and G+.. Disabled.
“If I did something wrong, tell me and tell me how to fix it.”
Brian, service area businesses with address hidden, never qualified to be merged. BUT for a long time it was only stated in the forum. Hard to find, easy to miss, caused lots of wasted time and complications!
I harped at management that there should be a warning or explanation IN PRODUCT to help pro-actively avoid frustration and problems.
I posted last week Google did listen and make improvements on this front. NOW when you try to merge it blocks you from doing so and sends you to a page that ‘actually’ explains why. Here is the announcement with screen shot. http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-local-important/1595-service-area-business-w-hidden-address-important.html#post8626
So my guess is you merged or tried to BEFORE this new change took place. But for anyone that tries for the 1st time today, they should be blocked and proactively warned with the new messaging I shared above.
Maybe this is a stupid question, but does this have any conflicts with author markup…? Can one have both a Local Publisher Tag site wide AND an author markup…? I don’t understand what benefit this brings (yet)…? Is this a replacement for author markup for local…? Will we see a image next to your serp results with this tag…. or will we see a sitelink under your serp listings linking to your google+ local page…? how is this getting us more followers…?
sorry for missing the obvious here.
This is great news. As a local service business owner I have been struggling with how to use these tags. Should it be blog only or on all pages of the business site has been the question.
I have been putting author and publisher on every page, looks like that is what Google wants.
There is not a huge advantage to the SMB for publisher as of yet.
There is however no conflict with Authorship.
The idea is that the publisher tag ties the G+ Business page to the whole site, while the author tag ties the personal profile to individual articles.
With authorship you see the headshot, with publisher you (might) see the G+Page summary on brand searches at least in theory.
Here is a good slide show by Ann Smarty detailing the differences.
And as you can see from this Rich Snippet Test, they can be on the same page.
thanks for clarifying my Q’s, Mike.
Mike, can you use both author and publisher at same time or will we get conflict… when looking at the rich snippet testing tool…. author looks way better as opposed to publisher. that author image got to increase CTRs… maybe a google survey is in order to see which people find more compelling. My money is on the author markup.
which would you suggest a small business use: publisher or author markup…?
For now I am using both. I see no reason not to when it is warranted. IE the owner is in fact the author. It gets hazier when you get to multi practitioner sites etc.
It is not clear that that the widespread use of authorship on web pages is what Google really wants… for now they are showing the images prominently in the results. Whether that will continue to is another story.
@Mathew 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.
Well said, thank you!
Wow Daniel, that was a brilliant explanation! I’ll quote you when I post about this post on Monday.
I appreciate the mention, thank you Linda!
[…] Daniel Berman explained it best in the comments: […]
Great analogy! That should really clear up most of these questions..
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.
When I check my source code…….I see rel=publisher only on the home page, however ALL my other WordPress Pages and Posts have rel=author.
Does that sound correct?
You have it 99% of the way there. If you want your author photo to show in local results you will also need to add rel=author to your home page. In the past Google couldn’t handle that but they can now.
Thanks for the feedback Mike!
So it’s ok for your HOME page to have both rel-author and rel=publisher? Do you have an idea where on the WP dashboard you can do that? There is only one place in WP dashboard and one place in Yoast dashboard to add Google + links.
Currently my home page is the only one that does not have rel=author. All the others do.
Yes go for both Publisher and Author, not sure about wordpress plugin but I am sure Yoost wont be far behind. As Google implements these new things we just have to persevere. By the way, don’t bother trying to get a company logo to show, although some of the big brands do. google would like to se the real people only.
As far as I know, yes you will need to add the rel=publisher tag to each location page if you have multiple locations. You can even add unique authors to different pages. Do it right and when you use the Google data testing tool you should see success across the board.
I recently had rel=publisher on my home page and rel=author on all my other pages and posts (wordpress). At this time I have not found a way or read about anyway to add them both to one page at the same time.
I think they conflict with each other and having both may disable the photo that appears in the serps.
Publisher on the home page used to, but no longer conflicts with authorship on the same page. Having both does NOT affect whether the author image shows.
See this example.
It’s good to hear that they are getting their stuff back together because the previous versions have been nearly useless, hopefully now it’s gonna be super easy and simple to use and do whatever you want, anyways, thanks for sharing it with us.
Have you noticed that Google will not “support” rel=publisher for local web design, seo agencies, etc.? Publisher markup is verified for our site, according to the structured data testing tool, and it has been for months, yet we don’t get the full Google+ preview for brand related searches. I’m guessing this is because of the same reasons they don’t display local/maps packs for the same types of agencies. Any thoughts/feedback?
You say that “Publisher Rich Snippet Tags for Local listings” ist supported by Google. With “local listing” you mean a verified g+ local page – right?
For me, this type of page won’t work as a publisher markup.
See also: http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/business/technical-issue/gGw01m8ne_w
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