What is the rel=author attribute with Google?

Not too long ago, Google announced that they would be using the rel=”author” attribute on links.  So what does this mean to you?

Well, this means that you can attribute all of your work, your own writing, your own blog, everything that you create can be attributed back to YOU.  This is especially helpful if you’re worried about someone stealing your content and claiming it was their own.  By using this attribute in all places that you contribute content, it will be credited back to you, the original author.

So how does this work?

Well, let’s take a look…here’s one that has a photo of Danny Sullivan next to it:


This is a link to his personal profile on Google+.  But, it appeared in my search results after searching for an article that he wrote on Search Engine Land.

This is how rel=”author” works.  It attributes your identification from your Google profile to content that you have personally written.

In order to implement this yourself, you can take a look at the help file at Google to get more detailed insights, or if you’re in a hurry, follow the instructions below:

  1. First, you’ll need to create a Google Profile which now redirects to Google+.
  2. After you fill out the basic information about yourself, you’ll want to be sure that you add your websites into the “Links” area of your profile.
  3. Note that when you upload a picture of yourself, this is the default picture that will be used when identifying you in the search results after you’ve implemented the rel=”author” attribute to the link on your site (see below).
After you’ve added these links to your Google profile, you’ll then want to add this rel=”author” attribute to your website’s pages.  Now, the best way to go about doing this (and to make your job easier) is to just add it to the footer of your site.  This way you won’t have to add it to every single update you make.
For those sites that have multiple authors, you’ll want to follow the instructions in the Google help file.

In order to attribute yourself as the author of the content that you write, you’ll want to add the following to your own site:

<a href=”[your Google profile link goes here]” rel=”author”>Your Name or other information here </a>

Following both of these steps; 1) adding your site to your Google profile and 2) adding the link to your site, creates a loop that identifies YOU as the TRUE author of the content.

Google is starting to pay attention to these links within content and has even hinted that it will eventually be a part of the ranking algorithm.

Not to mention, that by using this attribute, your photo will appear in the search results making the content you created stand out from the crowd – this alone is worth adding it to your site and creating that Google profile.

For more detailed information, see the video below:


  1. […] s1); })(); TweetBack in mid-to-late 2010, I published a blog post that explained in detail about rel=author.  Essentially, it’s an easy way for users to see your head shot when they do a search in […]

  2. […] to make absolutely certain that your content is attributed to you and no one else, use the rel=author attribute on your articles.  This way, Google will know that you were the original author of the content and in the event […]