Why should you use rel=author and rel=publisher?

google rel=authorAlthough authorship tags and publisher tags are not a new thing, many SEO’s believe that these tags will grow in importance in 2013. Why? Because Google continues to encourage us to produce high-quality content if we want good page rankings. Let’s examine why authorship and publisher tags are expected to generate better content this year.

As a writer, I love the idea of getting my name published in connection with my work. If I have the opportunity to write for a website in 2013, I’m going to make sure that rel=author links to my Google+ profile so that I get credit for my work on Google. As Matt Cutts explains, you have to verify the authorship tag through Google+, thus corroborating the information.

Sounds good so far, right? I’m getting credit for my writing without worries of someone linking me to poor writing. In fact, I have extra incentive to continue producing relevant, beneficial content, since I don’t want bad work associated with my name!

 The dangers of authorship

The fact is that no one wants their face coming up on Google in connection with lackluster content. If Google starts ranking pages with authorship tags above those without, you can be sure that everyone will start including tags!

The problem is that it will be harder to gain authority and also easier to lose that authority, as Content Equals Money’s very own Amie Marse suggested last year. Consistency seems to be the key to keeping your good standing with Google. Stick to your specialty, offer rich content, and authorship will be an asset.

What about the publisher tag?

The publisher tag creates a connection between the whole website and the content. The link between the two is strong enough that if the writer produces content for a different site, the original publisher still benefits from the association with the PublisherRank.

Local sites in particular have the potential to profit from implementing the publisher tag. With the recent promotion of Adwords Express Plus, Google made it clear that they think all local sites should use the publisher tag. Google is even making the process super simple.

Moving forward

Although Google has yet to clearly prefer pages with authorship and publisher tags, SEO’s are still expecting the tags to begin affecting rankings. Why wouldn’t the Google team utilize such a simple tool to weed out lackluster content?

My advice? Make sure that your pages have both authorship and publisher tags. Even if Google never follows through on using them for rankings, the tags guarantee that you receive the credit for your superior content.

Do you use publisher tags? What results have you had with authorship tags?

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Sarah Beth

Sarah Beth Wiltse earned her BA in English at Boston University. Though she currently lives in Dallas, TX, she spent a year in Paris, France after college, cultivating her love of the French language and a passion for travelling. She has spent much of her life developing her skills in the arts, primarily as a ballerina, violinist, and pianist - and now, a writer! Follow her on Twitter!

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