Google’s Authorship Markup – Author vs. Publisher

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the blog of the hospitality digital marketing company, buuteeq, prior to its acquisition by Booking.com in June 2014.  The opinions expressed here are specific to buuteeq, though many of the technology insights remain relevant to customers and admirers of our new business, BookingSuite, a unit of Booking.com. Visit suite.booking.com for our latest thought leadership in the hospitality digital marketing space.

We’ve been getting a few calls this week about Google’s authorship markup, and so I’d like to take the time to explain what authorship markup is, and how to set it up for your hotel website. But first, let me introduce Authorship’s little-known second-cousin, Publisher Markup.

Verified Authorship

Verified Authorship helps Google understand what your website and articles are all about. Google rewards websites that use verified authorship with richer search engine result listings, which can include images, company info, site links, and other calls to action (CTAs). These are all important because they improve click through rate (CTR)—basically, you’ll get more visitors to your website.

In fact, Google’s executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt accidentally spilled the beans this week while promoting his new book, as reported by TechCrunch. He flat-out said that websites that use verified authorship to verify online profiles will rank higher in the search engine result pages (SERPs):

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.”

Many SEOs notice that authorship is already having a dramatic affect on SERP rankings. When verified authorship is connected to a piece of content, Google will consider that content to be the origin and source, and they may lower the rank or completely de-indxed identical content elsewhere on the web. Authorship and Publisher markup is then a great way to secure and protect your content (read this excellent article on SearchEngineLand for more on this).

This revelation makes it essential and urgent that all hotel websites set up verified authorship or publisher markup. Let me explain the difference between the two.

rel=”author”

Authorship markup informs Google who the author of the content is. Google expects the author to have a Google+ Profile, and Google will use the information on this profile to enrich search engine results associated with that author.

For example, articles that have successfully set up authorship markup can often appear in the SERPs with images of the author. Google may also include a handy link to both the Google+ Profile of the author, and to a list of other articles the author has written.

google-authorship-markup-for-hotels

google-authorship-more-by-author
Click the image for a larger view.

rel=”publisher”

Publisher markup informs Google who the publisher of the content is. This is usually a business, such as a blog or a newspaper. Google expects each publisher to have a Google+ Business Page—not a profile—and Google will use information on this business page to enrich search results for that publisher.

For example, if you Google a business like TechCrunch, The New York Times, Microsoft, or even buuteeq, Google may display a large box to the right of the SERP which will include the business’ vital info, such as address, phone numbers, hours of operation, website link, and photos.

google-publisher-markup
Click the image for a larger view. In this instance, our Google Local listing is appearing instead of our Page. This happens when a business has both an online brand identity and a physical location. I realize this further complicates the issue, and I will explain this in detail in a future post. Google “TechCrunch” and you will see a box to their business page. Customers never need to find their physical location since they are an online publication. However, Google “Microsoft“, and you will see their Local listing instead of their business Page, because they have an often frequented physical campus.

rel=”author” vs. rel=”publisher”

I recommend hotels enable publisher markup on their websites, instead of authorship markup. The reason is simple:

google-authorship-this-is-bigger-than-this

Publisher markup will quickly give your hotel guests the vital info they need to contact you and book a room. Authorship markup, while nice, doesn’t immediately provide guests with any essential information about your hotel.

That said, it is possible to install both authorship and publisher markup on the same website, but I recommend you only install authorship if you are marketing yourself—the business owner or manager—as an online personality and authority on a certain subject. buuteeq’s Cloud DMS software supports both authorship and publisher markup. Here’s what you need to do to install them.

How to Set Up Authorship Markup for Yourself

Google gives authors two ways to set up authorship, as they explain here.

Method 1 – The Easiest

Use this method to verify authorship by email. This only works if your email address shares the same domain as your website (for example, brandon@buuteeq.com would only work to verify me with buuteeq.com).

  • Create a Google+ Profile for yourself. If you already have a YouTube or Gmail account, then you already have a Google account and simply need to set-up your profile.
  • Sign up for authorship using the email address associated with your Google+ profile. This is the email address you use to sign into your Google account.
  • Google will send you an email. Follow the instructions in the email.

You’re all done! To test to see if it worked, paste the URL to your article or page into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. You should see something like this:

structured-data-testing-tool-for-hotels
Click image for a larger view.

Method 2 – Still Pretty Easy

This method involves creating a link to your Google+ profile from you website, and then linking to your website from your Google+ profile.

  • Create a Google+ profile, as I explain above.
  • Create a link to your Google+ profile from your website, and place the rel=”author” attribute in the link. Simply copy the HTML listed below, and replace [profile_URL] with a link to your Google+ Profile:

For example, the link to my Google+ profile is https://plus.google.com/100588133120378013221/. Yours will look similar.

  • Create a link back to your website from your Google+ profile in the “Contributor to” section.

contributor-to-hotels

4)      You’re all done! To test to see if it worked, paste a URL to your article or page into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

How to Set Up Publisher Markup for Your Hotel

There is only one way to set up publisher markup, as Google explains here.

1)      Create a link to your Google+ business page which includes the rel=”publisher” attribute. Use the sample HTML below, and simply swap out the [yourpageID] with the long string of numbers that represents your page’s numerical ID.

yourpageID]” rel=”publisher”>Find us on Google+

For example, buuteeq’s Google+ business page URL is this: https://plus.google.com/104910924823950372403/ so our numerical ID is 104910924823950372403. Yours will look similar.

2)      Create a link to your website from your Google+ business page. Insert this link into the ‘website’ field in order for Google to complete the setup.

 website-field-hotels

You’re all done! To test to see if it worked, paste a URL to your article or page into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. A little gray check mark will appear next to your website URL when the sync is complete.

publisher-verified-markup

Note that Google doesn’t guarantee to show rich, structured data about your property or you in SERPs. They often do, but sometimes they don’t, and the decision it is totally up to them. I have found that they tend to show structured data to me when the article is something I haven’t read before. Good luck with structured data for your hotel website!

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