In their rush to prepare for author rank, a lot of lawyers (or more likely their “web consultants”) have implemented authorship on their sites.
But, per usual, there’s a lot of misinformation floating about on rel=”author” and rel=”publisher”.
Over at Lonely Brand, Katherine Leonard lends a hand on Rel=Author and Rel=Publisher:
Rel=author links individual articles to the author’s Google Plus profile, and can include posts from multiple publications. In search results, linked articles display your Google Plus profile picture next to the article – and that thumbnail makes a big difference. Studies show that the added social context can bring up to a 30% increase in organic traffic.
Rel=publisher links your website to your Google+ business profile. This means that when users search for your brand, your Google Plus profile will show up in the right hand column of the results page, including company details like logo and recent G+ activity.
Ann Smarty also chips-in this helpful slideshare:
From what I’ve seen in the online legal space, lawyers and their SEOs have been pretty quick to jump on the author bandwagon. Which, by itself is a good thing. Unfortunately, most implementations use site-wide authorship on pages that authorship doesn’t make sense. Further, they completely ignore rel=”publisher”.
There are a variety of unintended consequences that might pop-up from misuse of authorship implementation. One of the most severe is that search engines might construe this as an attempt to manipulate results (the idea being that you can steal click share from results pages because you have a nice picture of yourself in the results). This might lead to your authorship snippet being removed from results.
Lesson: Don’t spam search engines with authorship. Learn about the purposes of rel=”author” & rel=”publisher”. Implement accordingly.