Google Tweaks Its Rel=Author Display, Promotes Google+ In Search Results

Google has rolled out a few changes to how it shows results that use the rel=author markup. Some of these are things that have been spotted in testing in recent weeks, so today’s announcement formalizes how that markup will display in Google’s search results.

Here’s how it currently looks using one of Danny Sullivan’s recent articles:


(I was going to use one of my articles as an example, but Google has turned off my rel=author status for some reason. But I’m not angry. At all.)

Anyhoo, the author’s image is justified to the left of the snippet information — that was changed some time ago from the original display when the image floated to the far right of the search result. Announced today are several changes that promote Google+:

  • Circle counts — you can see how many people have the author in Google+ circles.
  • Add to circles — in the case above, you can see that I have Danny in a circle called “Search Engine Land.” If he wasn’t in any of my circles, there’d be a gray “Add to circles” button there.
  • Comments — at the bottom, you can see how many comments there are on the Google+ post (not the original Search Engine Land article) when Danny shared this “Bing Promotes Firefox” story. There’s also a link there to drive traffic to the Google+ post.

On a related note, just yesterday Google announced a way to establish authorship status using email. Me? I’m still waiting for the post about how to re-establish authorship after it’s been taken away. Ahem. (/end of whining)

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Authorship | Google: Google+ | Google: Rich Snippets | Google: SEO | Google: Web Search


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Derrik Jacobson

    Have any insights as to how this will look for a user who is logged into Gmail, Google+, etc. versus a user that is not? Perhaps a little “Join the Google+ community” link in the “Add to Circle” place-holder space? It’s all about driving traffic/adoption to Google+, right?

  • Nicole Miller

    Anyone else get the feeling Google’s search results are slowly transforming into status updates commonly seen on Twitter, Facebook, and others?

  • G.G.

    Google just removed my authorship as well, after it had been working for about a month. Is there any clue why Google is doing this?

    Google seems to have very, very narrow rules about authorship, much more narrow than the actual code for rel=”me” and rel=”author” is supposed to require.

  • N.S.

    Sure Nicole, I cant even imagine how brand pages in Google + will effect local businesses with search results.

  • Chris Silver Smith

    Matt, my authorship snippet treatment was working for my personal blog for a week or two, and it disappeared directly after I changed my profile picture on my Google+ profile. I don’t know if that kicked it back for editorial review or what.

    I’m sorta glad I wasn’t the only one singled out.

  • Matt McGee

    Thx Chris. I haven’t touched my Google+ profile, nor any of the setup related to rel=author. In my case, at least, it can’t be related to any edits.

  • Brian Parnall

    My author snippet was showing for a grand total of 3 days. Also, my clients were showing a month ago for a week then they disappeared too.

    Might it have something to do with how many people in Circles etc?

  • Brian Parnall

    My author snippet was showing for a grand total of 3 days. Also, my clients were showing a month ago for a week then they disappeared too.

    Might it have something to do with how many people in Circles etc?

    I think it is a gret little touch and makes the search listing stand out but I am a little confused as to why they have disappeared. Part of me thinks it is down to my site being IM related

  • brettburky

    Is there any reference material that any of you know of that can help better understand how they even pull the information in the first place? Or maybe a way to optimize for this rel=author?

    Seems like currently you have to really take use of Google + to make it all come together. Which is fine, but a lot of times you don’t have a circle that big unless you are Danny Sullivan.

  • Kathy Long

    Evidently, you get special treatment, Matt. Your handsome mug is showing up in my queries, but none of the others I know who are in my circles and who have the rel=”author” implementation are. I wonder if you’ve done something differently. ??

  • Matt McGee

    You’re too kind, Kathy – thx. It’s still quite a mystery how and why (and who) they choose to implement the rel=author. I imagine they’re just going very slowly with the support for it.

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