Lauren Kaye

Marketers have been advised to implement Authorship into their content creation practices to take advantage of SEO benefits. Google advocates the practice of linking news articles and blog posts to individual authors for a number of reasons. It gives writers credit for the work they produce by way of bylines and photos in SERPs, but it also supports transparency on the ‘net.

Now, Google is offering additional guidance to clear up any questions in an Official Webmaster Blog post about when Authorship markup is appropriate, or not.

Google gives new guidance for proper Authorship use.
Authorship should be used on pages:

1. That display the author’s byline, which matches up with his or her Google+ profile

2. That feature web content penned by one writer

3. That contain one piece of content – i.e. not a feed that refreshes with pieces from multiple authors

Authorship should not be used on pages:

1. That are attributed to a corporate mascot or pen name. In Google’s words, “You’re free to write articles in the manner you prefer – your users may really like the [idea of reading articles by a company mascot, but] Google prefers to feature a human who wrote the content.”

 Google prefers to feature a human who wrote the content.

2. That contain product descriptions (like ecommerce sites) because this content does not relay an individual’s perspective or unique angle.

3. That are authored by multiple people, but the search engine says this might be supported in the future.

4. That are already attributed to another author. Google gives the example of content that is translated into two languages and displayed separately. These pieces should be attributed to the single author’s Google+ profile – not two accounts, one in each language.

In addition, the search engine explains why rel=publisher is not to be confused with rel=authorship and how a company can disconnect Authorship if they do not want a writer’s snippets to display in SERPs. As the guidance indicates, Google’s policies are evolving to provide better user experiences so this isn’t something brands can set and forget.