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September 27, 2011

Triggering Rich Snippets from rel=”author” attributes.

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Although rankings are important for SEO, once you have them, persuading more visitors to click through to the website is the next step towards the ultimate end goal of increased sales/conversions.

One of the ways that you can improve the click through rate from the search engine results pages (SERPs) is to attract attention and stand out from other results. Eye catching Meta title and description tags are a good starting point, but you can take this even further by utilising rich snippets.

The rel=”author” attribute has recently been introduced by Google to generate rich snippet displays that are very inviting.  If implemented correctly, you may see that an image of the article author appears next to the description of the search result, as below:

So the question begs: How can I replicate this and make my search results stand out with a picture of a handsome blogger?

There are three ways in which you can implement the rel=”author” attribute to attempt to trigger the photo display in the SERPs.

Method #1: Single author site

This is the simplest way. All you have to do is place a link on your post, anywhere on the page and point it towards your own Google Profile, with a rel=”author” attribute attached.

After that, ensure that you also link back to your site, from your Google Profile (Go to About> Links section).

Method #2: Multi-author site with no bio pages

This is the simpler of the two methods for multi-author sites. What you can do on every post, is link from each page to the various authors’ Google Profiles. This can be done by creating a contextual link with the author’s name on the post.

Do not forget to have the authors link back to the site from their Google Profile.

Method #3: Multi-author site with bio pages

Some sites actually link from the author’s name in the post to a bio or an author profile on the site.

The technique to get this happening on such a site is to firstly add a rel=”author” attribute to the link pointing to the author bio on the website and then link from the bio, with a rel=”me” attribute, to the relevant Google Profile.

Again, do not forget to have the authors link back to the site from their Google Profile.

For those who are more visually inclined, I’ve created a diagram to show you how it all works:

I hope that you now have a clearer idea of how you can get a handsome photo of yourself (or your authors) into the search results. It is a new feature, so there is no guarantee that if the above methods are implemented that the images will appear in the SERPS.

To check what authorship data Google can extract, use the Rich Snippets Testing tool:

For more information on how to implement rel=author, you can also check out their YouTube video.

 

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