Schema markup for authorship – it’s time for you to get serious about adding the proper tags to your site or face a Google penalty. Google now considers any page tagged with authorship code as rich snippet spam. There is a simple way for you to get right with Google. And I’ll show you how in this quick video.
The full transcript is below the video.
Pages and Posts
Google makes a distinction between the pages and posts on your site. It considers pages as commercial content and posts as the content you author. Yes, I know, you wrote all the content for your site. But Google doesn’t see it that way and you can’t afford to any more either.
Authorship and Publishership
Most of you have heard the term authorship or AuthorRank. At its most simplistic, it’s a triangular connection between your blog posts, your G+ personal profile, and a page on your site where Google can verify that you are the author, like your About page or Author Archive page.
Special tags are used inside links to make this connection work.
When it’s set up properly, your posts will show your image next to your post in search. This is called a Rich Snippet. That’s what authorship is all about.
Right now, and until Google gets all this sorted out, it has reduced the number of Rich Snippets it’s displaying in search.
Google wants to assign another type of Rich Snippet to pages. It uses the rel=publisher tag, and I’m calling it Publishership, since no one else has come up with a better term.
But, Google can’t do that if it doesn’t know which is a page or post on your site.
Unfortunately, a lot of folks simply applied some of the authorship special tags to everything on their site, including posts and pages. And now Google has a real indexing mess on its hands. It can’t tell posts from pages with just this much markup and doesn’t know how to properly credit authorship.
Google started telling site owners to fix this. But not enough people listened. Now Google has a new ally and is doing something about it.
HTML5, Schema Markup, and Microdata
When WordPress 3.6 was released, everybody was excited about the fact that it supported HTML5, specifically, schema markup and microdata.
If you want to go in depth about why everybody’s excited about it, go to BlogAid and read my Microdata and Genesis series.
But, what applies about it here is the fact that it the schema markup now puts new tags in the code of your site right up at the top to say whether it’s a page or a post.
Now Google can easily tell the difference. And if it sees authorship on pages, it knows you are not following the directives it issued.
And that makes Google think you’re trying to game the system. So, to ensure that they get your attention, they’ve now started issuing penalties. It will send that notification to your Google Webmaster Tools account. Now, just because you haven’t received a penalty notice doesn’t mean your site is okay. It may mean that the Google bots simply haven’t gotten around to your site yet.
Test Your Site
There is a super easy way for you to see if your site is setup incorrectly for authorship, and a super easy way for you to fix it too.
To check your site, go to the home page.
On your keyboard, hit Cntl + U. On Mac, that’s Command + U.
That will open up a window below that will show you the code.
You’re looking for a link for authorship or publisher. If you only see publisher, or don’t find either one, then you will not get a penalty.
I’m going to jump over to the blog page.
And show you that it is also marked with the publisher link.
Then I’m going to jump to a post.
And show you that it has both author and publisher. So, this post is correctly tagged to give me authorship credit, and none of the pages are.
Fix Your Site
If you don’t see this same sort of code, or authorship code in the wrong places, there’s an easy fix.
I use and recommend the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. In it, there’s a super fast way to turn off authorship for pages.
Go to SEO > Social.
Then go to the Google+ tab.
The first drop-down is for Author for homepage. Set it to Don’t show. Even if your home page is your blog page, you still want to set this to don’t show.
And it says down here in the notes to ensure that the author fills out their G+ profile link on their profile page. That’s how you properly set up authorship.
If you have a G+ business page, in the next field for Google Publisher Page, input the link to it.
That’s it. Told you it was easy.
Now Google will see the right info on the right pages and posts.
The Rest of the Story
Okay, here’s the rest of what you need to know. Yoast keeps the WordPress SEO plugin updated with the latest directives and changes by Google. The one I just showed you was one such update. If you haven’t checked all the settings in this plugin in a while, you need to.
I’ve got an SEO and AuthorRank Video Course http://www.training.blogaid.net that will take you through every step of setting up authorship between your site and your G+ profile, optimizing every setting on this plugin, plus on-page SEO tips that really work.
Beyond that, even if you updated to WordPress 3.6 with HTML5 support, it doesn’t mean that your whole site is outputting the microdata markup with the page and post tags at the top. To get that, your theme has to be HTML5 compliant too.
So, let me just be clear here by saying that again. There are two sets of special tags. One set is for authorship. And you could have added that either through hard coding it or with an SEO plugin. The other set of special tags comes from an HTML5 compliant theme running on WordPress 3.6 or higher that identifies pages and posts differently.
You need both these days. Sites that have both are getting an advantage in Search Results that sites that don’t use it aren’t. And that’s only going to continue. I converted the BlogAid theme the minute it became available. It’s that important.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this video on how to properly mark your site for authorship and avoid Google penalties.
If you want to know more about what it takes to convert your theme to be HTML5 compliant, or how to do better with SEO, content, and conversion, visit BlogAid.net and contact me. And see the full Video Library with the SEO and AuthorRank course.