Google Authorship & Publisher – What’s The Difference?

Posted on February 18, 2014

I get asked this question quite a bit from clients who are unsure about the difference between Google Authorship and Publisher and when they should use each one. If you’re anything like me, you probably like an analogy or two and so I’ve got an analogy for your relating to Authorship and Publisher – and an infographic! Buckle up..

Google Authorship and Publisher - what's the differenceSo, let’s just jump right in. My analogy for Google Authorship and Publisher is a magazine full of articles written by different authors. Authorship markup should only be used for content written or created by a person.

Publisher is to do with the collective or whatever magazine (or site) houses all the content written by authors. Authorship shouldn’t be used for static pages, ie pages on your site talking about services or your homepage as they aren’t really authored but rather are published. They are pages that are used to promote or give more information about the collective as opposed to a unique piece of content authored by someone.

On this site for example my homepage has no author but it is published by the RobertRyan.ie GooglePlus business page however all of my blog posts have both Authorship AND Publisher in place. That is because blog posts are authored by me, the living, breathing and blogging Robert Ryan and are associated with my personal Google Plus page. Each blog post has Publisher mark up in place because each post is part of the collective, or site, that is RobertRyan.ie. Similarly, every single page on my site has publisher in place.

Following on from the magazine analogy, one magazine can have articles from lots of authors and so your site can have lots of blog posts authored by different authors – and all published under one publisher account.

Google Authorship & Publisher – What’s The Difference?

With regards to the benefits of using Google Authorship and Publisher they are quite similar. Like the infographic shows using Authorship and Publisher will allow images to be displayed in the SERPs which can help with:

  • More Visibility in search results
  • Higher click through rates
  • Can help build trust – people like and trust a familiar face
  • Can help you build authority
  • Protects your name, reduces plagiarism

…all of which are good stuff.

Having Authorship in place could also be increasing your Author Rank – the jury is still out on this one but you’d have to think that Google will have something in store for Authorship and Author Rank. If there isn’t a direct link between the two now, odds are there will be later. Disregarding the potential benefits of Google Authorship and Publisher that may be coming down the tracks there are already plenty of benefits associated with using them.

Also, just recently Google have now made it possible to check how your Authored posts are faring in the Google by adding it to Web Master Tools in the labs section – if you haven’t checked your Authorship stats before, do it now, feel the rush of stats!

Google Authorship & Publisher – How To Set Up

At this stage you may be wondering how you can go about getting Google Authorship and Publisher set up for your own site. I was going to do a guide for you but Craig Fifield has already done a beast of a guide on how to set up Google Authorship – well worth checking if you’ve any questions.

If you’ve tried to get Google Authorship in place but have had little luck thus far then Mervik Haums has got your back with this great infographic checklist about Why Google Authorship isn’t Working. Finally, if you want more info on Authorship, track down Mark Traphagen and read everything he writes!

Anyway – do you have a better understanding of the differences of Google Authorship and Publisher? I really hope you do but if you’ve any questions just comment below and I’d be happy to help if I can..


10 Replies to "Google Authorship & Publisher - What's The Difference?"

  • Ana Hoffman
    March 5, 2014 (5:04 am)
    Reply

    This is definitely something a lot more people need to know about, Robert. A lot of us rushed to establish authorship when it first came out, but never bothered to really understand what it is and how it’s different from the Publisher markup.

    I actually had both throughout my blog till just a couple of days ago. Found your post very useful and great analogy, by the way!

    • Robert Ryan
      March 5, 2014 (12:45 pm)
      Reply

      Many thanks for the comment Ana and great to hear you found the analogy helpful :)

  • How To Get Over 250 Shares on Google Plus - Infographic
    March 21, 2014 (12:20 pm)
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    […] you see my recent post about the differences between Google Authorship and Publisher? That post is the closest post I’ve had to a super post as it’s been shared over 250 […]

  • MLP003: Doubling your Google+ Following and Branding with a Banana - with Robert Ryan
    March 22, 2014 (3:10 pm)
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    […] Google Authorship & Publisher – What’s The Difference? […]

  • Anthony Castelli
    March 22, 2014 (10:48 pm)
    Reply

    Your lack of citations or testing is a big hole for me. I think authorship is more critical for your photo showing than publisher. Can you refute that? i’m glad if you can.

    How about verification of the publisher to your Google plus page business profile ? I heard no discussion of that.

    • Robert Ryan
      April 10, 2014 (4:22 pm)
      Reply

      Hi Anthony, thanks for reading and for your comment.. Happy to try give more clarity. Re the increased CTR from Authorship/Publisher here are some reports worth checking: http://www.seobodybuilder.com/marketing-conversion/click-through-rate-increased-with-rel-author/, http://moz.com/blog/google-author-photos, http://moz.com/blog/google-author-photos and http://www.catalystsearchmarketing.com/how-rich-snippets-can-improve-your-ctr/ – hope their testing will suffice. From my own experience since I’ve started using Authorship/Publisher I’ve noticed an increase in organic traffic. Granted there are lots of other factors but I wouldn’t rule out the benefits of Authorship on increasing CTR leading to more web traffic.

      As for one or the other being more critical for a photo to appear – I’m not too sure. In the first place not all pages should have Authorship set up (my homepage doesn’t for example but it does have Publisher in place. In testing I have found my publisher image showing for my homepage) so it’s best to make sure only pages that should have Authorship in place actually have it in place. Trying to game Google to get images to appear wouldn’t be a power play in the long run in my honest opinion. Important to note, even when Authorship/Publisher is properly in place there is still no guarantee that your image will show..

      For verification of a G+ publisher page you need to link back to your site from that G+ publisher page, similar to setting up Authorship. Rather than detailing the process I linked to an excellent resource compiled by Craig Fifield, the link is in the final section of the post. Hope that helps.

  • Liz
    June 2, 2014 (2:32 pm)
    Reply

    For WordPress, if you want to control exactly where authorship is applied and also publisher markup, use the AuthorSure WordPress plugin. It allows you to only have authorship on your best posts, allows for multi-author sites and applies publisher markup too.

  • How to get over 250 shares on Google Plus | Thorsten Eggert
    July 2, 2014 (5:05 pm)
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    […] you see my recent post about the differences between Google Authorship and Publisher? That post is the closest post I’ve had to a super post as it’s been shared over 250 times on […]

  • Katie Keith
    September 29, 2014 (3:03 pm)
    Reply

    Thanks for explaining the difference, this can be confusing! It’s interesting to note that since you wrote this post, Authorship is now longer used by Google, but Publisher is still worth doing.

    • Robert Ryan
      September 29, 2014 (3:05 pm)
      Reply

      Hi Katie, glad you found the post useful about the difference between Authorship and Publisher.. And, ye, you’re right – Google have stopped Authorship (for now) but Publisher is still in place (for now).. Rob


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