Activate “Rel=author” in 9 easy steps

April 18, 2012 1 comment

Note: The steps below has been written for those using a WordPress platform. 

The black hat siths and the evil spammers who clog up our internet (while calling themselves SEO’s) are causing Google problems. We know this. The link graph continues to be manipulated by said groups and Google must therefore find ways to initiate trust signals.

One such way is Social shares. Shares are great trust signals because nobody spams their Facebook friends. If they did, they wouldn’t have friends for very long as they would be directly accountable for the crap they dish out. Another trust signal that has been bouncing around the SEO industry for some time now is authorship combined with Google+, i.e., rel=author.

Having rel=author on your website allows any post that is written by someone to be identified in the SERPs. This was introduced as part of the rich snippet and is a welcome function of Google+. Rel=author not only indicates to the user that the author is the authentic person, but it is likely to have an algorithmic affect also. This is to say that old posts that have been greatly shared by users will likely boost the importance of any new post from that same author. This seems like a natural result from this ‘social reputation’.

This is the theory – all well and good. But getting rel=author on your site has proved to be tricky to say the least. Me and my SEO team have eventually found what we consider to be the best way to do it. Here is our version.

  1. Open your Google+ profile. Then click ‘edit profile’ > now click ‘about’ tab.
  2. Enter your email address under ‘work email’ (the same one you use within your WordPress account)
  3. Google + will send you an email for you to verify this.
  4. Under the same ‘about’ tab, write the desired WordPress URL in the ‘Contributor to’ section (WITHOUT the www, i.e.
  5. Open your WordPress account, and go to Appearance>Widgets.
  6. In the sidebar, you will need to paste your Google+ public profile URL. I placed mine inside a text widget.
  7. Go to Appearance>Theme options
  8. Here you can input HTML as part of the banner. Place href HTML here to include your email, e.g. <br><a href=””>Email me</a>
  9. Check Rich Snippet Testing Tool to check that rel=author is active on your site. The tool should indicate any reasons that the rel=author function might not be working fully.

A great article to read about the future of authorship and Google+ has been written by Tom Anthony of Distilled. If you’re following Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz, you’ll probably have seen it because he’s tweeted on more than one occasion to emphasise its importance. Be sure to give it a read.

The Best SEO Infographics Around

November 22, 2011 Leave a comment

These are the chosen infographics that go on our SEO wall of fame at Link Island (a little cluster of desks where the majority of our team work from.) This post will be updated with every fresh and quality infographic that I/we find.

4. How Google killed the longtail

This is a really nice infographic from that really touches on lots of areas and segments itself in a clear concise way that’s easy to consume. As is the effect of a quality infographic, it’s informative and it’s likely to stick in your mind. See the full page including comments from users at:


3. Why Content for SEO

The first is one that has been kicking around for some time and it’s quite a meaty piece. But don’t let that put you off. It’s worth taking the time to chew it over.

Courtesy of (


2. The Periodic Table of SEO ranking factors

This one is for the scientific, using a kind of periodic table to explain the SEO ranking factors. It emphasises the notion that SEO is not about ticking the boxes and targeting ‘the best ranking factor’. Rather, they work in conjunction with one another, each with their own weight.

Courtesy of (


1. What does it take to get a job at Google?

This may be a slight departure from regular SEO infographics in the sense that it’s not really SEO at all. But I think it’s safe to say we’d all like a job at Google so it should be interesting to us SEO’s none-the-less. Apparently, as an employee – you’re well looked after (once you trial the gauntlet interviews). As a hefty bonus to working at Google, the staff food is exquisite and FREE. They even let you have your dinner there before you leave to go home at the end of the day. Bottom line; they’re a good company to work for, and not likely to go out of business. In fact as far as absolutes go, Google’s business presence  should probably rank up there with death and taxes. (Rank pun not intentional)

Job at Google

‘SEO beginnings’ part II

October 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Now that Google have the indecies of the ‘keyword inverted index’ from part 1, Google calculate something called ‘query independant metrics‘, which is simpler than it sounds. Search engines know that pages have attributes beyond those that are important in relation to the keywords that people search for. These attributes are matters of relevance and importance such as how many people link to them, who link to them, what are people saying about them, are the people linking to them reputable and trustworthy? This is what query independant metrics calculate, which brings us to the ‘page rank algorithm‘.

Search engines like Google and Bing each have a complex mathematical algorithm that combines a whole range of ranking factors to perform the highest quality results possible. SEO guys try to appeal to these ranking factors by creating site architecture that’s easy for Google to crawl, stay accessible to users, get links from respectable outside sources and score well with social media. If you place a bunch of good content behind subscription walls, logins or the over-use of javascript, you’ll block Google and you won’t be ranked i.e. Googlebot will call it a day and go home.

It’s important to remember that Google (and Bing etc) are not playing games to try and fool people. They want to give the best search experience for the user and therefore will eliminate spammy and black-hat SEO methods in order to achieve an organic SERP (search engine results page). You simply have to prove that you have quality, useful and valuable information that the user can benefit from. This is why the term ‘content is king’ still orbits the SEO world on loop, whether you’re in e-commerce, journalism or just trying to reach people.

‘SEO beginnings’ part 1

October 5, 2011 Leave a comment

I used to think I had learned all there was to know about SEO in an online module of my journalism degree. I thought that tagging articles and writing search friendly headlines was all there was to it. Wow, was I wrong. In a few years I predict that universities will be offering degree courses of SEO, with web analytics modules thrown in for good measure. Not only is it a vast and expansive subject, but it’s growing in business faster than Beber Fever did with teenage girls. It’s complex – no two ways about it, but it’s not exclusively for tech nerds who still live with mum at 30 years old, play Warcraft and can write HTML and javascript code. Furthermore, SEO is not so much difficult to learn, but it is difficult to execute well.

The first thing to do is give an overview of SEO as I understand it. Masses of detail is useless unless you can see the overall picture first. This may just be my learning style, but I’ve found that others like me need to have a birds-eye view of their subject first. Otherwise it’s like learning how to capitalise on share profits when you don’t understand the stock market.

Search engines like Google and Bing are ultimately ranking pages according to popularity, importance and relevancy. The first question is how do search engines do this and how have Google in particular gotten so good at ranking? It’s fair to say that Google is the mac-daddy of search engines, and it’s no surprise to anyone that they’re dominating with around 75% of users. Before we go further into this, here’s a good illustration of why Google wups the competition in practice.

Google uses googlebot; a cute but busy and diligent little fella that crawls billions of pages of the web. Googlebot starts its crawl with a seed set of websites and will use the links from those sites to lots of other pages in order to find a structure of the internet. From here Googlebot can discover all the pages on the web. Because the web is so interconnected, even the most obscure websites are only a few clicks away from some of the most popular and important websites.

Once all of these pages are crawled, Google build a collection of the keywords using something called a ‘keyword inverted index‘. This is essentially a selection of terms and phrases that appear on, or are relevant to certain pages. So for example, if someone searches for Apple, Google already has an index they built of the pages that are relevant to Apple. Whether that be iPod reviews, iPhone retailers, Mac blogs etc. And Google can make queries against those much more quickly than it can against an index with all the billions of documents on the web.

End of part 1.

NEXT: Query Independent Metrics

‘Basics of video SEO’ part 1

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

So video search is he-ouge. In fact, video searches account for 28% of all Google enquiries. Google are (no surprises here) smartening up to this kind of demand and are incorporating video search into the algorithm more and more. You may even begin to notice thumbnails of videos appaearing in regular searches EVEN when the word ‘video’ is not part of the search.

We’re actually a microwave kind of society, so video really suits a lot of people. We like everything to be instant and many of us don’t like to read something if it can be given to us in video format – mainly because reading requires more focus and often cases – more time. A lot of people are after quick snappy content, and video is the microwave platform.

2 billion videos a day are being watched by the world just on Youtube. That’s 23,000 videos per second. Yet 24% of all retailers are NOT present on Youtube – the biggest host of video by no small margin. On top of that, 24% of top retailers who ARE present, have limited online prescence, i.e. have an inactive channel or minimal views. These figures indicate that almost a half of the market are untouched and unaffected by Youtube, which is also the world’s second-largest search engine.

This technically makes video an untapped market; competition is low when the demand is high. Not many companies are optimising for video so this is a key time for many businesses to gain some online prescence. From the way figures are climbing, the number of views per day is set to climb, and the demand for video is expected to increase. It’s 0nly going to get bigger, so companies have a need to get on board.

Next post: what to do to take advantage of this untapped market.

Categories: Video SEO Tags: , ,

My first SEO related post

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Stomp stomp I’ve arrived.

Now that I’ve been introduced to SEO and have been told that Google will be my best friend from now on, I can safely say I’m in for the long haul.

I have a copy of  “The art of SEO” (Enge/Spencer/Fishkin) in front of me and I have a tonne of bookmarks on my browser loaded with SEO articles – most of which I don’t fully understand yet. But I’m getting there.

I currently work at Phones 4u and am getting a lot of input from the team here. If you are reading this and know of useful resources, please send them my way, or tweet me. It’d be great to connect.

My boss has us bidding farewell in the most nerdy way ever. And I’m about to hit you with it.

Link well!


Categories: Ramble

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