Rel=author is a piece of code that attributes content to a certain author, in this video Social and Content explain what its all about, why you need to do it and how.
The what, the why and the how of rel=author
What – What exactly is it?
Rel=author is a piece of code that attributes content to a certain author, via their Google+ profile. It basically centralises all of the content they’ve written and published on the internet. When their content appears in the SERPs, their image and Google+ details are displayed alongside.
Why – Why do I need to be doing it?
There are combined benefits for both the authors themselves and the brands they’re representing…
1. The content will stand out more in the SERPs
2. Stats show that click-thru rates on content that’s associated with an author are higher
3. It establishes the author as an authority and a credible writer and by proxy doing the same for the brand
4. Gives your content more exposure and broadens its reach
5. Google has hinted that it is viewing rel=author associations as social signals, so taking advantage could improve your site’s social signals and also its social footprint – as well as your own
6. Creates lots of love authoritative inbound links to your site
7. Some think it could help protect your site against future algorithmic updates
Is it really just about the author though?
No, the benefits are felt by proxy through the author, although there is another tag called rel=publisher that does the opposite. Basically you should remember that rel=author connects people with people and rel=publisher connects people with brands.
How – How can I do it?
It’s really simple. There’s a great page on the Google Help site that explains it – just do a search for rel=author on Google… all you have to do is set up a nice G+ full of lovely info about yourself and with a decent headshot. Add whatever site your content is published on to your contributor to section, then on that website, you can add a piece of code that basically includes the rel=author tag and your G+ profile… the help page will explain more