Rel=publisher and rel=author - which will take precedence?

We just learned what happens if both rel=publisher and rel=author markups are used at the same time in a web page. Read more to find out how it works at the same time.

Google recently announced webmasters and bloggers can use rel=publisher and rel=author markups in their web pages to tell Google who is the publisher and who is the author of the content. If those markups are correctly used and are linked to Google+ page/profile, then Google may show the publisher/author information in the search results.

Well, that was officially announced by Google couple of days back. Just like anyone else, we too went ahead and implemented the suggestions. Now all of our webpages have a markup, connecting the websites to our official Google+ Page.

What happens if you use rel=publisher and rel=author tags at the same time a web page

It was unknown what happens if both tags are used at the same time. If you use the rich snippet test tool from Google Webmaster Tools, it will complain that it cannot handle both rel=publisher and rel=author tags at the same time! You can experience it yourself here.

But the result is not unknown anymore. Today, we discovered that if both rel=publisher and rel=author at the same time in a webpage, Google would pick the rel=publisher markup and include that in the search results. Thanks to Sowmya for pointing this out.

Here is a screenshot showing our Google+ Page thumbnail included in the search results along with a page in our website

The above picture shows the thumbnail of our official Google+ Page for that site ( If you go to the corresponding page and look at the source, you can see that we have used both rel="publisher" and rel="author" markups in the same time, even though the Google rich snippet testing tool does not like it.

Here are the publisher markups we have in the page:

<link href="" rel="publisher" />

<a href="/member/sowmya.aspx" rel="author"><span itemprop="author">S. Sowmya</span></a>

The conclusion here is, if both tags are used, then the rel="publisher" markup takes precedence.

Update on 27 Nov 2011: Google confirmed in the Webmaster forum that both rel=publisher and rel=author markups can be used at the same time and the warning from Rich Snippet Testing tool is a bug.

Here are some useful links:

  • How to use rel=publisher tag

  • How does rel=publisher fit in to the standards

  • Learn how to link your website to your official Google+ Page

  • Related Articles

    How to link Google+ page to your website

    Webmasters are excited with the announcement of Google+ pages for business. Like many others, I too went ahead and created few webpages for my websites. But how does Google figure out which is the official Google+ Page of your website? Learn how to connect your Google+ Page to your website and let Google know about it.

    More articles: Rel=publisher Rel=Author Google+


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