The Guide to Google Publisher

Last month I shared Geonetric’s Google Authorship FAQ, and this month we’re looking at a similar new feature that I’ve previously hinted at: Google Publisher.

The Google Publisher Guide

What is Google Publisher?

Google Publisher is like Google Authorship, but for your corporate brand. It’s a way for you to promote your organization’s identity in Google’s search results, and it may even provide additional benefits for your organization.


How will Google Publisher benefit me?

As with all things Google, it can be dangerous to speak in absolutes. Google refrains from making guarantees about what will happen as a result of wiring up Google Publisher. Currently, this is what they have committed to:

  • Google Publisher may display your logo next to search results

  • Image of a Google search result showing a publisher's logo next to it

  • Google Publisher may pull information from your Google+ Page and display it in Knowledge Graph

  • Google Publisher may show your corporate logo next to any in-depth articles your organization has published

  • Image of search results showing in-depth article attribution with publisher logos

  • Google may implement Direct Connect for brand searches

  • This search feature allows searchers to jump immediately to your Google+ page or to display results exclusively for your Google+ page. Read more about Google Direct Connect…

    Image of Google search results for a direct connect search

  • Google Publisher may provide additional enhancements to search results

  • Image of a Google search result with publisher enhancements highlighted

  • Google Publisher may improve your search results

  • Well, maybe…

    We’ve learned from Eric Schmidt (Google’s executive chairman) that website content that’s connected to online profiles will rank higher in search results:

    Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance. (source)

    Since Google Publisher is a way to connect your website with an online profile (your organization’s Google+ page), you might reason that implementing Google Publisher will improve your search results.

    Don’t make this assumption. If you do, you’re likely to be disappointed.

    While I have seen some promising results, they are by no means conclusive. Google Publisher is still new, and is still evolving. While it has obvious potential, I would be remiss in suggesting that implementing Google Publisher will guarantee any sort of improvement in search result ranking. When and if this changes, I’ll communicate more. Until then, it may be helpful to think of it as another signal the Google search algorithm considers and a tool to help you extend your brand into search results.


Should I start using Google Publisher?

Without a doubt. Start using Google Publisher, now.

Though we can’t guarantee that it will improve rankings (see above), we know that it’s one more signal in your content’s favor, and it may start doing some nice things for you in Google search results. Investing now also positions you well to reap any benefits as the Google Publisher feature evolves.


How do I implement Google Publisher?

Regardless of your CMS, the steps for wiring up Google Publisher up are essentially the same:

  1. Add Google Publisher markup to your site’s home page. This can take the form of a physical hyperlink that looks like this:

  2. <a href="" rel="publisher">Find us on Google+</a>

    Or it can take the form of a tag in the <head> section of the page’s HTML. This is the method I recommend:

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

    That long string of numbers is the unique ID for Geonetric’s Google+ page. When you implement Google Publisher, you’ll need to use the unique string of numbers for your Google+ page.

  3. Connect your Google+ Page for your organization to your website (this requires a verification step).

  4. Image of a Google+ page with a verified link to a website

  5. Test with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

  6. Image of Google Structured Data Testing Tool showing verified Publisher markup


How do I add the rel=”publisher” code using the VitalSite Healthcare CMS?

With Geonetric’s VitalSite Content Management System (CMS) for Healthcare Organizations, this process is incredibly easy:

  1. Click the Surf and Edit button on your site’s home page.

  2. Image of a website Home Page and the VitalSite Surf and Edit button

  3. Click the Custom HTML tab and add the Google Publisher markup to the page’s <head> section. (You must be logged in to VitalSite with Geotechnician privileges to do this.)

  4. Image of the VitalSite Custom HTML Tab

  5. Publish the page.

  6. Image of the VitalSite page editor with the Publish button highlighted


Do I need to apply Google Publisher markup to all my pages?

Some webmasters mistakenly think that they should add publisher attribution to all their pages. While Google’s guidance on Publisher can be unclear at times, this is not where they’ve lacked consistency. As of today, you only need to add Google Publisher attribution to your site’s home page.


My organization has multiple websites. How do I connect Google Publisher to them all?

One of the known current limitations to Google Publisher is the fact that you can only connect a Google+ page to one website. This means organizations that have multiple websites and a single Google+ page for their business can only use Google Publisher on one property.

Given the amount of discussion about this obvious limitation, I expect Google to address this issue in the future. Stay tuned for updates when this happens.


How do I get help implementing Google Publisher?

Staying up to date with all the changes important to digital marketers is a growing struggle. On top of that, you need to find the time to implement them. Fortunately, Geonetric is here to help. We’re experts in digital marketing and we work exclusively in the healthcare industry. If you’d like help with Google Publisher or any other aspect of your digital strategy and marketing, contact us.


Additional Resources

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This entry was posted in Content Management (CMS), Marketing, Search/SEO/PPC, VitalSite by Michael O'Neill. Bookmark the permalink.
Michael O'Neill

About Michael O'Neill

It’s not often you find a communications professional who is an expert writer, understands the power of social media and has the technical capabilities to embed on and contribute to software development teams. But that’s exactly the background Michael brought with him to Geonetric as the technical communications strategist. From writing eBooks to managing Geonetric’s digital presence, Michael uses his software know how and his marketing savvy to help tell Geonetric’s story through a variety of platforms. This former adjunct professor holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Worcester State College in Massachusetts and completed graduate level coursework at the University of Connecticut. In addition, Michael is also a Certified ScrumMaster, a contributing writer at iBusiness Magazine and a member of the Board of Directors at Gems of Hope. This new dad is known for his high coffee standards and has quite the following around the office when he brings in his favorite craft-roasted beans.

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