Click Through Rate Increased 38 Percent With Rel Author

One week after implementing Google authorship markup my bodybuilding blog’s click-through rate increased 38 percent!

The Rel=Author tag was placed on all my blog posts but not all of them got the rich snippet next to their Google SERPs. Illustrated on the right is a single article on the first page of Google for an undisclosed keyword.

Now for all of you analytical SEO’s and Marketing Managers. You’re not going to take my word that this rich snippet increased my click-through rate; I bet you want to see the numbers… Here’s the breakdown:

Click Through Rate Increases

Blue line – Week of authorship markup

Orange line – 7 weeks before authorship markup



Before Rel=Author

Average of 39.14 unique visitors/week for 7 weeks.

After Rel=Author

63 unique visitors or an increase of 38 percent.

Author Stats in Google Webmaster Reports

Google webmaster tools has a two day lag in reporting compared to live time, so it’s not in sync with the rest of my report.
The stats mentioned above only represent the traffic increase of one keyword. While the two graphs below represent a variety of keywords and key phrases. These two graphs just give additional fortification that rich snippets increase click-through rates.

Increased Click Through Rate


Implementing the rel=author tag on your website

After implementing the rel=author tag I can’t grantee your blog or website will get better search rankings. But I can grantee you will steal some clicks away from your competitors. In my case I am fortunate enough not to have any rich snippet competition, as illustration above. Either way I would say Google authorship markup is worth your time.

AJ Kohn, the author of Blind Five Year Old, wrote a great tutorial about implementing Google authorship markup here: How To Implement Google Authorship Markup

Rich Snippet Testing Tool

This is a tool by Google where you can test your authorship markup and other rich snippet markup as well. After verifying you coded everything right, there is no saying how long it will take Google to recognize your markup. Sometimes it’s instant, and others it takes weeks. You will just have to pray to the Google gods that everything works out.

Additional rel=author notes

  • Authorship markup was recognized on February 12, 2012.
  • The article was written several weeks before authorship markup was recognized. So there was a consistent, non-fluctuating, flow of traffic.


Free information deserves a share!

17 thoughts on “Click Through Rate Increased 38 Percent With Rel Author

  1. Fantastic results!

    Perhaps I could ask a question:

    I’ve included a rel=”author” link pointing to an about page on my website, this tag appears on the single.php of WordPress. I then link to my Google+ profile from the about page and in turn the Google+ profile points back to my about page.

    My setup is correct?

    • This was a quick and dirty job for rel=author, but it worked. I will have to clean this up if I ever want to have multiple authors on my site with their own rich snippets.

      Here’s what I have:

      • rel=author link pointing to my google+ profile in the header of my entire site.
      • The rel=me link is at the bottom of each article and also points to my G+ profile. I used the anchor text “+Russell Jensen”
      • WordPress already had a rel=author link built in pointing to my blog’s author page.

      I don’t think every step was necessary but I wanted to make sure it worked.

  2. I have been reading and watching this rel auth tag fr quite sometime and it’s definitely something googles spam team want to implement sooner rather than later for its general purpose but not for SERPs or at least not immediately.

    Matt Cutts did reference last year future SERPs maybe influenced by this tag but the conflicting evidence I have read recently is that the traffic will come from your circles or people in your google groups and not the other people that are far more likely to be looking for a new service provider.

    Did your increase in traffic bring in new business? Or increase adsense?

    • Andrew,

      I am interested to see how circle influence impacts my readership but I have not investigated a way to measure it yet. If you have any additional insight into that I am all ears!

      As far as my increased web traffic goes, I did see a measurable increase in Adsense revenue.

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  4. This is VERY interesting stuff. I was wondering if anyone had done a case study on the author picture in the Google search. It looks like we all need to throw out pictures up there huh? Thank you so much for offering up this information!

  5. I have for some time now felt like utilizing the rel=author in the SERPS was one of the only good things that Google did to entice people to use Google+. It doesn’t so much mean that people are going to USE their Google+ page, but it does mean that they at very least will create a page to get better click-through rates in the SERPs. Perhaps they have some master plan way down the road to get all unused Page users’ to jump in and use the pages they created to “game Google.” They’re pretty good at that kind of stuff…at least they used to be. I remember the day Yahoo came out with 2MB of free email and Google came out the next day or soon thereafter with 2 GB. Brilliant! At any rate, I think using the rel=author markup is a powerful new addition for anyone mildly interested in SEO…which in my humble opinion should be everyone. 🙂 Thanks for the case study Russell!

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