The authorship tag, which has been pushed by Google for several months now, and while many sites and content creators are using it, there has still been a lot of questions concerning how it should be used.  Google has, finally, provided the guidance many people have been asking for.  In an official webmaster blog post about the Authorship markup, they answered several different questions, which will provide much more clarity for website owners going forward.

Where should the Authorship Be Used?” is one question which was answered, and to that Google responds saying that it should be used on pages where there is a single article or piece of content by the author.  This indicates that pages which are regularly updated with new posts should not have the authorship tag.   The page should also have a clear byline stating that the author wrote the article.  It should be clear that the author in the byline should be writing under the same name as the Google+ author profile.  No using pseudonyms if you want the SEO perks of the authorship tag.

On the subject of pseudonyms, Google answers a question about giving authorship credit to a company mascot or something similar. Google replies that “for authorship annotation in search results, Google prefers to feature a human who wrote the content.”  If you’re used to writing under the “Admin” or another account name, you might want to consider changing it up.

Is it possible to add two authors for one article?” is another question which is covered, to which Google says no.  They only support one author in the search user interface, though they do go on to say that they are still experimenting to find the optimal outcome for searchers when more than one author is listed, so this might be a feature for the future.

Within the post Google also gives some guidance on how to prevent them from showing authorship, whether or not a translator can claim authorship and the difference between the author and publisher annotations.   While there will certainly be more questions by authors and site owners in the future, at least Google has taken steps to offer some clarification on this new feature.

You can see the entire post on Google’s Webmaster blog, located HERE.

Do you use the authorship annotation?  If so, what do you think?  If you’re not using it, do you plan on starting any time soon?

What's your opinion?