Thieves Stealing Your Content? Claim it First With Google Authorship

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Update September, 2014: Unfortunately Google Authorship has been discontinued by Google.

A recent thread on Website Babble about stolen content revealed that many people still aren’t taking advantage of Google Authorship.

No matter what you may think of Google’s dominance of the Internet, there is a big benefit to using their Authorship feature  — especially while they still rule search.

As your site grows, it’s inevitable that at least one lazy person will grab a copy of your content and try to pass it off as their own.

The beauty of the authorship tag is that it links your content back to your name and website as soon as you create it.

Of course, this by no means stops people from stealing your work, but by the time the thief creates his/her copy of your article, the content will already be associated with you.

Here’s how to do it…

1.  Create a Google Plus profile.

2.  Add your websites to either the Contributor To or Links section of your profile.

Google Plus Profile

3. In a common section of your website that appears on all pages (footer, header, sidebar, etc.) hyperlink your name using your Google Plus profile and the rel=”author” tag.

<a rel=”author” href=””>Your Name</a>

A Nice Shortcut!  Just recently I learned from the Yoast blog that it’s now even easier to use the authorship tag because you can add it to the <head> of your pages in your meta tags like this…

<link rel=”author” href=””/>

Google confirmed this will work just as well as the original method.

To ensure you’ve done this correctly, check your site in the rich snippets tool.  It may also take a few days for Google to sync everything up so be patient.

I should also mention there are a handful of WordPress plugins to help speed this process up as well.  Just search for Google Authorship plugins to reveal them.

Linking Your Author Page to Google

Another way to prove to Google that you are the author of your content is to link all your content to your author/bio page and ensure your bio page is also in your Google Plus profile (under the Contributed To section).

Some argue this step is not really necessary, but it’s not going to hurt anything.  There are a couple of ways to go about this, but here’s how I’ve done it on this blog.

1. I’ve added my About Me page to the Contributed To section on my Google Plus profile

2. My About Me page also has my name that is hyperlinked back to my Google Plus Profile

3. The About Lisa link, which is linked from every page on this site has the rel=”author” tag in the code

So if you were to view the source code on this blog, you will see that the code for my About Lisa link looks like this…

<a rel=”author” href=””>About Lisa</a>

How to Add the rel=”author” Code to Your Author Page Link

If you have an HTML site, it’s just a matter of adding rel=”author” inside the hyperlink code as shown above.  But if you’re using WordPress it’s also pretty easy — especially if you’re using the menu feature.

I used Yoast’s tutorial here.

Also, if you’re a Thesis user, Marko Saric has a great tutorial on how to setup this up.  This is a good guide if you have your name in your byline of all your posts.  It will automatically link it to your About Me page instead of the standard WordPress bio page.

Even if you don’t care to sync your author page with your Google Plus profile, at least add the authorship tag with your name to claim your content.

The Importance of Author Rank

Using Google Authorship markup will help you build up your Author Rank.

What is Author Rank?

It’s your individual online author reputation
.  So when you use Google Authorship to link your name to your content, the more that content gets shared via social media, the more it will positively impact your Google AuthorRank.

This metric will become extremely important with ranking websites in the future.

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  1. says

    You can always find out who’s stealing your content by simply copying & pasting a few sentences from your blog post, article, or webpage and paste it right into Google.

  2. says


    Is there any way to remove google authorship from SERP? I have a client that wishes to remove authorship but google doesnt want to remove the photo. All links to google+ have been removed, g+ contribute does not contain related links but it still show an image serp.

    Thanks for replies

    • says

      I don’t think you can remove authorship and keep the photo since the photo represents that the markup is installed correctly. It’s either all or nothing.

  3. Amanda says

    Hi Lisa,
    have been following you quite for some time. i have a problem…the problem is that, following my submission of one of my research paper for a journal review, when it got accepted, it was not published and delayed. after about 4-5 months, i found out that someone (authors) published a similar paper, very similar to me, in the same journal, on the same topic. My paper, though accepted, never got published, and now i do not know what to do. can you suggest something?

    Best, Amanda

  4. says

    Thanks for this helpful tutorial. I have implemented Authorship according to your tutorial. Richsnippet Tool is showing my verified Google Authorship. How much time will it take to appear in Google Search ?

  5. Nate says

    Thanks Lisa & Lee, I appreciate your advice.

    I just been watching your videos Lisa. Thanks for being such a great resource.

  6. Nate says

    Thanks for sharing Lisa. I’m just to about to sign up for GA myself.

    This Q may have been raised, but can you old articles with Google Authorship?

    • says

      As long as you put the code in a WP sidebar, header, or footer that appears on every page, it will automatically claim authorship for everything in your blog. I also have static pages that use a common footer file where I’ve embedded the code and now when those pages appear in a search result page, my image will appear next to them, even though I wrote them years ago because Google is constantly crawling and updating their copy of those pages.

  7. says

    Great information Lisa.
    It is true that this practice can help us to protect our own original content but also it is important to mention that this simple enhancement has a very strong psychological impact in search engine results in terms of trust.

    • says

      I didn’t realize that was a requirement. Getting new followers is pretty easy. Start following and engaging with other people in your niche. Many will follow back.

    • says

      Hi Roman, I just searched your site on Google and it does show your image. You can narrow down the search by typing in “ seach string goes here” in the Google search box. That way, you’ll be sure to see your site appear in the results. I’ve noticed that Google now limits the face image to one article per page of results.

  8. says

    I added Google authorship tag on my custom design CSS with blog, but I”m not sure if it’s doing anything. I don’t see the photo in search result and haven’t noticed anything different. Let’s hope it works.

  9. says

    Thanks Lisa, I followed your advice and linked all my articles to my Google Plus account shortly after you published this article. At first it didn’t put my image in the results, but I am pretty sure because it was not a recognizable headshot. After I corrected that, my image began showing up. I also found a trend in my Author Stats that made it look like Google may be limiting the number of search impressions it shows for me per day, possibly based on website performance. I wrote a related posting about it which you can find on my website.

  10. says

    There’s much to be gained by doing this – and I can certainly say that the author photo definitely captures my attention in search results.

    The only thing that makes me hesitant is the fact that your full name and photo are then all over the inter-webs! I know that’s the point, but as citizens we already give away so much of our privacy….just saying :-)

    • says

      I understand. That is the downfall… especially if you have a 9 to 5 job and you don’t necessarily want your employer or anyone to find out about your “blogging life” lol

  11. says

    excellent tip, i love the first method. i will go for it, i have been with google plus but never thought of it to help protect my content. Thanks for the tips

  12. says

    Nice information you have here Lisa! Thank you for sharing this that way people can be more aware of the threats with blogging. Thank you for posting this. Great article!

  13. says

    Lisa, am huge fan of your work.
    Built this site from WP.
    I copy pasted my site content from my site to let google search it.
    It is not showing my profile foto, but showing when i did same for my
    Can i make it happen for my current WP content.

  14. says

    Hi Lisa, The code was recently added to my blog but I noticed my photo doesn’t appear beside my older/previous content in Google searches…it just shows up for the more recent content that I’ve posted since the Google Authorship was added. I’ve had a Google+ account for a long while…almost from the beginning. Any idea how to make it show up on those older posts that were written prior to the Google Authorship code being added to my site?

  15. says

    I wasn’t familiar with the author tag. Not that anyone has stolen my content (although some of my videos are starting to show up on other sites, but I don’t mind that).
    Thanks again.

  16. says

    Just what i was needing Lisa!!! Many THANKSSSS! I was wondering how could i Claim the authorship for ages!!!Thank you for explaining it so well! Got to save this page though!

  17. says

    i was really incensed when i wrote a really good post and about two sites stole my article. one of them even had a higher rank in google than me at that time, using my own article. someone they didn’t steal the whole article, just the first paragraph and ended the article there. but it still stole my traffic.

    this is a good way to keep them in check

  18. says

    Thanks for this post Lisa. I can see Google+ coming up on the rails quite fast as a result of ideas like this which is why I think it make a slot of sense to do this and to build up a presence on G+ – though I admit I struggle to find the time to get over there as much as I probably should.

  19. says

    I did not know about this google + feature and to be honest I skipped the step of getting a google plus account because I haven’t really researched the usefulness. It is social networking overload sometimes. I have been reading through your posts and I really like the back linking post and now this one. Truly quality content. Thanks a lot Lisa!

  20. says

    You’re such a blessing to me and many others for sharing this wonderful info, Lisa. Thanks so so much and please keep us informed. I admire your genuine & humble down to Earth personality :-)

    always thankful,


  21. says

    Hello Lisa,

    thanks for this informative post.

    we are trying our level best to auto publish our blog post to google plus but we are unable to do so

    could you please help?

    we are doing some mistake and im not understanding what…

    please help..

    thx a lot.

  22. says

    Hi Lisa.
    I have only just recently started following your tips and advise…including looking and learning so much from your videos. I really like the way you put things across so that it’s easy to understand and follow. Keep up the great work…you help people more than you know! Craig

  23. Akancha says

    Hai all,
    i oversee plagiarism on the net, so found out some of the culprits.

    It seems that research works are getting plagiarized too these days… bogus papers being uploaded in ssrn, one of the premier knowledge repositories.

    see some examples; in

    Hans Werner Gottinger(author): plagiarizing (chapter 6, Google Books), published version of plagiarized book chapter

    another recent one from

    D. Majumdar(author, India)
    This is an utter bogus paper, no citation and referencing;

    and in Ideas RePec too;content plagiarism

    some examples;

    Arshia Amiri (GREQAM) and Bruno Ventelou (GREQAM and SE4S)
    Arshia Amiri (GREQAM) and Ulf-G. Gerdtham (Lund University and Swedish Institute for Health Economics)
    Arshia Amiri (GREQAM)
    Alexandru Negrila (Intertel Communications SRL)
    Francisco F. Ribeiro Ramos (Instituto Superior de Contabilidade e Administração de Coimbra, ISCAC)
    Cristiana Tudor (Academia de Studii Economice din Bucure?ti) and Radu Lupu (Academia de Studii Economice din Bucure?ti and Academia Romana)
    Soumitra Kumar Bera (North-Eastern Hill University)

    How to deal with these pirates who take the short cut. i think their guides are at fault too who support such illegal piracy of intellectual content.

  24. says

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for this info.Actually I have not thought about stealing of contents of a website.But now I think is time to take initiative as you guided through your nice article.If it worked for my contents of website I will be thankful to you.

  25. Anthony Gonzales says

    Thanks for this very informative blog post. This, in a way can help me protect all my original written articles from content hackers. I’ll try to follow what you have actually written here. Hope I can post some of my written articles here too.

  26. says

    i think what they do is use some automated software that pulls recently posted videos including the descriptions and i’ve even seen some that pull the comments as well. So essentially creating their own mini youtube site by regenerating the content thats been posted. So no they aren’t writing a post and then embedding i’m pretty sure this is all autogenerated as none of the sites appear to have any real content. Actually i’m pretty confused the purpose of such sites.

    Also i was concerned because i add my link in my description and it’s posting that on their site as well. which wouldn’t bother me if the sites were relevant but they will pull pretty much anything.

  27. says

    Thanks for this helpful tip Lisa. I’ve done as you’ve advised by updating my info on Google. One question I have for you. I create video tutorials for my website and i also cross promote them on YouTube and Vimeo as well as Metcafe. But i’ve found that there are tons of crap sites out there that steal this content from sites such as youtube. So i’ve found my videos are posted all over. And even more worriesome is that these appear to be low value sites.

    Does this hurt me? Is there anything that can be done stop it?

    • says

      Hi, are they scraping your video and re-uploading? If so, you can fill out a DMCA copyright claim with YouTube and get the video removed. If they are embedding, nothing you can really do. This is not really going to hurt your site though.

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